Ever since I found out acorns are actually edible and not poisonous like I had heard in the past I have wanted to try my hand at it. Over the past week I have gotten that chance. If you have ever cracked open an acorn and tasted it, you would immediately spit it back out because it is extremely bitter, I am sure this bitterness is why most people think that acorns are at worst poisonous and at best inedible.
The bitterness in acorns comes from Tannins that are in the acorns, tannin is a water soluble chemical that is used to tan leather (the process of tanning leather got its name from the Tannins used). Since tannin is water soluble, by simply boiling the water you can leech out the bitterness turning the acorn into a usable form.
For the most part, the methods I used to make my flour were very similar to how it would have been done in the past all the way back to the Indians and before. It will also give you a whole new appreciation to being about to just stop by the nearest supermarket and pickup a bag of flour. It was really hard work making this from scratch.
In going through this process I don’t see how it was a worthwhile process from a survival standpoint, I can’t imagine that you could get more energy out of the foods made with acorn flour than the energy put into making it. However as I have told a couple of people, if you think of it more as something to do to pass the time rather than a project that needs finished then it makes more sense.
Two of the hardest processes that are part of making acorn flour are cracking the acorns and then grinding them with a mortar and pestle. Both of those took quite awhile and a fair amount of energy, but are things that could have been done while chatting around a campfire in ancient times, or if you are doing it at home, you could easily do it while watching TV or something similar.
However, even with all the hours it took to produce a small amount of actual acorn flour, I expect you will find me anxiously awaiting the acorns to fall next year so I can try my hand at it again. I guess you can’t really expect all your wild edibles to be as easy as eating Lambs Quarters right from your backyard.
If you are interested in more of the process of turning the acorns into flour (along with many more pictures) please check out the page I made on making acorn flour. I also added a recipe in the food section of the site for the acorn bread I made.