Go Ahead Honey It’s Gluten Free: Indigenous Food Gluten-Free Acorn Muffin Recipe

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.”

For my first experiment, I wanted to test the flavor and texture of the new ingredient, so I didn’t want to make something JUST made of that ingredient, but something in which it would play a subtle role as a flavor and texture enhancer. I found inspiration from this list of acorn recipes and then branched off from the Acorn cornbread recipe to create the following yummy muffins. Note to the wise: I used acorn starch, not acorn flour as the latter was not available to me, but it worked beautifully. My resulting muffins were fluffy, light and delicate, with a pleasing brown bread appearance and flavor. I did notice that when I baked them lightly, they were prone to sticking to the bottom of the muffin tin. This might be a perfect recipe for paper muffin liners. These are absolutely lovely muffins for fall…. and I’ll definitely be making them again. *Edited: By the way, they are perfect the first day, and after that I like to zap them in the microwave for 20 seconds and enjoy them with butter or margarine. Delicious! They should last 4-5 days if stored properly*

What else can you do with Acorn Starch? Try this…
Korean Acorn Jelly Recipe

Find a Korean supermarket in the United States

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.

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11 Responses to “Go Ahead Honey It’s Gluten Free: Indigenous Food Gluten-Free Acorn Muffin Recipe”

  1. Do you know of any on-line retailers selling acorn flour? Initial Google search yields no stores, but LOTS of tutorials on making your own acorn flour. Please let us know where we might be able to buy some, on-line, if you know. Thanks!!!

  2. Thanks Sea- these look great. Way to go!

  3. Hi Jenny, I looked online and found a list of US Korean markets and one place (hmart) where you can buy the acorn starch (different than flour, as far as I know). I added this info to the post. It is pretty expensive online, though. If I find sources later I’ll add them. Hope this helps!

    Hi Vittoria, You are very welcome. Thanks for your patience! :)

  4. I’ve never seen acorn flour. I’m totally intrigued!

  5. Wow. I am impressed. Good job on the research and really finding something indigenous. They look really good too!


  6. [...] week I posted an Acorn Muffin Recipe for the Go Ahead Honey, it’s Gluten Free blog event. I also posted an incredibly delicious [...]

  7. Fascinating! I have been talking about making acorn flour and even looked up some methods as we always have an insane number of acorns in our yard thanks to oaks my grandmother planted 50 years ago… Now I have to do it with this recipe in hand! Thanks!

  8. Fantastic, these look so fluffy and nutty. They remind me of chestnut flour muffins.

    Isn’t it amazing the foods which we have so totally absorbed into our cultures that we forget where they originally came from? I had the opposite revelation when I found that my most favourite niche middle eastern ingredient – rosewater, was also sprinkled liberally over the gentrified dishes of the English middle ages. Get in!

    A lovely post, thank you.

    x x x

  9. We actually harvest our own acorns here and make our own flour. It takes about a full day to boil the tannin out, and we save the tannin for astringent use over the winter. We then use our Ronco Food Dehydrator (one of the best kitchen tools I ever bought)to dry the flour and freeze the finished product in plastic bags. I just pulled out one of last year’s batch after 1 year in the freezer and it still cooks up fine.

  10. For those in or near Los Angeles, I found acorn starch today in Koreatown. There is a market called the California Market on the corner of Western and 5th street near Wilshire. I was not able to find acorn flour, but I am going to make this recipe with the starch and hope for the best!
    Thanks for the suggestions! It worked!

  11. oh and they were reasonably priced at $5.39

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