I now add a new skill to my resume, the ability to make acorn flour. The application of this skill won’t land a corporate job in Human Resources with any company other than NOLS or Outward Bound. And even that is doubtful.
Last week when visiting my sister the bombardment of acorns on her deck, barbecue grill, the roof, backyard, neighbor’s RV etc., resembled a siege. The pinging non stop. Ventures outside seemed full of peril. And all those nuts had to be good for something more than cute leprechaun craft figures with painted faces. I gathered a bucket load and toted them back to New York.
Mom always claimed the nuts were poisonous. Actually they are not, but the tannins contained within the meat make the little nut about as bitter as a New York State Gubernatorial race. The nut is edible, but if something tastes that awful, then what is the true definition of edible?
Acorns have long been a favorite nut, because of the memories. One of my earliest recollections of the little nut with the cute tam-like cap was on McGregor Mountain. It was a family outing with Uncle Harold and Aunt Doris who had come to visit from New Jersey. In the short walk through the woods to the place President Grant once lived and to where the silent sentry cannon stood amid tall oaks, I discovered the origin of trees. Yes, they came from little nuts. I could hold a whole forest in my cupped hands. But my discovery of a forest-in-hand waned when I was told the nut was poisonous. What a bitter pill to swallow after such an amazing discovery. Squirrels and worms could eat these things presumably because they were immune. More like they would starve otherwise.
Knowing the resourcefulness of the Native Americans, I could never imagine that such an autumn harvest couldn't be used for anything more than pig or squirrel bait. And indeed, I was always right.
Yet, I was never compelled to make flour because I don’t bake much and when I need flour, I stick with the Gold Medal. Now with too much time on my hands and a sense to prepare for the day of doom when economic markets collapse and governments run amuck, I’ve decided to acquire skills that would entice others to pick me for their survival team. Or maybe one day CBS’s Survivor will cast a show in the Adirondacks and I can wow national audiences with my wilderness prowess that doesn’t involve a bikini.
Meanwhile, Dad’s electric bill will be July-high from the hours of boiling the tannins out of the shelled nuts and more hours drying the meal out in the oven. Will I now whip up a batch of acorn raspberry muffins the size of cat heads? Guess what my sisters are getting for Christmas?