Saturday, September 15, 2007

The lowly acorn

If you missed yesterday's blog, this is just a reminder that I'm featured in the premier issue of eMuse at with two lovely reviews for Dancer's Delight and Traveller's Refuge plus a wonderful interview. Please have a look.

I have mentioned in my blogs more than once about the importance of research when you write. My time-travel book certainly will have some pretty odd research paths. Currently, I'm working on the nutritional properties of acorns. After searching the net for a while, I found directions on processing the acorn to a usable form.

So! First of all, I needed acorns! Fortunately, it's the time of year that acorns are lying around on the ground, free for the taking. Oh, my aching back and knees. Who knew what a pain in the back it is to harvest acorns? And for what? Perhaps we ended up with half a gallon of acorns.

Next we roasted them. Now, I cheated here as I really don't have any possibility of using anything other than my oven. But in my story, I believe that my hero had a cast iron dutch oven in his camping gear, so that should work to roast the acorns. Put acorns in pot, no more than two deep and set in coals to roast.

Tomorrow, when they've cooled, we get to peel them. That should be fun. I'll keep you up to date on my hands on research with the acorns. I can hear you asking now, "Why is she doing this?"

I believe that knowledge is a good thing to have. And I also believe that first hand experience is better than book knowledge whenever it's possible. Of course, sometimes that is not possible because it's immoral or unethical or even illegal. Processing acorns for food is not in any of those categories.

Already, I learned something that I didn't know. Acorns come in two different sizes and shapes, depending on the species of oak tree. We happen to have both kinds of oak tree within yards of each other so we collected some of each kind. The larger acorn is twice as big as the smaller acorn. I can already see that if I depended on acorns for food, I would hope I lived close to a tree with the bigger acorns! Food yield from the bigger ones is much higher.

I expect you're wondering who the "we" is in this little tale. Well my husband of course. I think he's more fascinated by the process than I am. We'll see how interested he is when it comes time to cook with them!

There's an old expression--"From little acorns, big oak trees grow." I never realized the exact truth of that until I stood beneath the oak tree that towered six stories above me. So it is with our words. One hurtful word can grow into a painful rage. One loving word can save the world.


Amarinda -
Kelly -


  1. Yes, I asked "why is she doing this?" Can't your characters have crashed with a carton of Tims Tam (stave off hunger) and several cases of wine(so they no longer care if they're hungry). If I ended up in 500BC I would want to be drunk. You'll be camping out next and that is just wrong.

  2. I'll have D ask our favorite BSA leader/camp cook if he's ever cooked with acorns over an open fire...or on his camp stove!

    Love your last 2 true!

  3. You must quit saying such clever things, Anny, if you don't wished to be quoted on my Sunday blog.

    I've tried raw acorn a couple of times as a kid when I should have been playing recess or softball. Raw they are awful and I spat them out. I think roasted sounded good. Anyway, be careful pealing them as some husks cause dying on the fingers. You may be stuck with brownish red finger tips as a result. Arrrrr.

  4. I've heard that acorns are toxic to humans--are you sure your source is reliable? You can find some crazy stuff out there on the interweb....

  5. Acorns are not toxic if prepared properly. They've been a food source for humans for thousands of years. I'm glad that you've help reiterate that they must be prepared carefully. Thank you!

  6. What you will do in the name of research next?!!

    The bigger question of course is: are your characters survivalist types? Was hero a boyscout? Is heroine the outdoorsy type? Because I can believe that perhaps they would think of roasting acorns for food (people gotta eat) but if you have them grinding them up to make flour for acorn bread next, I give up...

    Where are the Native Americans when you need them???

  7. Isn't that why you have to read the book? To find out the answers to those questions?

    And of course, for a while, at least, you might not be able to communicate with the natives until you learn their language...