I don't know if you've noticed or not but many oak trees in our area are dropping acorns like mad! I was recently at Munsinger and noticed that near the gift shop, there were several dozen acorns scattered across the ground, and it made me think about whether someone could eat them, or if they are only good for animals like squirrels. It turns out you can eat them, but there is a little bit of work you have to do before you take a bite.

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Healthline.com has a LOT of information in regards to acorns and their edible nature, but I'll save you the trouble of having to scroll through. Here are the things you should know about acorns, and how you would go about preparing them to eat.

According to healthline.com acorns have gotten a bad reputation due to the fact that they contain tannins. "a group of bitter plant compounds that may be harmful when consumed in high amounts. Tannins are considered an antinutrient, which means that they reduce your body’s ability to absorb essential nutrients from food.  Additionally, consuming high amounts of tannins may lead to adverse health effects, such as severe liver damage and cancer."

Image Credit: annie spratt via unsplash
Image Credit: annie spratt via unsplash

If you are brave enough to give them a try, there is one tried and true method for safely removing the tannins from the acorns. Boiling them. Healthline.com gives some tips on the 'right' way to rid the newly harvested acorns of their tannins.

  1. Look for fully mature, brown acorns with the caps still attached. Avoid green, unripe acorns, as these are higher in tannins.
  2. Rinse your acorns thoroughly to remove any contaminants, such as dirt and small insects. Throw out any rotten nuts.
  3. Remove the hard shells using a nutcracker.
  4. Boil the raw acorns in a pot for 5 minutes, or until the water turns dark brown. Strain the nuts using a colander, discarding the dark water.
  5. Repeat this step until the water boils clear.

After the tannins are leached out, the nuts are considered safe to eat. You can roast them in the oven at 375°F (190°C) for 15–20 minutes for a quick and nutritious snack.

So now that you know how to safely enjoy all those downed acorns, is this something that you would try?

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