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Cooking With Acorns

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It is important that I communicate how important leaching out the tannins is. Even if a recipe does not have the process posted ALL these recipes are with leached acorns. If you eat too much tannic acid you will die. Hogs fed too many acorns are no good because their meat will be bitter. Horses fed too many acorns will die.

If ingested in excessive quantities, tannins inhibit the absorption of minerals such as iron which may, if prolonged, lead to anemia.[30] This is because tannins are metal ion chelators, and tannin-chelated metal ions are not bioavailable. This may not be bad for someone with an infection, as iron is mopped up by the immune system to keep microorganisms from properly multiplying.[citation needed] Tannins have been shown to precipitate proteins,[2] which inhibits in some ruminant animals the absorption of nutrients from high-tannin grains such as sorghum. Tannins only reduce the bioavailability of plant sources of iron, also known as non-heme. Animal sources, or heme iron absorption will not be affected by tannins. Tannic acid does not affect absorption of other trace minerals such as zinc, copper, and manganese in rats.[31]

Tannins are phenolic compounds and interfere with iron absorption through a complex formation with iron when it is in the gastrointestinal lumen which decreases the bioavailability of iron. There is an important difference in the way in which the phenolic compounds interact with different hydroxylation patterns (gallic acid, catechin, chlorogenic acid) and the effect on iron absorption. The content of the iron-binding galloyl groups may be the major determinant of the inhibitory effect of phenolic compounds. However, condensed tannins do not interfere with iron absorption.[30]

In order to prevent these problems, it is advised to drink tea and coffee between meals, not during. Foods rich in vitamin C help neutralize tannin's effects on iron absorption. Adding lemon juice to tea will reduce the negative effect of tannins in iron absorption as well. Adding milk to coffee and tea has very little to no influence on the inhibitory effect of tannins.[32]

In sensitive individuals, a large intake of tannins may cause bowel irritation, kidney irritation, liver damage, irritation of the stomach and gastrointestinal pain. With the exception of tea, long-term and/or excessive use of herbs containing high concentrations of tannins is not recommended. A correlation has been made between esophogeal or nasal cancer in humans and regular consumption of certain herbs with high tannin concentrations.[33]

Many plants employ tannins to deter animals. It has not been determined whether tannin was produced for another purpose, e.g. as pesticide, or whether it evolved specifically for the purpose of inhibiting predation.[34] Animals that consume excessive amounts of these plants fall ill or die. Acorns are a well known problem in cattle breeding. The lethal dose is said to be around 6% of the animal's body weight. This is only an approximate figure since acorns from Red Oak were shown to contain on average 1.5% more tannins than those from White Oak[35]. Some deer and moose were found to have perished due to ingesting acorns. Symptoms include ataxia and shortness of breath. Some animals, like squirrels and mule deer have or have developed the ability to consume high concentrations of tannins without ill effects. Humans would usually find the bitter taste of foods containing high amounts of tannins unpalatable. (Some humans were found to be unable to taste bitter foods.) Tannins are leeched from acorns before they are used for human consumption.[citation needed

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Benefits of eating acorns and nutritional analysis:

One tall mature oak tree can produce almost one-thousand pounds of acorns in one growing season during normal weather conditions. Acorns have a low sugar content and therefore help control blood sugar levels. They have a sweet nutty aftertaste. Acorn meal may be used in bread and stew recipes, substituting acorn meal for approximately one-fourth of the flour. Since acorns contain natural sweetness, reduce any other sweeteners in the recipe by one-fourth. Acorn grits can be used in place of nuts in cookie, brownie, and bread recipes. Acorns are a reliable source of carbohydrates, protein, 6 vitamins, 8 minerals, and 18 amino acids, and they are lower in fat than most other nuts. One handful of acorns is equivalent in nutrition to a pound of fresh hamburger.

Nutritional Information About Acorns Acorn Nutmeats, Shelled, Dried
Actual Lab Analysis Results Vary for Different Acorn Varieties
and from One Growing Season to the Next

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 1 ounce (28.4 g)
Minimum and Maximum Values Shown Below

