Acorn Coffee

Method

This is a very traditional wild food recipe and yet it is not one that is much used. Acorns contain a large amount of tannin and when eaten raw they have a bitter taste and an astringent effect on the mouth. North American Indians of many tribes made use of acorns from one or other of the American oaks, but first they took steps to reduce the bitterness by soaking them in ashes and water or by burying them in the ground for some months.

I find that if you boil the acorns whole for 15 minutes you make it easier both to get the shell and peel off and reduce the bitterness. Boil and peel the acorns then split and dry them. After drying for a day or so, grind them in a coffee-grinder and roast them in the oven or under a grill, watching all the time to see they do not burn; they should be a good, brown, coffee colour. Infuse about 1½ teaspoons per cup of boiling water for a few minutes before serving. The taste does not resemble coffee, but it is quite pleasant with milk and sugar.

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