The newest, as in some ways the oldest, of the foraged foods is an Acorn Bread that I made last weekend. Late last fall, we were hiking in the Santa Cruz mountains and I noticed that a bunch of acorns (specifically from a coastal oak) were littering the trail so I decided that we should harvest a bunch. On the way back down the trail, we stopped to collect a couple handfuls of acorns, loading them up in my sweatshirt and walking them back to the car.
When we got back home, the long process of prepping acorns began.
Step 1 is shelling – pretty much just hit them with a hammer and then pick the meat out of the shell.
Step 2 is leaching to remove the bitter tannins. I chose to hot leach boiling the acorns in 4 sets of water which ended up with a mildly bitter but good tasting nuts. You can also cold leach in running water for a couple of days which is apparently better for making flour, but I didn’t know that at the time so live and learn.
Step 3 is grind the flour. I used my coffee grinder (which I only use for spices really) and made a powder in a couple minutes.
Step 4 is making acorn bread. You will need:
1/2 cup of acorn flour
1 cup of white (or wheat) flour
1 cup of buttermilk (I used milk slightly curdled by lemon juice)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup of molasses
Grease a casserole dish, then fill it up with a mixture of the above ingredients. Seal the casserole dish with aluminum foil and cook for 2 hours at 250 degrees. You should check every once in awhile for doneness since you are using found ingredients which could vary the cook times somewhat. Eat hot and it tastes almost like a more dense earthy pumpkin pie, or have leftovers slightly sauteed in butter.
Good luck and happy foraging, and once again thanks to Backyard Foraging for the inspiration.