CategoryAmount% RDV Calories109.7 to 144.57 % Calories from Fat60.9 to 80.3
Total Fat6.8 to 8.9 g14 % Saturated Fat0.9 to 1.2 g45 % Polyunsaturated Fat1.3 to 1.7 g
Monounsaturated Fat4.3 to 5.7 g
Cholesterol0.0 mg0 % Total Carbohydrate11.5 to 15.2 g5 % Protein1.7 to 2.3 g5 % Vitamins
Vitamin A11.06 to 11.14 IULess 1% B1, Thiamin0.03 to 0.042 mg3 % B2, Riboflavin0.03 to 0.044 mg3 % B3, Niacin0.52 to 0.68 mg3 % B5, Pantothenic Acid0.20 to 0.27 mg3% Vitamin B60.15 to 0.20 mg10% Vitamin B120.0 mcg0 % Vitamin C0.0 mcg0 % Vitamin D0.0 mcg0 % Vitamin E0.0 mcg0 % Minerals
Calcium, Ca11.62 to 15.34 mg2 % Copper, Cu0.18 to 0.23 mg12 % Iron, Fe0.22 to 0.29 mg2 % Magnesium, Mg17.58 to 23.29 mg6 % Manganese, Mn 0.38 to 0.39 mg10 % Phosphorus, P22.40 to 29.25 mg3 % Potassium, K152.81 to 201.36 mg10% Sodium, Na0.0 mg0 % Zinc, Zn0.15 to 0.19 mg1 % Amino Acids
Alanine0.100 to 0.131 g Arginine 0.135 to 0.177 g Aspartic Acid0.181 to 0.238 g Cystine0.031 to 0.041 g Glutamic Acid0.282 to 0.369 g Glycine0.081 to 0.107 g Histidine0.049 to 0.064 g Isoleucine0.081 to 0.107 g Leucine0.140 to 0.183 g Lysine0.110 to 0.143 g Methionine0.029 to 0.039 g Phenylalanine0.077 to 0.101 g Proline0.070 to 0.092 g Serine0.075 to 0.098 g Tryptophan0.021 to 0.028 g Threonine0.067 to 0.089 g Tyrosine0.053 to 0.070 g Valine0.099 to 0.129 g Other
Ash0.386 to 0.506 mg Folate, DFE24.66 to 32.66 mcg

-Acorns have been tested and found to be possibly the best food for effectively controlling blood sugar levels. They have a low sugar content, but leave a sweetish aftertaste, making them very good in stews, as well as in breads of all types.

-Acorns are gluten free

-Hunters know a great place to bag deer is under the oak tree where they are eating tasty acorns

-The water used to leach out tannic acid from acorns is highly effective as a wash on poison oak or poison ivy

- The factors that made acorns a major food source in California in the past make them attractive candidates for greater use in the future. They often ripen all at once and are easy to collect. They store well and were kept by the native Californians for several years in simple storage bins (Merriam, 1918). They are simple to prepare, even for the varieties that need to be leached. Although most species are bland, as are corn and wheat; some have good flavor and could be used in place of other nuts.

The yield of acorns per acre compares well with grains. When the long-lived, deep-rooted oaks can reach sufficient water; acorn production can be very high, with yields of more than 5,280 kg/ha (6,000 pounds/ acre) (Bainbridge, 1986). High acorn yields can be maintained on hilly lands where annual grain crops cause severe soil erosion (Bainbridge, 1987a).-



Water 8.7 - 44.6

Protein 2.3 - 8.6

Fat 1.1 - 31.3

Carbohydrate* 32.7 - 89.7

Tannin 0.1 - 8.8

KCAL/100 gms 265 - 577

KCAL/lb 1200 - 2600

* or N free extract

(Bainbridge, 1985a).


Species Water Protein Fat Carbohydrate Tannin

Q. agrifolia1 9.0 6.26 16.75 54.57 --

Q. chrysolepis1 9.0 4.13 8.65 63.52 --

Q. douglasii1 9.0 5.48 8.09 65.50 --

Q. douglasii2 40.75 3.03 4.77 43.39 3.61

Q. dumosa2 44.58 2.29 3.42 40.65 5.15

Q. kellogii1 9.0 4.56 17.97 55.48 --

Q. kellogii2 37.6 3.43 11.05 32.71 1.81

Q. garryanna1 9.0 3.94 4.47 68.87 --

Q. lobata1 9.0 4.90 5.54 69.02 --

Q. lobata2 40.57 2.82 4.25 43.44 3.85

Q. wislizneii2 29.80 3.08 14.47 40.40 4.60


densiflora3 36.00 2.06 8.50 38.29 --

Indian corn4 12.5 9.2 1.9 74.4 --

Wheat4 11.5 11.40 1.00 75.4 --

1Wolf (1945), 2Wagnon(1945), 3Heizer and Elsasser (1980), 4Wagnon (1946)

