This month when I read about the exciting “indigenous foods” event that Vittoria at Deliciously Gluten Free had proposed with “Go Ahead Honey… It’s Gluten Free,” I was excited to participate. I even had an idea what I wanted to make- artichokes! After all, California is the national capital of artichokes, with more grown in Castroville than anywhere else in the United States. Imagine my dismay some time later, when I found out that artichokes are not native to California at all. In fact, they are believed to be “a native of the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands.” The California attempt at cultivating artichokes began in 1922, when “Andrew Molera, a landowner in the Salinas Valley of Monterey County, California, just south of San Francisco, decided to lease his land to Italian farmers that he encouraged to try growing the “new” vegetable.” (source: What’s Cooking America). So much for my idea to make artichokes as an “indigenous food.” What next? I turned to the internet to find out what actually qualified as an indigenous, gluten-free, and vegetarian ingredient. I almost immediately found that besides nuts and berries, acorn was one of the most important vegetarian and gluten-free ingredient for many Californian Native Americans.
According to my friend Wikipedia:
“Acorns were a traditional food of many indigenous peoples of North America, but served an especially important role in California, where the ranges of several species of oaks overlap, increasing the reliability of the resource. Acorns, unlike many other plant foods, do not need to be eaten or processed right away, but may be stored for long time periods, as squirrels do. In years that oaks produced many acorns, Native Americans sometimes collected enough acorns to store for two years as insurance against poor acorn production years. After drying them in the sun to discourage mold and germination, Native American women took acorns back to their villages and cached them in hollow trees or structures on poles, to keep acorns safe from mice and squirrels. These acorns could be used as needed.”
What else can you do with Acorn Starch? Try this…
Korean Acorn Jelly Recipe
Although the price is high, you can buy acorn starch online at Hmart. However, I found it in my store for almost half the listed price here, so I really recommend finding a market or having a friend find a local market and mail the flour to you. *For the Hmart site, click the English button in the upper right of the page, unless of course you read Korean. :) *
Acorn Muffin Recipe
1/2 cup acorn starch flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1 cup white GF flour blend (such as Bette Hagman’s gourmet blend)
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup buttermilk
Prepare a muffin tin by spraying with nonstick cooking oil. Preheat oven to 375.
Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl. Then combine wet ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk until combined. Then make a well in the center of your mixed dry ingredients and pour in your wet ingredients, mixing until smooth.
Bake for 20-30 minutes or until muffins are brown and cooked through.