Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Acorns Vs Hazelnuts

The other day, my parents brought home a large bag full of nuts. They had collected them from under a tree and wanted to know if they could eat them. According to them, these nuts looked exactly like some other nuts they had seen in a grocery store the day before. I peered closely at these mystery nuts and I suspected that they were fat, round acorns based on the fact that they were so readily available this time of year. However, I didn't see the stereotypical acorn "hats" and these nuts were quite round, so I couldn't be sure. I looked to the great world wide web for answers. First of all, I wanted to know if acorns were edible.

I discovered that acorns can be eaten, but that tedious preparation is involved. Acorns contain tannins, which are quite bitter. If you consume a large amount of tannins, you might develop liver failure. As such, acorns must be shelled, ground to a pulp and soaked in water. You can do this by lining a sieve with a dish towel, pouring in the ground acorns, and running the pulp under water until the contents are no longer bitter. The only edible part is the acorn meal, which remains after straining out the juices. You should use this acorn meal immediately, as it turns dark when it is left around. Here is a good article on using acorns for food.

Acorns can sometimes look similar to hazelnuts when they are ripe. How can you tell them apart? First of all, look at the nuts on the trees.

Acorns have brown caps on top of each nut. On the other hand, hazelnuts will be inside leaves that hold each nut like a flower.
Next, look at the leaves. Acorns come from oak trees with narrow, multi-lobed leaves.

Hazelnut trees have large, roundish, textured leaves.

Now, you can tell the general difference between acorns and hazelnuts and can decide for yourself if you want to pick all those tempting nuts up! As for my parents, it was too much work to make acorn meal and the lucky local squirrels were the only ones to benefit.



Anonymous said...

Thank You! This was very informative with wonderful pictures. Although the post is 4 years old the information will never be out dated. I give it a thumbs up! said...

Thanks for stopping by and reading it! It's nice to know someone found it useful.

Cheers :)

Anonymous said...

I was wondering if hazelnets were related to acorns. Thanks for the info.

Anonymous said...

Thank you

Anonymous said...

Now I can actually see that they are different. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Good article. I just seen some of these acorns on the groin thinking they were hazelnuts but the tree looks nothing like the wild hazelnut trees I pick from

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Damascus Steele said...

Great article! Thank you for insightful information on the matter. I wondered if someone gave you two brown looking nuts, one was acorn and one Hazel nut are there other way to tell the difference? Taste perhaps one way but just by looking at it? Thanks!