Acorn coffee (Ahwet balloot)

cup of ballout kahvah   It has been my privilege to befriend Philippe and Saidé, people I consider Salt of the Earth: Seasoned farmers (for generations) in the Lebanese mountains.  They  raised six beautiful children, all grown and gone to live an urban life in Beirut or in North America. Here they are,  left with an intimate knowledge of nature and agriculture and no one to pass it on to.   I sat down with Saidé, or as I call her Um Elias (mother of Elias, her firstborn), to learn a bit about her life in these parts during extremely difficult circumstances when the country was in the grips of civil war. She told me about her trek to Deir el-Qamar (escaping a massacre in her home village); she walked for nine hours with her children in tow; she cupped her newborn in the folds of her dress and held him by the grip of her teeth.  She told me of finding  a benevolent soul who gave them a place to live and the weekly donation of staples when the Red Cross truck would stop in town. However, there was no delivery of coffee or tobacco.  Um Elias chuckled as she describes a town resident and his buddies meet-up  for farting sessions after drinking coffee made out of chickpeas. She told me: “I was not going to do this, I found a better way!”;  she roasted acorns instead, grinding  them and making acorn coffee. She would point to her belly and say “this would not inflate! much better than hummus!” (hummus is also the word for chickpeas in Arabic).

Lebanese mountains are covered with oak trees and acorns this time of year are everywhere on the ground. I picked a bunch, pulled them out of their husks and decided to try this coffee. Apparently, the Native Americans used to eat acorns and even now in Korea acorn flour is used to make a type of pasta. making acorn coffee-3 Here’s  how to do it:  Pick some acorn and pull them out of their husks (they come out easily). Make a small slit on each in two places with the tip of a knife. Place them on a baking sheet and roast them in a 350F oven for 30 minutes; you will smell a wonderful nutty fragrance wafting out of the oven. The nuts need to be dark brown near black.  Remove from the oven, cool a bit and peel them. Cool them completely and grind them in a coffee grinder till powdery. Keep in the freezer till needed, in a tight plastic bag or container.  To make coffee, use the same directions as your regular drip or French press or Turkish coffee. the coffee will be bitter so a sweetener is needed here.  IMG_3106 Um Elias showing me an onion bulb. I had no idea it was so complex to grow onions from seeds of other onions. 

making acorn coffee

 

GIVEAWAY RESULTS:

Garlic mortar will be sent to commenter by the name of Terry Harden. Please e-mail me your mailing address. 

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Print This Post Print This Post

21 Comments

  1. Posted February 3, 2013 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    What an interesting drink! I’d love to taste it.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  2. nadege
    Posted February 3, 2013 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    It is sad that Philippe and Um Elias’s knowledge will be lost. It makes perfect sense to make coffee from roots, seeds or nuts in time of needs. Life has been hard and challenging for them but also very rewarding.

  3. Posted February 3, 2013 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    This is impressive. Never for a moment would I have thought acorn coffee. The acorn coffee reflects a deeper symbolic meaning…. the strong survival of making it work. I love it!

    Velva

  4. Posted February 3, 2013 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    What a beautiful narrative! I’ve, of course, not heard of acorn coffee, but I admire how the sustainable purpose of using what nature freely provides for our use.

  5. Philip
    Posted February 3, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    There is an excellent coffee made with pine-nuts produced by the New Mexico Pinon Coffee Co., available at Trader Joe’s.

  6. Joumana
    Posted February 3, 2013 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    @Philip: Thanks for the info, would love to check it out, love Trader’s Joe’s (too bad it does not exist in Dallas)

  7. Posted February 3, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much for sharing this!

  8. Posted February 3, 2013 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    Definitely not something that I would normally come across!

  9. usha
    Posted February 4, 2013 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Thank you Joumana for this beautiful narrative. Real life stories of struggle and triumph serve to rmind us not to take life and comforts for granted.
    I vaguely remember reading about acorn coffee long ago but cannot for the life of me recollect where or when. I think this was a mention in a story revolving around WW2.

  10. Posted February 4, 2013 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    The acorns must smell great as they roast. I’d love to taste this coffee! And, how lovely of you to pass on Saide’s story.

  11. Posted February 4, 2013 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    These stories always makes me be grateful for my country, for never be in such need… I don’t think their knowledge will be lost, here we are talking about it… These are achievements of the soul and belongs to humanity. I’m very touched by this story and pray for better days and peace to all our brothers and sisters in the Middle East.

  12. Posted February 4, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    You have been awarded the Liebster Award by the Taste-Buds. Check it out here: http://thetastebudz.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=2252&action=edit&message=6&postpost=v2

  13. Posted February 4, 2013 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

    It makes me feel thankful for my morning coffee. I’ve never had any other kind of coffee, other than chickory coffee in New Orleans. You have to commend people for their creativity in times of need!

  14. Joumana
    Posted February 4, 2013 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

    @Viviane: Thanks so much for the honor; unfortunately, I am over extended these days (more info on that later) and am unable to pass it on or devote the time to research the future recipients.

    @Paula: Thank you are as my grandmother would say, we need to count our blessings.

  15. Joumana
    Posted February 4, 2013 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

    @Susan: I vaguely rememember that chicory was a coffee used during WWII when real coffee was not available. ? I need to research this!

  16. Posted February 5, 2013 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    De voir que c’est si facile ça nous mets les ” glandes “….

  17. Posted February 6, 2013 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Joumana, I wonder what variety of oak this nut is from. It’s lovely. You know me, always looking for new exotic plants to plant. You have to be a little careful with natural tannins in the acorn when preparing or says this site: http://honest-food.net/2010/01/14/acorn-pasta-and-the-mechanics-of-eating-acorns/

  18. Posted February 27, 2013 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    WOW I need to try this. I am a huge fan of coffee.

  19. Rick Brdley
    Posted May 16, 2013 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    I believe I will try this when the next batch of acorns is ready in town.! Thanks for the information. You can also soak the acorns in water for several hours to remove much of the tannic acid and grind them down into a useable flour.

  20. Posted August 7, 2013 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    Nice to be here people, I am a zombie enthusiast.

    I don’t usually write posts but I ended up looking over this write-up and so I really enjoyed reading it. It offers a few really nice insights that I can digest. I have to express, I’ve been unhappy
    these days since my brother is not around. Checking the web gives me just a
    little piece of mind though. I’d personally like to say thanks to you for the tremendous web-based blog which helps pass on the news in regard to zombies even more! I was thinking about if you currently have rss list so I can remember to keep up-dated here.

  21. Posted August 22, 2013 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    I do not know why, but I always thought that acorn coffee was more complicated than it really is…
    I have made acorn flour several times before & if I had a choice, I’d rather use the acorn flour over the wheat flour. I guess I’m just weird that way. LOL

    Thank you for posting this Ma’am.

    بارك الله فيكم وتبقى لكم على مقربة منه لجميع من أيامك.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>