Though many folks are confused by the nuts of oak trees, acorns are one of the most abundant foods in this guide. Perhaps it was the fear of buckeye nuts, or the bitter flavor that acorns have, but I remember my father always telling me that acorns were poison. Well, not quite, pops. The bitterness of the acorn is from the irritating tannic acid, the worst offenses of which are upset stomachs and angry bowels.
One ounce of acorn nut meat from any species of oak (Quercus genus) contains a little more than 100 calories, which many of our northern hemisphere ancestors ate as a staple food prior to agriculture. These are high-carb nuts, with some fat and a little protein, giving them a nutritional profile similar to bread. The bitter acid in them is easily removed by cracking them into pieces and soaking the acorn nut meat chunks in repeating baths of warm water, one hour at a time, until the bitterness is gone. Don’t boil them, though. While many books instruct this technique, it locks in some of the bitterness.