Are Acorns really edible?
Yes, acorns are edible and quite nutritious but they take a bit of processing before you can eat them. They are NOT edible raw. Acorns contain quite a bit of naturally occurring tannins which make them bitter. Other foods contain tannins to varying degrees, it is, in fact, often what gives certain foods their unique ‘mouth feel’. Foods that contain tannins include pomegranates, grapes, nuts, chocolate, rhubarb and some beans. We prefer using cold water baths to remove these bitter tannins and make the acorns edible (you can also use hot water methods, though that removes some of the beneficial oils and changes the overall nutrition). Once tannins are removed acorns have a very mild nutty flavor making them very easy to incorporate into your favorite recipes for added nutrition and health .
Acorns have been a food staple eaten by cultures the world over for centuries. One history of balanoculture (defined as societies whose diet staple is the oak acorn) can be found in the wonderful book Oak, The Frame of Civilization by William Logan.
Here is an article about Acorns from Weekend Edition on NPR in 2014.
Are Acorns nutritious?
Acorns are nutrition dense and satisfying. 1 ounce of acorn flour contains: 2 grams of protein, 15 grams of carbohydrates and 8 grams of fat making it a fairly balanced nutritional source.
Acorns also are a good source of manganese, among other things. Some health benefits of manganese include benefits to healthy bone structure, bone metabolism, and helping to create essential enzymes for building bones. It also acts as a co-enzyme to assist metabolic activity in the human body. Apart from these, there are other health benefits of manganese including the formation of connective tissues, absorption of calcium, proper functioning of the thyroid gland and sex hormones, regulation of blood sugar level, and metabolism of fats and carbohydrates. (1)
Acorns are Gluten Free.
The following tables show the nutritional value of 1 ounce cold-processed acorn flour.
Self Nutritional Data http://nutritiondata.self.com
The New England Acorn Cooperative is a young and burgeoning network of acorn enthusiasts from New England and beyond. We offer acorn gathering and processing workshops throughout the year, provide equipment for acorn-enthusiasts to process their own harvests, host acorn and wild-food dinners, and act as a support and educational network for anyone interested in oaks and their beautiful fruits!