Now that autumn is here and we’re on the brink of Halloween, I’m seeing a lot of acorn recipes. This is the best to pick acorns, because they are just turning from green to brown and starting to fall on the ground. You can use acorns in cake, porridge and general baking, but don’t forget one of its most basic usages: Coffee!
Acorn coffee is a delicious, non-caffeinated alternative for your morning cuppa. You can buy ground acorns for coffee. There are many online options for it, including Amazon and Etsy or you can roast your own.
Raw acorns are bitter and astringent, but when roasted they mellow out. When choosing acorns, do not use the dark green ones. If the acorn is still green or you find that it is difficult to pull from the cap (the covering on the rounded end of the acorn), then it is not ripe enough. If you can separate the acorn from the cap without tearing, then you know the acorn is ready. Right now, in early fall, valley oaks have the best acorns. These are the oak trees that spread out and create the widest arches.
The live oaks will have their acorns ripen next. Live oaks are evergreen and the acorns are egg shaped. Last to ripen will be the blue oak trees. The blue oak has bluish tinged leaves. The blue oak has a grayish bark and seems to be dry. The leaves do not shine, are not supple and they don’t bend. They will break if you try to bend them.
White oak trees have the sweetest acorns and its the acorn that animals (cows, deer, pigs, squirrels) prefer.
Once you choose your acorns, wash them in the shell. Let them dry. Spread them out and allow them to dry for two days.
Next, you just want to parch them until they open. Put them on an ungreased cookie sheet and place in the oven at 350 degrees. Don’t try to cook them fully. Just until the shell starts to split open. Then, take them out and remove the shell. Split the acorns, once you unshell them. Then roast them in a little butter or bacon fat. It’s the roasting process that eliminates the acorns’ bitterness.
When they are fully roasted, you can put them threw the grinder, just as you would coffee beans. The test is similar to coffee, but nutty (as you’d expect) and naturally sweeter than coffee, even before you add sugar or cream.
And there you have it, a pick me up that’s not actually a stimulant, but is stimulating. I like it because it’s a seasonal drink, but it’s not a dessert drink like cider and cocoa are. I enjoy pairing it with breakfast and other meals where I would normally use coffee.