This week, I managed to collect just enough new acorns to try the hot leaching method. I am pretty sure the acorns were from white oaks (based on the curvy lobes on the leaves).
The hot leaching method involves putting the shelled acorns in water and bringing them to a boil, and then draining and repeating the process until the water no longer turns brown. I used two pots, so I could be warming a new batch of water while the current batch was boiling.
…but the water never stopped turning brown.
I actually lost track of how many times I changed the water over the course of the afternoon.
The boiling water smelled like … well, if you have ever steamed fresh artichokes, it had that kind of aroma. I can’t really describe it better than that. It certainly wasn’t a pleasant smell; at least, it’s not how I expected boiling acorns to smell.
I finally gave up on leaching the acorns. They were turning mealy and crumbly. I nibbled on one. It definitely didn’t have a high tannin content anymore, but it was not something I would ever voluntarily eat. Not bad, just … not good.
I wonder if some of the acorns had started to go bad, and the repeated boiling allowed those “off” flavors to permeate the rest of the nuts. I guess in the future, I will try to only collect newly fallen acorns – like, you’re standing under the tree and get bonked by them – or ones I can reach on the tree. (To be determined if I get another chance this year, since there aren’t any oaks in my immediate vicinity.)