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Acorn oil and flour

 
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I have a few quick questions. I have been doing a lot of research on acorns and such. I have literally tons of acorns thumb size and bigger mostly from white oaks at my disposal. I have cracked and leached about two gallons of nut meat so far and I'm waiting for it to dry. I'm going to be running it through an oil press to see if anything comes out. So my questions are is there any way to make a profit from them? I have enough this year that I can crack constantly until next fall. I would like to be able to offer the flour and oil that I should be getting from them to people that do not have access to them at a reasonable price. If its possible what should the cost be for flour and or oil? I do leave plenty for the local wildlife by the way and plan on putting the extracted nuts that i get oil from, back into the woods. birds love it. I'm in WV and would even consider selling uncracked or shelled nuts. Any ideas or suggestions please?
 
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Curious to see how you come out with the oil! What kind of press do you have? I too have access to more than plenty of acorns, and process them both for myself and my chickens (see our blog at udanwest.blogspot.com for the process I use). They don't seem very oily, but it will be some years before my olive trees start producing!
 
Richard Hixenbaugh
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Piteba. The standard red one from ebay. I have used it to extract black walnut oil and it works really well. I also have a few hundred black walnuts left to shell. Im getting a good amount of oil from them. I'm just not sure what to do with it. Could I maybe use the leftovers for making pellets? I have a pellet stove and was thinking of getting a pellet mill. I have an unlimited supply of sawdust. Would the acorns in their raw cracked form make a good binding agent? or maybe make some fuel logs out of them and sawdust? I'm currently making my own charcoal and have made a homemade press that produces nice square logs but need a better binder. I wonder if the acorns after extracting the oil woild make a good pellet by itself? sooooo many questions...... currently crying my crushed acorns infront of my pellet stove inside a piece of unused cheese cloth.
 
Alder Burns
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If you've pressed the oil out of the meal, it still contains starch and protein, and so would still be useful as food or feed....seems a shame to burn it....
 
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As I understand it, oak acorns vary considerably in oil content with acorns from the red oak group containing considerably more oil(roughly 20%) than acorns from the white oak group (6-8%). There does seem to be a lot of variability between species within groups and in reported numbers. If these numbers are correct it certainly makes sense to focus on acorns from the red oak group if obtaining oil is your goal.
 
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I am interested in your results with flour and oil Richard. Here is information on a commercial acorn flour and cap operation.

 
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Did you try it and how did it go? I have worked with many acorns but am just getting into trying for oil. I have seen a company that professionally presses the oil and they were using mostly Souther Pin Oak acorns which are a deep orange color inside, indicating high levels of oil. Oaks of the red oak group seem to be the way to go and even then there may be certain species that will perform better for oil than others. Did the white oak acorns produce oil?
 
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I too am interested in the follow up.
 
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I would like to grow some dwarf chinkapin oaks specifically for oil meal production.
The chinkapin oaks are said to be so low in tanin that leaching isn't necessary.
The dwarf chinkapin oaks grow as a hedge, and start to produce acorns in just 2-3 years!
I can see a small food forest or Permaculture orchard including these trees and providing acorn products.
The oil is evidently comparable to olive oil, and the meal/flour could be sold to the Keto market.
There is even a history of commercially grafting chest nuts onto oak trees-imagine chestnuts on a hedge along with acorns!
 
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Has anyone gathered acorns that are sprouting in the spring to dry, grind and leach?  Are they just as safe to use?  I've given them a taste test and they seem just as tannin filled in the spring as they were in the fall....dang it.
 
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i can't speak for the op, but i'm part owner of a small company that processes food products from wild foraged nuts. the amount of oil in white, chestnut and sawtooth acorns is low enough to be considered absent.  there is some in both northern and southern reds, but barely enough to make it worthwhile (just enough to make flour/meal harder to deal with!). the real winners that we've seen for oil are black and pin oaks. i have no experience with chinkapin oaks in this context yet. leaching (pre-pressing) is not worth worrying about regardless of species since the tannins are water soluble and don't express with the oil. leaching the presscake for flour(provided that it's 'flour grade' and without shells etc) is worth it - it's pretty nice getting two products from a single lot of nuts. acorn oil isn't exactly comparable to olive oil - the smoke point is significantly lower, so cooking of any kind isn't really recommended. it is amazingly flavorful though.
 
greg mosser
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Greg Martin wrote:Has anyone gathered acorns that are sprouting in the spring to dry, grind and leach?  Are they just as safe to use?  I've given them a taste test and they seem just as tannin filled in the spring as they were in the fall....dang it.



should be worth it. whites and chestnuts oaks sprout in the fall, so you should expect the more tannin-y reds to sprout in the spring. sprouting should mean there are no weevils inside though! they can be leached without drying. just chip 'em up a bit an go! should be as safe (maybe a little sweeter after leaching from the enzymatic changes of sprouting).
 
Greg Martin
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greg mosser wrote: should be worth it. whites and chestnuts oaks sprout in the fall, so you should expect the more tannin-y reds to sprout in the spring. sprouting should mean there are no weevils inside though! they can be leached without drying. just chip 'em up a bit an go! should be as safe (maybe a little sweeter after leaching from the enzymatic changes of sprouting).



Thank you greg!  I love making cookies with acorn flour and this topic got the craving started in me.  The squirrel population is a bit on the low side right now so quite a large number of acorns made it through and I'll be weeding them out of my gardens.  The lack of weevils is a great bonus.
 
greg mosser
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I've been making an all-acorn flour spicebush cookie that is sooo good.
 
William Bronson
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Greg Mosser-how do you leach your acorns?
 
greg mosser
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it depends. if temperatures are fairly cool and i don't need them to leach fast, i just do it with a decanting method in a 5-gal bucket. ~¼ bucket of acorn (6-8lbs or so dry), water to ¾ bucket. pour off as much water as possible without losing too much acorn starch daily, top back off with water. takes 3-6 days depending on the acorns (and maybe temps?) taste for doneness.

if it needs to be faster (in warmer ambient temps the acorn can start to ferment pretty quickly), i use a system with a bucket inside of a larger plastic barrel with a pump to recirculate water. it's just a bit more fiddly of a system. judicious use of lye can speed up the process a lot but i'm not a big fan.
 
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Where do you buy dwarf chinquapin oaks?

Walnut oil is great in salad dressing.
 
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