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Acorn Leaching Device

 
Posts: 17
Location: Columbus, OH
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I would like to come up with some kind of device to quickly (at least relatively so) and efficiently remove/ neutralize the tannins in acorns. I was wondering if anybody has any ideas about this, or knows of any resources that might be helpful for this.
 
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Hello Zachery,

Other than the traditional methods (I am sure you have already investigated) there really isn't a "fast way" of doing this...and doing it properly. It is a bit tedious (depending on the species of Oak, as some have more tannin than others) but well worth the effort for a "meal" or "mast" that can be used alone or to augment other meals for breads and the related doughs.

Regards,

j
 
Zachary Schrock
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Location: Columbus, OH
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Yeah I realize there's no really fast way of removing the tannins. My idea is to create a device that makes so you don't have to use as much energy/water as traditional methods, and maybe allows you remove the the tannins a little quicker.
 
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I haven't tried it, but

Another ways is to clean out the tank on your toilet and put the shelled acorns in a mesh bag in there. Every flush will remove tannic water and bring in fresh.


Source - http://www.eattheweeds.com/acorns-the-inside-story/

Not sure how I feel about that......

 
Mother Tree
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Joe Braxton wrote:

Not sure how I feel about that......



The tank, not the bowl!

Just in case you misunderstood...
 
pollinator
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when you say quickly how long are you thinking, and how much acorn are we talking of processing? the fastest way is to grind to a paste/powder, boil in water, drain, fresh water, boil, repeat. then eat or dry. this can be done in a couple of hours IF the acorns are already hulled.

i have found like with bread, longer is much better, you get deeper richer flavors. and probably more nutrition. i do the same process above except i don't boil. or even heat. but soak,drain,soak,drain,until the water is clear and the acorn is sweet and tasteful.

i would much rather have a device that hulled acorns of any size.
 
Zachary Schrock
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Jordan Lowery wrote:when you say quickly how long are you thinking, and how much acorn are we talking of processing? the fastest way is to grind to a paste/powder, boil in water, drain, fresh water, boil, repeat. then eat or dry. this can be done in a couple of hours IF the acorns are already hulled.

i have found like with bread, longer is much better, you get deeper richer flavors. and probably more nutrition. i do the same process above except i don't boil. or even heat. but soak,drain,soak,drain,until the water is clear and the acorn is sweet and tasteful.

i would much rather have a device that hulled acorns of any size.




If by "hulled" you mean removing the thin papery skin (testa), then I agree that that such a device would be a very good thing. Samuel Thayer makes it sounds like it's easy to remove the testa in his book Nature's Garden, but that has not been my experience. Also, I have tried the drain and soak method you described above, both with the testa removed and without, and for some reason it always starts tasting moldy before the tannins are removed. I've always ground it to a paste in a blender. Is there a trick to this? Am I maybe not getting it ground fine enough?
 
                                      
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Having access to scads of acorns at home, and having processed them in numerous fashions.......the cold water rinse is definitely the best way......trying to speed the leeching process with a device is by my estimation...not beneficial.......soak them in water for a few days....drain them......soak them again.......and again and again......as they say....nothing good is rushed
 
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The biggest hurdle to using acorns seems to be getting them out of the shells quickly before they either mold or sprout or go wormy. I harvested several buckets of them and thought I'd store them in barrels until I got around to shelling them, but they started smelling musty/moldy so the moisture in them is not amenable to sealing inside a barrel.  The reason I did that is to keep the rodents out of them.  When I left them open to air there was evidence of rodent investigation. I have only tried cracking the acorns one by one with a hammer on the pointed end and then working the shell off by fingernail. It is tedious at best. Do you recommend taking off the inner thin membrane as well? If so how does one do that when the acorn is still wet?  It seems the inner membrane would be bitter as it is in chestnuts.  But to dry the acorn and then try to remove the membrane would be dicey as it could mold quickly in damp climate of fall weather.  
 
Denise Cares
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 Another ways is to clean out the tank on your toilet and put the shelled acorns in a mesh bag in there. Every flush will remove tannic water and bring in fresh.  


Source - http://www.eattheweeds.com/acorns-the-inside-story/



I looked up this site and found this comment which seems important to point out as many are saying to boil the nuts to remove the bitter tannin:

"boiling — is least preferred because if done wrong it will bind the tannins to the acorn and they will not lose their bitterness. Also, when you boil the acorns you also boil off the oil with the tannins, reducing  their nutrition. That oil, however, is very nutritious. At this writing it is selling for about $10 an ounce. You can make it for far less. There is actually a fourth method of processing that requires lye but it is not commonly used nor have I tried it.

Boiling speeds up the process but cooks the starch

The boiling process requires two pots of boiling water. Put the acorns in one pot of already boiling water until the water darkens. Pour off the water and put the hot acorns in the other pot of boiling water while you reheat the first pot with fresh water to boiling. You keep putting the acorns in new boiling water until the water runs clear. Putting boiled acorns into cold water will bind the tannins to the acorn and they will stay bitter. So always move them from one boiling bath to another. Putting acorns in cold water and bringing the water to a boil will also bind the tannin. So it is either use all cold water and a long soaking or all boiling water and just a few hours of cooking. There is one other difference between the two methods. The temperature at which you process the acorns at any point is critical. Boiling water or roasting over 165º F precooks the starch in the acorn. Cold processing and low temperatures under 150 F does not cook the starch.  Cold-water leached acorn meal thickens when cooked, hot-water leached acorn meal does not thicken or act as a binder (like eggs or gluten) when cooked.  Your final use of the acorns should factor in how you will process them. If you are going to leach and roast whole for snacking then boiling is fine. If you are going to use the acorn for flour it should be cold processed, or you will have to add a binder."
 
gardener
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as far as devices go (though it’s been awhile and i don’t know if the OP is still looking), we’ve rigged up leachers that use a little aquarium waterpump to recirculate water, a bucket with a hole in it, a barrel, a bit of tubing, and some screen to keep the acorn in place…i’m still a fan of cold-leaching using the decanting from a bucket method.
 
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