What am I, a squirrel?? Part 1

I was thinking the other day about local, gluten-free foods that are cheap, plentiful, overlooked and easy to get.  One thing sprang to mind.  Acorns.  Did you even know you could eat them?  You can, but it is going to take a bit of work.  You’ll need to collect them, dry them, crack them, then leach the tannins out of them, and then dry them again, unless you need them moist, and plan to use them right away.

The first step is obviously to collect them.  You’ll need to find some oak trees.  If you live where they are common that should be pretty easy.  Then, start picking them up.  They range from green to brown.  I tried to pick up the green ones mostly.The green ones will need to ripen for a few days, but I figure they haven’t been on the ground for as long, and they are less likely to have been damaged by insects and birds.  This turned out to be a little tougher than I expected, because squirrels like to nibble on them, and then toss them.  I spent a lot of time picking up acorns that were chewed on.  I didn’t worry about the caps being on too much because they come off very easily.

Pretty much what I am doing I had to look up.  I found a few good sites, and most of what I am doing comes from Grandpappy’s Basic Acorn Recipe Page. I already knew that they were high in tannins, and that you had to leach them out before we can eat them.

Acorns high tannin levels are toxic to people and some animals, but other animals, deer, bears, wild pigs, some ducks, birds, and squirrels all eat them.  Some like squirrels cache them and will eat them later after water has leached the tannins. Other animals are not affected by them, and can simply eat them.
I haven’t decided what I am going to do with the acorns I gathered, but I’m sure it will be an interesting trip!

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