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Acorn: The Forgotten Nut
by Linda Conroy

Foraging is a lifeway for us and we take every opportunity to harvest. This past week we are harvesting as well as processing some of our fall harvest.
One of the nuts we harvested in October are acorns. We harvested them here in Wisconsin as well as when we traveled to Kansas for the Mother Earth News Fair. 

The acorns from Kansas are more than twice the size of the nut here in Wisconsin. So we were very excited, as the larger acorns ultimately mean more yield for us! We have to date put up 30lbs of Acorn flour! We are still processing them, so more to come. This will be our predominant flour for the winter.

Many people do not think of these as nuts, which is why I call them the forgotten nut. Most people see them as food for squirrels. And while they indeed are food for other critters we can eat them too!

Oak trees can produce large amounts of acorns. Harvesting and processing them before the weevils turn them into a powdery dust and render them inedible is one of the keys to ending up with delicious flour.

Historically acorns were an important important food source to North American indigenous people. They were as important as many grains are today.

Acorns are nutritionally dense, containing protein, minerals, vitamins and fiber.  Acorns have also been tested and shown to have the potential for controlling blood sugar levels.

In order for humans to ingest this nut the tannins need to be leached out of them. Tannins are organic substances, which occur in plant tissues.
Tannins in small amounts are not harmful, but in large quantities they can upset your stomach and promote dehydration. Plus they taste bitter and thus make the nut initially unappetizing.

If you are interested in processing acorns or at least seeing how we process them you can watch our new youtube video below put together by our very own John Holzwart. Thanks John!

We will be adding the flour to many of the dishes we prepare over the next few months, including acorn soup.

Below is a recipe for this delicious soup. For other recipes, enjoy being creative and introducing acorn flour wherever flour is called for. If you would like your baked item to rise you will need to add something that has a leavening agent, whether it be glutenous flour or some other rising medium.

I like to use Eikorn wheat for bread and muffins. For flat bread, pie crust and crackers you do not need to add these as there is no need for rising.

The nut meat of Acorns can be used as is. I have made a chili style dish, added them to tomato sauce in place of meat and simply toasted them and put them on top of salads. As with all wild edibles use your taste buds, imagination and creativity!

*Acorn Soup Recipe*

~Boil in broth cut up carrots and onions until tender (you can use any
broth, I like to make a rich bone broth, but a chicken, vegetable or
mushroom broth will work well.

~Add ground acorns, dry or wet and simmer for 10 minutes

~In the meantime, sautee oil with powdered wild ginger (if you don't have
wild ginger you can add cultivated ginger)

~Add the boiled vegetables to the sautee pan. Simmer for 20 minutes

~Place all of this in a food processor and/or blender. Blend until smooth

Linda Conroy is a bioregional, wise woman herbalist, educator,wildcrafter, permaculturist and an advocate for women's health.

She is the proprietress of Moonwise Herbs and the founder of Wild Eats: a movement to encourage people and communities to incorporate whole and wild food into their daily lives. She is passionate about women's health and has been working with women for over 20 years in a wide variety of settings.

Linda is a student of nonviolent communication and she has a masters degree in Social Work as well as Law and Social Policy. Linda has been offering hands on herbal programs and food education classes for well over a decade.

She has completed two herbal apprenticeship programs, one of which was with Susun Weed at the Wise Woman Center and she has a certificate in Permaculture Design.

Linda is a curious woman whose primary teachers are the plants; they never cease to instill a sense of awe and amazement.

Her poetic friend Julene Tripp Weaver, eloquently describes Linda when she writes, "She listens to the bees, takes tips from the moon, and follows her heart."

Listen to a thirty minute interview with mentor Linda Conroy


Study with Linda Conroy from Home

~Empower Yourself with Herbal Medicine Making~
( Link to detailed description of Empower Yourself with Herbal Medicine Making )

The goal of the course is to have participants become familiar with herbal medicine, to become comfortable incorporating herbs into daily life and to gain hands on experience making simple remedies at home.



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