Transformational Gardening

Disclaimer: Foraging can be fun, rewarding and provide health benefits. As a novice forager, I will be sharing my foraging experiences. However, in order to be safe, always consult with local foraging experts and guidebooks before beginning foraging. Children should learn to forage safely by being guided by experienced adults. Never ingest anything unless you are certain of the identification and safety of the plant. Some plant species are inedible and some are poisonous.

Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra): Images

Date Location Notes Images
January 8, 2011 Southeastern, New Hampshire Most of the 11-1/2 gallons of acorns I picked were Red Oak from this hiking park. I dried the acorns for 3 weeks. Then I shelled them trying various methods including hitting the shells lightly with a hammer to crack them. I tried the towel method outlined in Samuel Thayer’s book, “Nature’s Garden.” The towel method is faster for cracking them, but takes time to line the acorns up. I think a simple hand nut cracker might actually be faster. After picking out the acorn nuts, I removed the acorn skin.

I tried grinding the acorns in my Country Living grain mill (and even tried using the special corn/bean auger made for oily grains/beans). But acorns do not grind well at all using the Country Living mill. I ended up hand grinding them with a motar and pestal -- a process that took a very long time.

After grinding the acorns, I cold water leached out the tannins for two weeks, changing the water 2-3 times per day. The leaching was done after approximately 9 days, but I kept going until I was ready to make bread on the weekend. This is the slow method of cold water leaching. Using running cold water can leach the acorns in less than 1 day.

By the time the acorns were done leaching, my Corona grinder arrived. I squeezed out the leached acorn meal and ran is through the Corona grinder once to make it the consistency of corn meal.

Bread Recipe:

2-1/2 cups fresh organic whole wheat flour
3/4 cup of acorn meal
3/4 cup of sourdough (made with 1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour, 1 cup water, yeast)
1-1/2 teaspoons sea salt
7/8 cup water
3 Tablespoons of honey or maple syrup

Kneed the dough for 8-10 minutes. Let the dough rise for several hours and kneed again. Let the dough rise again. Oil the bread pan and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for no more than 1 hour.

Next time I make acorn bread, I'll have all of the tools I need to process the acorns quickly.
Date Location Notes Images
July 6, 2012 Southeastern, New Hampshire