Sunday, November 7, 2010

Foraging update: Gather your acorns while ye may

© 2010 Joshua Stark

I found a great little tip about gathering acorns.  Taking a cue from the blog "Ramshackle Solid", I checked out some of our Valley oaks a couple of days after rains had come through.  Sure enough, many of them had split right open, making about one-third of the process of getting acorn flour so much easier.

Click on the pic. for a closer view of split acorns.
With such a great harvest, I thought I'd make my first try something special.  However, Hank Shaw's acorn honey cake was a tad expensive on our current budget, so I made a variation.  I replaced the 1/2 cup of honey with a mix of honey, molasses, and brown sugar.  I also substituted canola oil for the olive oil (ouch!).  Last, I used our duck eggs, rather than chicken eggs.

It is said that one cannot get stiff peaks from duck eggs, and although that is true, it is only true to a degree.  By beating the whites thoroughly and adding sugar a bit at a time, I get something pretty close to stiff.

I used the only springform we've got (10"), and poured in the batter.  After 17 minutes, I started watching it like a hawk, but by about 28 minutes it was done, and looking good!  It didn't rise as much as it would have with the chicken eggs, I'm guessing, but I will say that the mix of sweet substitutes worked so well that I renamed my variation.
The four sweets acorn cake

The acorns didn't just provide a filler, either.  This cake has a toasty nuttiness, and the slightly inconsistent grinding from my blender added tiny, flavorful chunks of toasted acorn.  It was really a treat!

We here have been so impressed with the acorn flour that after today's rains we plan to hit the fields to gather this amazing nut.

I will definitely be adding the Quercus (oak) family to the list of Lands on the Margin's edible plants list.  Keep an eye out for that and all the other plants I'll be adding to a stand-alone page, soon.


Hunter Angler Gardener Cook said...

Nice one! Glad you liked my cake, or at least a version of it. Let's gather some more acorns this week if you are around. I need to get a haul of Valley oak acorns. I'm done with my blue oak ones.

Josh said...

Thanks, Hank! I really think the acorns liked the molasses. I'm game for gathering; I'll email you really soon.