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Monday, September 27, 2010

Eating Acorns

Yes, it's possible to eat acorns! ;)
Acorns, the nuts of genera Quercus and Lithocarpus in the family Fagaceae, usually consist of a single seed enclosed in a tough leathery shell.
Birds, such as woodpeckers and jays, and small mammals, such as chipmunks and other rodents, along with large mammals, such as bears and deer, have been known to consume large quantities of acorns- especially in the autumn where it can make up to 25% of their diet.
Unfotunately, acorns can be toxic to other animals, such as horses and humans (hopefully, however, we have become civilized enough not to have to call ourselves animals.)
Acorns contain bitter tannins, an astrigent polyphenolic compound, with the specific amount varying from species to species. They must be proccessed in some way before they can become edible. Native American originally achieved this by letting bags of acorns sit in a fast running stream until the acid completely washed away. An alternative is to repeatedly boil your acorns until the brown tannic acid is no longer visible, and then roasting the nuts.
When cooked, acorns normally have a mild sweet taste. At times during the 19th century, when coffee cost an extradinarily high price, roughly ground up acorns served as a coffee substitute, although its strange flavor prevented it from ever becoming popular. Most people eat acorns ground up in pancakes or breads.
A good place for those curious to taste acorns is a Korean restaurant. In Korea, people make an edible jelly, dotorimuk, from acorns and the Korean noodles Dotori guksu are also made from acorn flour or starch. Acorn starch is the remainders of an acorn when the fibers are removed during processing

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