How to Process Acorns and Make Acorn Flour

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Introduction: How to Process Acorns and Make Acorn Flour

About: Hello and Welcome to In the Kitchen With Matt. I am your host Matt Taylor. My goal for the show is to teach you how to cook really good food at home for cheap. Eating out everyday can get expensive, but it doe…

In this instructable I will show you how to process acorns and make acorn flour. You will learn how to prepare acorns to eat. Acorns are a very abundant food source but it seems few people know that they can be eaten. I have talked to several people who didn't even know you could eat them. Acorns have been eaten for thousands of years, and were a comfort food for many Native Americans. They are a good source of protein, healthy fats, carbohydrates and other healthy minerals. However, you can't just eat them right off the tree, they need to be processed first. Acorns contain tannins in them which make them very bitter and potentially toxic to humans. The tannins need to first be leached out of the Acorns then they can be eaten, Red Oak Acorns contain the highest level of tannins. In this video I will show you one method on how to process them but there are a few others. I will briefly talk about the boiling method as well. It can be tedious to process them but oh so satisfying. The acorn flour can be used in muffins, pancakes, breads, etc. It is very easy to do, if I can do it, you can do it. Let's get started!


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If you have any questions or comments leave them down below and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

Follow the easy steps below or watch the video tutorial or do both. :)

You may also check out this process on my new website here.

Step 1: What You Will Need

You will need:

  • Acorns (White Oak, Live Oak, Red Oak, etc.)
  • Water
  • Large Bowls
  • Nut cracker or meat tenderizer
  • sheet pan (lined with silicone mat, parchment paper, etc.)
  • wooden spoon
  • air tight container for storage (Tupperware, mason jar, etc.)
  • Patience. :) lol

Step 2: Gather Acorns

First you will need to gather up some acorns. I found these Live Oak acorns about a mile from my house. They were from live oak trees in my church parking lot actually. lol. Depending on the variety of oak tree your acorns will probably look different. Some common varieties found here in the States are Red Oak, Live Oak, and White Oak. Live Oaks grow very well here in the Phoenix Valley, they are drought tolerant and withstand the heat. They are very common in the Urban areas of Phoenix and Tucson. Once you have the acorns gathered up sift through them and throw away any acorns that have the shells split, or have tiny holes (from Weevils), or if you shake the acorn and the nut moves around, it is bad as well.

Step 3: Wash, Dry, Dry

Now let's pour in some water and wash off the shells of the acorn. Then you can dump the water out and dry the acorns with a towel or paper towel. Next you will want to let them sit out in the sun on a sheet pan for several hours. It winds up making it easier to get the acorn nut out of the shell. However, if you picked the acorns up off the ground near the tree and they have already been sitting in the sun for awhile, you can probably skip that part. :)

Step 4: Crack Them Acorns

Now comes the fun part. This part is a bit tedious but I just do it while I am watching TV. Crack your acorn shells with a meat tenderizer or use a nut cracker. Dig out that acorn nut and place it in a bowl of cold water. You can use various little tools like a knife, etc. to help dig out the nuts. Also make sure to remove any little parts of the inside of the shell that may be stuck to the acorn nut. Those little bits contain lots of tannins. Remove any floating shell scraps from the water once you are done. Now let the acorns soak in the cold water for 12 hours.

Step 5: Soak, Drain, Soak, Drain, Clear

Now after 12 hours or so, the water will be really dark from the leached tannins. Dump out that water slowly, don't dump out any of your nuts. Then replace the water with fresh cold water. Now let it soak again for 12 hours, and keep repeating the process for 4 to 7 days until the water looks clear after a long soak.

Step 6: Drain, Taste, Roast/Dry

Now drain the water and give the acorns a taste. If they are bland and not bitter, they are ready to go. Place the acorn nuts on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or a silicon mat. Then place them in the oven at warm temperature (around 160 to 175 F.) Put a wooden spoon in the door so it can't shut all the way. We don't want the damp acorns to make it humid inside of the oven, so we need to release that moisture. After 45 minutes, check the acorns, they will probably still be damp. Move them around a bit with the spoon, then place back in the oven, repeat the process until the acorn nuts are nice and dry. It usually takes 3 hours or so. Alternatively you can probably use a dehydrator as well to dry out the nuts. Once dry they are ready to be eaten. You can season them with salt and eat as is, or make acorn flour.

