It's autumn, and that means nut season!
One nut that you can collect many places around this time of year, is acorn from oak trees! The oval little nut, with the cute little hat!
Once prepared and ground up, acorn can be used for an alternative cocoa or in bread for an added nut flavour.
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Step 1: Collect Your Acorns
This step is pretty self-explanatory. Although you can see green acorns in this picture, I recommend you either only collect the brown, or leave the green for a while.
Press the acorns gently when you collect them to easily detect the bad ones. A good acorn should be firm, but a little shrinkage is okay. Discard any soft or squishy nuts, and don't bother if it has a visible hole, gnawed from any insects.
Step 2: Peel the Shell
With a knife, cut the top (where the "hat" used to sit), and peel away the shell (this can be done by hand).
The inside should look much like the inside of a hazelnut (but feel softer).
If the nut is black, it might have a little lodger. This might be the acorn weevil, or in other cases an acorn moth larvae. Apologize immediately for your disturbance and put them outside (or in the trash, whatever your subconscious can handle)
Step 3: Chop 'em Up and Boil 'em!
Chop them roughly (maybe a little finer than I have done in this picture) and put them in a pot with water.
Boil them for about 30 minutes, and change the water along the way, until the water no longer takes colour from the acorns.
Acorns contains tannin, which makes them taste bitter and give a dry feeling in your mouth, much like a very unripe banana. By boiling them, they will be stripped of most tannins, giving them a nice nutty flavour.
Step 4: Roast 'em
Once boiled and the water stays somewhat clear, rinse the acorn in cold water, and put them on a dry pan (no oil or anything, just dry!)
Roast them dry and let them get a little colour. My acorns were a bit too roughly chopped, so I tried squishing them with my wooden spoon.
You can also (instead or both) put them on a baking sheet and put them in the oven on low heat, until dry and roasted.
Step 5: Grind 'em
Preferably, you should grind these up in a coffee grinder or something similar. I didn't have that, so I had to improvise with a blender and a mortar.
Grind it as fine as you can, and you got your acorn meal, ready to use!
Step 6: Acorn Cocao
You can use acorn meal for bread baking as well, but also as a substitute for hot cocoa.
Heat a bit of milk and a tablespoon of acorn meal. If you got a rough meal, try blending it a bit once the milk has soften it. Add more milk, and heat it up as well (don't let it boil!).
If you want, add sugar (anything from a teaspoon to a tablespoon), or drink it as it is!
Note that it has a bit of sediment, so you might want to stir a lot.