Every prepper knows they need survival food to prepare for a crisis. That’s why most every prepper has one ready to go in case SHTF. But the reality is these can only go so far.
Sooner or later your stockpile is going to run out. That’s why it’s important to supplement it with natural resources – like acorns – to help give you the nutrition you need to get through a survival situation.
We’ll bet you’ve never considered these…
3 Reasons Acorns Are An Exceptional Survival Food
Except for the desert, acorns can be found pretty much anywhere around the United States. They’re especially plentiful when harvesting in fall and winter, as they’re falling off a large variety of oak trees.
Keep in mind, if you’re impatient, you can also climb up an oak tree and shake one of the branches until acorns come loose and fall to the ground.
You may not be able to eat acorns as they come naturally. But the truth is it really isn’t that difficult to make them edible for humans.
First, remove the hard shell by rolling (or smashing) the acorn on a hard surface. This will release the inner “meat.”
Now don’t eat this meat raw. It contains LOTS of tannins that will likely make your stomach upset. Instead, soak them in warm water for up to 8 hours. Basically, the rule is if you take them out and try one and it’s too bitter, you need to soak them for longer.
Out in the wilderness? Place the acorn meat into a few clean socks, or into a pillow case and tie off the tops. Place the full sock/pillowcase into a moving river for a few days. This will help remove those bitter tannins from the meat.
Once they’re no longer bitter, they’re ready to consume.
They’re Downright Useful
The truth is you can do A LOT with acorns. Here are some of our favorites, courtesy of Outdoor Life:
One of the easiest ways to cook acorns is to roast them. Place the damp nut chunks on a baking sheet and sprinkle with fine salt. Toast them for 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees in a pre-heated oven, or roll them around in a dry frying pan over the camp fire. You can tell they’re done when the color has changed a little, and the nut pieces smell like roasted nuts. Eat them out of hand just like peanuts.
For those with a sweet tooth, follow your favorite peanut brittle recipe, and substitute acorns for the peanuts. Use the same volume of acorns that the recipe asks for in peanuts, or add a few more acorns to make this snack a little more nutritious. Once the brittle is cooled, break it into pieces and enjoy.
Dry your leached acorns a little bit. When they are halfway between wet and soft, and dry and rock-hard, run them through a blender, food processor, grain mill, or grind between two rocks. Dry the resulting acorn meal in a low temp oven for a few minutes, or air dry for a few hours. Then grind it again. This acorn flour can be used to bake breads or almost any other baked good. If you’re expecting soft spongy bread, blend in some wheat flour for its gluten. If you don’t mind the acorn’s natural crumbly texture, use the acorn flour as-is.
Using the flour described above, try your hand at cookies. You could follow any cookie recipe, swapping out the wheat flour for acorn flour. Since acorn flour is more crumbly than wheat flour, cookies are a natural fit for this wild food. My favorite are acorn peanut butter cookies. Here’s how to make them:
3 cups of acorn flour
1 cup of white sugar
½ teaspoon of baking soda
1 cup of peanut butter
½ teaspoon of salt
1 cup of brown sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1 cup of butter
The butter will cooperate better if it softens up to room temperature before mixing, so set the butter out first. Mix the flour, salt and baking soda in a small bowl, and set it aside. Mix the softened butter and peanut butter in a large bowl. Add the vanilla and both sugars to the butter mixture, and mix it well. Add the eggs and mix again. Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture until smooth. Roll the dough into balls and pat out onto an ungreased baking pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes or until lightly brown. Makes 4 to 5 dozen cookies.
This may not seem right to diehard java drinkers since there’s no caffeine in an acorn, but you can roast a coffee substitute from acorns that is pleasant enough to drink. Place chunks of leached acorn on a cookie sheet and roast them in the oven at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. This roasting time will depend on the moisture in the nut pieces (more moist acorns need more time). Trust your eyes and nose when making acorn coffee, and stay right next to the oven. When the pieces are dark brown and give off a roasted (but not a burned) smell, they are done. Add one tablespoon of roasted acorn to one eight ounce cup of boiling water. Steep for 5-10 minutes, reheat if necessary. Add your normal coffee additives, or drink it “black.”
**BONUS: How To Know If An Acorn Is OK To Consume**
Not every acorn you encounter will be ok to eat. It’s crucial to know which ones to eat, and which ones are either unripe or have been eaten alive by fungi or worms.
First, make sure the shell of the acorn is NOT green, mottled black, or any color other than a golden beige. The shell should also contain zero cracks or holes.
Now crack open the shell and look at the meat. If there are any holes in the meat, toss it out. This means worms have likely gotten to it.