Step 7: Grind Grind Grind, Store

Place those nuts in a food processor or coffee grinder and grind them up until it makes a nice fine powder/flour. Place the acorn flour in an airtight container like Tupperware or a mason jar and store in a dark cool place. There you go, you have acorn flour which you can add to pancakes, muffins, breads, etc. :) :)

It is way fun going through the process, although it does take awhile, something very satisfying about the whole process. :)

***Note: There are a few more ways to process acorns. Another common way is to use boiling water. After you have de-shelled your acorns heat up a pot of water until it boils, add in your acorns and wait as the water turns dark. In the mean time heat up another pot of water to boil. Dump out the dark water from pot 1, then add the nuts to pot 2. While the boiling water is leaching out the tannins from the nuts, heat up new water in pot 1 again, etc. Do this back and forth until the water is clean. This whole process only takes around 1 hour to 2 hours. Which saves several days. However, I have heard that the boiled method doesn't produce as good of acorn flour.

Step 8: Video Tutorial

Now watch those steps in action by check out the video tutorial. :)

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    49 Discussions

    0
    Karriekeeshen
    Karriekeeshen

    Question 2 months ago on Step 5

    Hi Matt
    While soaking the acorns are they in the refrigerator or out on the counter at room temperature?

    0
    In The Kitchen With Matt
    In The Kitchen With Matt

    Answer 6 weeks ago

    Sorry just barely saw this question. They are at room temperature while soaking. :)

    0
    ChrisM988
    ChrisM988

    1 year ago

    I wonder if you could make acorn butter?

    0
    TEDAhlgren
    TEDAhlgren

    Reply 1 year ago

    Yes, but you will probably need to add some sort of oil to get a spreadable consistency. I'd suggest almond or hazelnut. If you used animal fat and added dried meat and/or dried berries you'd get pemmican.

    0
    In The Kitchen With Matt
    In The Kitchen With Matt

    Reply 1 year ago

    I imagine you could. I was thinking the same thing a few weeks ago. I will have to research that more.

    2
    vbanaszak
    vbanaszak

    1 year ago

    I assumed they would be edible but I never tried to eat one since I didn't see it done.

    0
    Bobt100
    Bobt100

    Reply 1 year ago

    Ten billion squirrels can't be wrong.

    0
    smartrem
    smartrem

    Reply 1 year ago

    Same here. I thought they were just good for pigs otherwise they'd give you stomach ache. A good lesson learned today. Thanks for that

    0
    In The Kitchen With Matt
    In The Kitchen With Matt

    Reply 1 year ago

    Yeah! They are definitely edible, just takes a bit of work to make them edible. :)

    0
    matt.e.jenkins
    matt.e.jenkins

    1 year ago

    Very Interesting! Can you describe the taste? Great Instructable!

    0
    In The Kitchen With Matt
    In The Kitchen With Matt

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thanks Matt! Great name by the way. :) It by itself is kind of bland tasting with a slight nuttiness to it. If I was going to just eat them as is instead of making acorn flour I would have seasoned them with a bit of salt.

    1
    gnomeone
    gnomeone

    1 year ago

    I remember from elementary school lessons that Native Americans made flour from acorns. Thanks for jogging that memory. : ) We have two oaks of different types in our yard. I would love to be able to try making acorn flour. I won't have a chance to even gather the nuts. The squirrels get them before the nuts fall off the trees. We haven't gotten any pecans from our trees in years thanks to those little rodents. : (

    0
    In The Kitchen With Matt
    In The Kitchen With Matt

    Reply 1 year ago

    Yeah I learned about them in school as well. A lot of the rocks in the mountains would have divots in them from where the Native Americans would pound acorns and other things. Pesky squirrels. We had almond trees growing up and never got any thanks to them.

    0
    gnomeone
    gnomeone

    Reply 1 year ago

    We had hopes of a hawk helping get rid of the squirrels but there are just too many squirrels and not enough hawks. I counted 14 of the rodents in my front yard one year.

    0
    gnomeone
    gnomeone

    Reply 1 year ago

    The neighbor's cats don't have much luck in capturing any of the squirrels. Probably more cats is not going fair well either. More cats might make the dogs in the neighborhood happier though. : )

    0
    In The Kitchen With Matt
    In The Kitchen With Matt

    Reply 1 year ago

    hahaha well it looks like you will just have to sit out there with a soft pellet gun and teach those little squirrels a lesson, and then after they get hit so many times with pellets they will learn. lol

    0
    gnomeone
    gnomeone

    Reply 1 year ago

    I think I will have give up the acorns and pecans to the squirrels. My husband tried the pellet gun method you suggest. Didn't slow them down one bit. : (
    I guess here in Dixie the squirrels rule.