Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Acorns in the mail: The Gambel-er

Getting a care package of acorns in the mail makes every day seem like Christmas.  This time it's Gambel oak (Quercus gambelii) acorns gathered in Colorado and sent by my buddy DGP4.

(Click to enlarge)
These little guys came with some serious advance billing in the form of an email entitled "Gambel bliss" (now there's an email from one tree geek to another!) from DGP:  "Every tree I sample has the lowest tannin acorns I ever done tasted."  (It always amuses me when my southern friends have a more pronounced drawl via email than they do in person.  Does that mean I should start putting "eh" and "you betcha" in my emails?)

Tannins = bitter.  When eaten fresh from the shell most acorns - as much as I love them and believe with all my heart that eating acorns on a grand scale will be our salvation - have a coat-your-tongue bitterness like you have been sucking on shoe leather for an hour (not that I have ever sucked on shoe leather and anyways it wasn't for a whole hour).  The water soluble tannins are easily leached in water, but the bitterness does add a step to the process of consuming acorns without curling your toes.

Of course I hadn't even left the post office parking lot before I had cracked and eaten the first of these little gems.  I know from long experience to have my secret acorn tannin antidote close at hand when tasting raw acorns (a can of Mountain Dew).  The Dew was completely unnecessary and my buddy was right: these acorns had not a trace of tannin bitterness.  Flat out delicious.  

So I decided to change plans.  When I was told the acorns had been mailed (and started checking my PO box three times a day like a kid checking his Christmas stocking) the plan was to grind, leach and dry roast them into a fine flour for baking into bread or granola bars.  Now that I have tasted them (and more to the point, now that I have not tasted them) I have a simpler idea:  light coating (translation: heavy slathering) of oil, dash (translation: solid crust) of sea salt, and roasting.  Can't wait.

Except that I'll have to wait.  These little suckers are tiny and shelling them will be a bit of a chore.  I'll let you know when I'm done and how it went.

Then I'm going to market them as "Colorado Cashews."  Just another million dollar idea.  That will die in my kitchen. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    Those are nice Gambel acorns, I collect gmabel, gray, and muehlenburgii. You eat the acorns thats great, I like to grow oak trees but have not ate any yet. I can gather nice muehlenbergia acorns in Phoenix AZ and send you some. I enjoy trading acorns to grow plants but it might be fun to try to eat some.