I want acorns to be food. I really, really do.
And there’s no reason they shouldn’t be. They’re nuts, from trees. Like almonds! Or pecans! Besides, luminaries like Euell “Try Anything “ Gibbons of Stalking the Wild Asparagus and Hank Shaw of Hunter Angler Gardener Cook say you can make delicious things out of acorns.
First, you collect them and remove the shells. And you don’t taste them – a raw acorn is not just bitter, tannic, and vile, it’s also poisonous. You leach the tannins out of the acorns by soaking them in water, changing it every few hours, for several years. Then you grind them into a flour that’s vastly inferior to, say, wheat flour.
I’m going to try this. I am. I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. In the meantime, I feel terribly wasteful not collecting the vast quantities of acorns the oak trees on our property drop on our house, our driveway, and our vehicles.
Then I got an idea from Kate at Living the Frugal Life. She gives acorns to her chickens, which struck me as an excellent idea. A couple weeks back, I gathered some, crushed them with a hammer, and offered them up to our flock.
They turned their beaks up at them. There were a couple of desultory pecks, and then nothing. They wouldn’t touch the stuff.
But the lightbulb didn’t go on until I put up a recent post about our turkeys, and our efforts to fatten them up in this, their last month of life. I’d assumed that, since the chickens wouldn’t eat them, the turkeys wouldn’t either, but several astute readers suggested that turkeys are very fond of acorns.
It was Kevin who who saw the light. He collected a good half-pound of acorns which, on our property, takes about seven seconds. But there was no way he was going to crush them by hand when he could employ a power tool. In this case, he turned to my Vita-Mix, the two-horsepower blender that can pulverize anything this side of statuary.
He put the acorns in the Vita-Mix jar with the special blade for dry ingredients, and turned the thing to “vaporize.”
For those of you who don’t think two horsepower is all that much, consider that a really good woodsplitter is only five. Four will power a decent-size skiff. A two-horse motor can power a lawnmower, rototiller, or weedwacker. It’s got no problem with a half-pound of acorns. They were turkey feed in no time.
We took the acorn meal out to the turkey pen and gave it to them. First, they tried to eat the bowl. Then they tried to eat the zipper pull on my jacket. Finally, one of them – Edith, our one hen – tried the acorns.
She liked them!
It was turkey see, turkey do, and in moments all four of them were beaks down in the acorn pile. We’ll be supplementing their feed with high-protein, high-calorie acorns from now until Doomsday – oops, I mean Thanksgiving.
So I’ll be eating acorns after all, but only after they’ve been converted to turkey.