One fall activity I look forward to doing every year, is harvesting acorns. We have an abundance of oak trees on our property, and in the surrounding preserve, making these nuts easy to come by. The last two years, we have been blessed with a good, strong bumper crop – something I am sure the deer and wildlife love as much as we do!
We primarily use our acorns for making acorn bitters, an woodland take on Angostura bitters that is tannic, earthy and has a warm nutty flavor all at once. We add them to our fall cocktails, and they are a truly delicious treat! However there are many people out there who also use acorns to make their own acorn flour.
My daughter and I will grab a bucket, and walk around our yard and woods, collecting acorns. The size and easily recognized shape of oak acorns makes this a fun and easy task for my toddler, and I’m sure your little ones will enjoy it too! Of course, she grabs every acorn she sees, and many are not suitable for consumption.
So how do you know which acorns are good?
- Harvest Early – You want to try to get out and harvest your acorns as soon as you notice them dropping. Not only do you have to compete with your local wildlife to get them, but you want to make sure you are getting the best quality acorns possible.
- Acorns should never be – Wet, cracked, dull, sprouting, or have holes in them. These types are damaged, and you can’t guarantee they are safe for human consumption. Many times you will crack a dull nut, or one with a small hole that you didn’t see, to find the entire center rotting – or worse, full of bugs! Ew!
- Acorns should – Have a hard, shiny shell, with no holes, cracks or breaks. They should be dry and firm.
For more information on how to process your newly harvested acorns, check out our post here, on What are Acorn Bitters?. Make sure that when you are sorting and double-checking your acorns, you don’t throw out any of the damaged or rotting ones. While they are not safe for human consumption, your wildlife neighbors will enjoy them just fine!