As a prepper, you’re likely always on the lookout for more useful information which can help you and your family make it in a survival situation. This means constantly being on the lookout for new information, tactics, and techniques, but, sometimes, this also means looking in your own backyard to see what new ways you can use what you already have on hand to help you survive. And, when you look in your own backyard (literally and metaphorically), sometimes you are surprised by what you can do with what you already have on hand.
Take oak trees, for example. Most people likely only think of an oak tree as a good source of wood for building or for burning in a fireplace, campsite, or cook stove. These are great uses for oak trees, but did you know that an oak tree can be a provider of food for you and your family?
It’s true. Tricia Drevets writes,
After doing a little research, I discovered that Native American tribes used acorns as one of their primary staple foods. In much the same way they used corn, they used ground acorn nutmeat to make a meal, or flour, for baked goods. They even used them to make acorn coffee.
Acorns are rich in Vitamins B12, B6, folate riboflavin, thiamin and niacin. They also contain iron, calcium, magnesium, sodium, phosphorus, copper manganese and zinc, and are good sources of protein and fiber. Naturalist John Muir called the acorn cakes he made the most “strength giving” food he had ever eaten. But before you start munching on your own baskets of acorns, there is some information you need to know.
First, green acorns are unsuitable for eating. You may harvest mature green acorns to ripen in a clean, dry place, however. Also, all raw acorns contain high amounts of tannic acid, which gives them a bitter taste and which can be toxic to humans and many animals if consumed in large quantities. White oak acorns generally contain fewer tannins than red oak acorns.
Tannic acid is water soluble, however, and can be removed by boiling or flushing.
Now, to be clear, there are few different ways to remove the tannic acid from acorns, but none are difficult. The basic idea is to rinse and rinse and rinse again the acorns until the tannic acid is removed (it will be a brown discoloration of the water. Drevets writes,
To begin, use only ripe, brown acorns that look appealing to the eye. Leave any acorns that appear to be blackened or mildewed for the squirrels.
Next, remove the caps and boil the acorns for 10 minutes. Replace the water three more times, repeating the 10-minute boiling process each time. After the four boiling sessions, the water should no longer look brown and the acorns can be easily shelled.
From there, it is a matter of grinding the dried, baked acorns for use as a flour substitute in baking, or they can be ground and brewed to make a variation of coffee.
There you have it: a survival food that you may very well already have in your backyard.
Are there other uses for acorns as food? Certainly, but these are some of our favorites. How do you use (or intend to use) acorns in your survival plans? Tell us below.