If you have ever thought of cracking an acorn and eating it in the wilderness, it is likely that you quickly learned what mother nature’s natural syrup of ipecac will do to you.
If you were able to get past the bitterness of the meat, you likely experienced profound nausea and possibly vomiting. However, there are some actual survival uses for acorns, beyond baiting deer or throwing at companions. The problem is that they must be prepared for hours before they can be used.
The problem with acorns is the fact that they are filled with tannins, (think tannic acid), that can be very beneficial if you are trying to preserve animal skins but are less so if being introduced to your digestive tract. They have to be blanched to be eaten by humans and you can get this done by either boiling them for hours, or letting them soak in a running creek for about three days. In a survival situation, I prefer the latter solution to the problem because you can hull them and then tie the meats off in a sack, or sock, or other porous container and then forget about them until all of the tannins have been leeched out. It does no good to just soak them in water without changing it.
Once thusly prepared these acorn meats can be used three ways:
- Roast them to eat like almond slivers. They are palatable and full of protein and vitamins. They taste a bit like roasted almonds without the tannins in them but have the consistency of a hazelnut.
- Grind them into flour to cook into breads or use to thicken stews. If you are like me then you eat a lot of stew in a survival situation, primarily because it is the easiest method of preparing elaborate quantities of ingredients quickly. The flour thickens stew nicely and gives it added nutrient. I’m not a big fan of bread, but I understand that there is nothing in the world quite like the taste of hot acorn cakes in the morning in a frosty camp. Just watch a rerun of Jeremiah Johnson o see a visual of this.
- Use the acorns to make a stuffing for wild game. I’m not saying that this s good, but it definitely is different.