Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Acorns For Dinner

I was strolling around Soulard last night when I had the tragic idea that it would be cool to try to cook some large acorns hanging from an old nearby oak tree. I had just recently seen a painting of Andrew Jackson heroically sharing his acorn dinner with one of his soldiers on some war campaign. In my book the only two criteria for becoming a badass mountain-man are a dislike of shaving (check) and the ability to just eat whatever is growing within arms reach.

So I picked a handful of them, making sure not to get any with visible holes in them, which would indicate bugs.

While consulting a couple of online articles I found on the subject, I hit the acorns with a hammer to split them and remove the shells. That turned out be the easy part.

The thing with acorns is they contain an apparently weapons grade level of tannins in them. The same substance makes wine taste dry. It is also used to tan animal hide into leather. One online source warned that íf I just ate the acorns raw I wouldn't die but may wish I had with: a mouth that tastes and feels like felt, nausea, and a multiple day long case of constipation.

So, not eating them raw. The easiest way was to leach the acorn meat of the substance by putting them in a pot of water and bringing it to a boil. The instructions said to keep them at a boil for 15 minutes, dump the water, and then repeat the process. Each time the water would turn a brownish color, which was kind of cool because it was clear that something was happening. It was a little less cool the second time. After about an hour of moving the acorn meat between two continuously boiling pots of water, the process was decidedly uncool. The water just kept getting dark brown with evil tannins. At this point I was ready to eat them and face the consequences.

I put them in the oven and just baked them as is. They came out looking not bad, and some of the smaller pieces had become satisfyingly crunchy. While all of that boiling had failed to completely remove the tannin taste, it had successfully removed any other taste the acorns may have originally had. Adding salt really just made them taste like salty batteries.

Tannins are the damn devil and I hate them. The End.