History tells us that the earliest inhabitants of Greece and Southern Europe, who lived in the primeval forests, subsisted entirely on a diet of acorns, while the French, during the famine in the early 1700s, were driven to eat bread made of acorns steeped in water to destroy the bitterness. The former grew fat and were known as ‘acorn eaters’ while the French suffered from constipation or cholera. Through the years, acorns have been tested and found to be the best food for controlling blood sugar levels. Acorns have a low sugar content and their sweet aftertaste makes them very good in stews and breads. The nut is rich in complex carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins and are lower in fat than many other nuts.
Food from Acorns
- Acorns have a bitter taste which is caused by tannin used to tan leather.
- Depending upon the type of oak tree an acorn can taste mild to very bitter.
- Powdered and ground acorns when taken with water will help diarrhoea and when taken with wine act as a diuretic.
- Ground acorn is a natural sweetener that tastes like a cross between hazelnuts and sunflower seeds and can be used in any multi-grain recipe.
- Roasted acorns make a fair substitute for coffee.
- Acorn oil is made by boiling, crushing, or pressing and has been used for cooking in Algeria and Morocco.
- The Indians of the eastern U.S. used the oil for cooking and as a salve for burns and injuries.
Probably due to the intensive labour needed to get the acorn from the tree to the table has severely limited its uses in our homes although, livestock and wildlife continues to grow fat on the fallen nuts.
Acorn symbolism and superstition
- The ancient Druids believed the oak tree and its fruit contained special powers.
- Lovers would each place an acorn in a bowl of water and if they came together, the lovers would marry; if they floated apart the lovers would soon leave each other for someone else. If the acorn sank it was taken as a portent of death for the person it represented.
- Placing acorns between the mattress and box-spring in a lover’s bed would keep him or her faithful.
- Carrying an acorn in a pocket or a purse was supposed to prevent old age.
- It was customary to place acorns in the hands of the newly dead in certain parts of Europe.
- The Druids believed planting an acorn by the dark of the moon would bring money.
- Making a charm of three acorns and hair which is bound together and tied, then blessed under a new moon and a full moon for an entire year will provide a life-long charm.