Monday, November 16, 2015

Acorn "Meat" Balls!

No meat!  My fourteen year old son said they taste nearly like meatballs and my twelve year old son said he would not know the difference and that they even smell like meatballs. Both would eat them again, especially in spaghetti sauce.

I was trying a new method to quickly remove the tannins (success) when I realized the nuts looked like ground beef and were bland enough to be used as such with the right seasoning. These began as acorns from a Sawtooth Oak.

Last year I posted that I did the soak forever method and another forager, Mike Krebill, told me about how he did it, and the tannins were gone in under fifteen minutes, less for milder nuts. I said I would try it this year and when I did, I was amazed.  Here are his instructions:

"I put a cup of shelled acorns in the blender, fill it with water, and process it for two minutes. I pour the slurry into a dishtowel-lined colander set in my kitchen sink, and turn the water on to the point where I can stir the slurry around with a wooden spoon without losing any of it over the top of the colander. With the water running, I stir for 8 minutes, then turn the water off. What remains looks very much like damp sand. I taste a pinch to check for bitterness. If it is still bitter from tannins, I turn the water back on and stir for a few more minutes.

The fastest I've ever produced satisfactory red oak acorn meal is 8 minutes. Sometimes it has taken 11 minutes. Bur oak acorns have required 15 minutes. White oak acorns took 10 minutes. I bring up the ends of the dishtowel and squeeze out as much water as possible, then freeze the meal while it is still damp. Drying it is not necessary, as long as you add the damp meal into your recipes after adding water. The flavor and texture of the baked goods is superior to using dried acorn meal or acorn flour. My preference is to vacuum seal two cups of meal at a time in a labeled quart bag, pressing it flat. The flattened bags quickly freeze, and can be thawed out in minutes in a bowl of warm water. Vacuum sealing them this way keeps them good for years, so I always have enough between good mast years."

Acorn "Meat" Balls


4 cups ground acorns
3 cups bread crumbs
1 large red onion, chopped fine
2 cloves of garlic minced
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon basil
2 tablespoons wild garlic chives or green onions chopped
1 3/4 cup shredded cheese
1/2 cup broth
4 eggs


Mix all dry ingredients together. Mix in wet ingredients.

Mold into balls. Place on greased cookie sheet. At this point you can add a sauce of choice or glaze. I used a glaze of Crab Apple Rosemary Garlic Jelly.

Bake at 350 for 30 - 35 minutes.