Foraging for Acorn Coffee

Dec 2012
According to Food and Wine, foraging is indeed the next locavore trend. It’s popping up in restaurants all over the country. This summer I wrote about taking to your garden for a side dish of yummy Day Lilies. Acorn coffee has apparently been made in Lithuania since ancient times, and this recipe comes from one of my twitter friends in Europe. The backstory is a perfect example of why I love social media, and how interconnected the world is becoming.

I’m not exactly sure how our relationship started-who followed who and where the common link began, social media has a way of taking a circuitous route, usually through the friend of a friend. But not very long into it, I realized that @DoorHardwareLux had an amazing knowledge of plants and flowers, one that I tapped into often to learn the name of a plant or fruit in a photo I had just taken. Somewhere along the way, I discovered that her name was Asta. Fast forward a few months and my sister had asked me for the name of a place in Rhode Island that I used to frequent for jewelry findings many years ago. When I finally located it, at the bottom of the page I saw the name Asta, with Door Design Decorative Hardware in the notations and a Boston suburb address. I had bought all my door hardware from this company when I did my first renovation in Boston many moons ago. How many people could be in this business with the name Asta? Sure enough it was the same person, and we reconnected about that quickly after. Yes it’s a small world!

When I found out that Asta was foraging for acorns in the fall and making it into a coffee drink, I asked her to share the process with my readers.

Her process: To remove the outer shells of the acorns, we placed them on a cookie sheet and heated them into the oven for several minutes. We used a small kitchen knife to remove the inner acorn core from the shell. Then we soaked the shelled acorns in milk for several hours (or overnight). Then we added milk if needed to fully cover all the acorns prior to boiling them for until most of the milk has boiled away. Stir while boiling. The acorns will become soft. Grind the acorns with a meat grinder. Then spread the ground acorns onto a cookie sheet/baking pan which is covered with baking paper. Bake until dry while keeping the oven door slightly open. Inserting a cork into the oven door helps keep it open just enough to have the drying process work properly. I love this tip of the cork in the door.

Raw acorns have a very bitter taste, but once processed, this plentiful nut/seed from the oak tree can provide a nice de-caf alternative drink to the usual coffee and tea.
To make a pot, place two heaping tablespoons per cup into boiling water and stir well. Add milk and sugar to taste. I can’t say that the beverage tastes anything like coffee, but it is still very warming and nutritious, a comforting drink on a cold December evening, before we finished decorating the tree.
Thanks for sharing this process Asta-Visit her company Baltica for beautiful custom hardware sandcast of bronze and brass.