X-ray diffraction showed that the structure of acorn starch from Q. mongolica and Q. crispula fell between that of corn and potatoes. Acorn starch had limited gelatinization at 61-68oC, with gelatinization of Q. crispula lowest and Q. mongolica highest (Kim and Lee, 1976). The

amylose content of acorn starch was 27.1 percent, blue value 0.43 and Aldehyde number 1103 (Chung et al., 1975). Acorns are also good sources of some vitamins, with 5 - 54.8 mg of Vitamin C per 100 gm of raw acorn (Djordjevic, 1954; Minieri, 1954). This compares favorably with the Negev lemon, with 58.1 mg per 100 g. Acorns are also an excellent source of Vitamin A, with 180 IU per gm in Q. phellos (King and Titus, 1943). Twenty-seven grams, or less than tenth of pound of acorns, would meet the suggested daily requirement of 5,000 IU for vitamin A. This may prove of great benefit in areas of the world where vitamin A deficiency is common among the poor. Thorough testing of a full range of oak species and oak processing methods may well discover other species with even higher levels of these and other vitamins and trace elements.

Acorns include many essential amino acids, Table 3. (Luk'yanets, 1978; Videl and Varela, 1969). Testing is needed to establish the amino acid content of the California species. Minor deficiencies can probably be rectified with complementary legumes, fish, or meats. When acorns are cooked with ash, to neutralize bitterness, the acorn foods should also be a good source of calcium. Cooking with ash may also make more niacin available if the tests Ruttle (1976), conducted on corn are replicable for acorns. Acorns also supply many trace elements. It is not at all surprising that acorn-based cultures prospered for thousands of years with this excellent food base.



Glycine 0.98 - 1.37

Alanine 1.02 - 1.57

Valine 0.97 - 1.22

Leucine 1.69 - 2.08

Isoleucine 0.63 - 0.72

Serine 0.94 - 1.23

Threonine 0.87 - 1.13

Methionine 0.26 - 0.31

Phenylalanine 0.90 - 1.09

Tyrosine 0.68 - 0.99

Lysine 1.19 - 1.51

Arginine 1.48 - 2.25

Histidine 0.71 - 1.05

Proline 1.41 - 1.58

Aspartic acid 2.75 - 3.66

Glutamic acid 3.10 - 4.33

(Luk'yanets, 1978).


The acorns from many species of oaks are edible raw, just as they are harvested. Sweet acorns have been reported for Quercus gambelii, Q. mongolica., Q. emoryi, Q. dumosa, Q. vaccinifolia, Q. stellata, Q. virginiana, Q. garryana, Q agrifolia Q. macrocarpa, Q. lobata, Q. pumila, Q. muehlenbergii, Q. alba, Q. michauxii, Q. brandeegei, Q. gramuntia, Q. E'sculus, Q. aegilops, and Q. ilex var ballota (Bainbridge and Asmus, 1986; Bainbridge, 1984; Coyle and Roberts, 1975; Loudon, 1844; Bohrer, 1972; Chestnut, 1974; Brandis, 1972; Hedrick, 1919; Michaux, 1810; Ofcarcik et al., 1971; Smith, 1950; Fray, 1986). Undoubtedly, other species and varieties are equally sweet and more flavorful.

A careful worldwide search for good cultivars is long overdue because there is hope of finding sweet acorns even in those species normally considered bitter. Some of these include the best tasting acorns, with cashew and chocolate overtones.

The bitter taste and toxicity to horses is caused by the high levels of tannins, which vary by oak species. These polyphenols have documented anti-carcinogenic, anti-oxidant and anti-microbial properties (review) as well as being nutrient rich. Sounds like it might be worth patenting an acorn extract and selling it as a miracle drug through some sort of pyramid scheme. On the other hand, they are also iron chelators and can interfere with protein digestion in animals that aren't adapted. Plus the overly bitter taste would likely make them unpopular as a snack. Still, acorns were once part of a human (mostly Native American) diet, first being soaked to leach out the tannins followed by grinding into flour.

Some animals that haven't physiologically adapted to tannin rich acorns have adapted in other ways. The most obvious is by selecting acorns that are less tannin-rich. It's been suggested that some animals store their acorn cache in groundwater or other places with water access, allowing the groundwater or natural runoff to leach some of the tannins out making the nut more edible as the winter progresses. One study has shown that Blue Jays, while unadapted to a high tannin diet, consume a large number of acorns in the autumn months with no ill effects because of acorn weevil larvae that live inside the nuts and counteract the effects of tannins on the jay diet.

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Collection Methods:

Gathering can either be done one at a time by bending over to pick them up or Sheets or plastic or cloth can be lain under trees to capture fallen nuts. Nuts must be gathered as soon as collected to protect them from vermin and insects. Only collect the nuts whose cap is still on. If the nut has lain on the ground long enough to lose it's cap it is either wormy or rotten.


