” Looking to borrow a Kitchen Aid mixer for a day or two that I would purchase a grain mill attachment for . . . In exchange, please borrow the grain mill attachment any time for any of your flour-making needs. Also, I am making acorn flour if you care to sample some. Thanks! – Jay Avis ”
Such was the posting on the Norwich List Serve in late November. I didn’t have a Kitchen Aid mixer but I did have a Vita-Mix which I had used for grinding wheat – would that do? Jay, his fiancee Amanda, and I met at the Norwich Farmers Market in December so they could experiment with the Vita-Mix . . . and they promised acorn muffin mix in exchange for the loan of the Vita-Mix. (Jay also offered wild rice which he had foraged in Maine.) What a laborious process to collect hundreds of acorns, dry them, remove shell with hand-sheller, boil (8-12 times in fresh changes of water to remove bitter tannins), dehydrate, and grind into flour . . . a labor of love.
Acorns, which are not often used for food in modern times, were once an important food source for Native Americans. Called “wa chil” by the local Abenaki, they were a food that could be stored for the long winters. In California, a Native Americans might have eaten up to a thousand pounds of acorns per year!
It was with great appreciation that I made acorn muffins this morning from the mix Jay and Amanda had given me. The muffins were delicious! My daughter Alisa was visiting from L.A. where she can buy a wide variety of ethnic foods . . . but I doubt Acorn Cranberry Muffins would be an option!
For more on acorns/acorn flour see http://www.eattheweeds.com/nuts-for-acorns/