Can either be done one by one or all the nuts can be dumped into a trough of water or big bucket. Bad nuts have too much air inside and will float. Skim them off the top and throw them away or use them in the compost pile.

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Grandpappy's Basic Acorn Recipes

Acorn Information, Identification, Processing, and Recipes

History of the Common Ordinary Acorn
The common, ordinary acorn is one of the ancient foods of mankind. The first mention of acorns for human consumption was by the Greeks over 2,000 years ago. Over the course of human history it has been estimated that people have eaten more acorns than both wheat and rice combined. The acorn has served as an important famine food for many centuries. Acorns may be eaten alone or in a wide variety of acorn recipes.

Native American Indian tribes all across North America, such as the Cherokee, Pima, and Apache, used acorns as one of their primary staple foods in the same way they used corn. American Indians understood the food value of the acorn and how to prepare it for human consumption. Some Indian tribes would bury their acorns in the mud for many days and then dig them up and dry them in the sun. Other Indian tribes would put their acorns inside a reed basket with a few heavy rocks and then put the basket in a fast moving stream for several days. Both of these methods removed the tannin in the acorns and made them fit for people to eat. There is now an easier, more scientific method and it will be described in detail as you continue to read.

Acorn Facts
One tall mature oak tree can produce almost one-thousand pounds of acorns in one growing season during normal weather conditions. Acorns have a low sugar content and therefore help control blood sugar levels. They have a sweet nutty aftertaste. Acorn meal may be used in bread and stew recipes, substituting acorn meal for approximately one-fourth of the flour. Since acorns contain natural sweetness, reduce any other sweeteners in the recipe by one-fourth. Acorn grits can be used in place of nuts in cookie, brownie, and bread recipes. Acorns are a reliable source of carbohydrates, protein, 6 vitamins, 8 minerals, and 18 amino acids, and they are lower in fat than most other nuts. One handful of acorns is equivalent in nutrition to a pound of fresh hamburger.

Oak Trees
White Oak: White oak trees live between 450 to 650 years (and longer). They can exceed 4 feet in diameter and 100 feet tall. The white oak is the most common species of oak tree. The leaf has a dark green glossy top side and a light green under side. The leaf lobe ends (edges) are rounded. White oak acorns mature in one growing season. Acorn production is heaviest approximately every third year. The inner shell of white oak acorns is smooth and the inner nutmeat is whitish in color. Split one of the inner nutmeats in half and you will see the whitish color. This is why the tree is called a white oak. White oak acorns are low in tannic acid and are naturally sweet and may be eaten with minimal processing. They are the best acorns for use in acorn recipes.

Red Oak: A red oak tree leaf has a glossy green top side and a fuzzy under side. The leaf lobe ends are very pointed. Red oak acorns require two years to mature. Red oak acorns have a hairy lining inside the shell and the nutmeat is yellowish in color. They are very high in tannic acid and therefore taste very bitter. Red oak acorns MUST be processed before eating. Generally red oak acorns are not harvested for human consumption except during serious famine conditions. (Caution: Excessive amounts of tannic acid can lead to kidney failure. Therefore, if you must consume red oak acorns, you should process them for the maximum amount of time.)

There are several other varieties of oak trees, but the white oak is the most common oak tree throughout the United States, followed by the red oak.

If all the oak trees in your area are exactly the same, then they will all produce acorns that taste the same. But if you have different varieties of oaks, you will have different varieties of acorns which will taste different. Therefore, when you harvest your acorns, keep the ones you collect under each oak tree in a separate bag or container by themselves until you do a taste test to determine if any have a more agreeable taste than the others. If so, note which tree(s) they came from, and focus your next year's collection efforts there. You MUST harvest your acorns VERY soon after they fall to the ground or the squirrels, deer, and other wildlife will eat them. If the acorns stay on the ground very long, they will become infested with insect larva, and they will also absorb ground moisture and begin to mold.

Acorn Collection
Collect your acorns every day from September through October as soon as possible after they have fallen off the oak tree onto the ground. They may be green, or green and tan, or brown. The green ones aren't fully ripe yet, but collect them also because they will ripen to a dark brown in a few more days. In my opinion, the green ones are better because they have just fallen off the tree and therefore they have had less time to absorb ground moisture or be attacked by insects. If you happen to notice that an acorn is defective when you pick it up, then toss it into the woods where there are no oak trees. Otherwise, there is a good chance you will be picking up that same acorn every day for many weeks to come.

After collecting all the acorns you can find each day, sit down and go through your new batch of acorns. Remove and discard the cap or crown of the acorn. Inspect the acorns (first inspection) and discard any that have an obvious defect, or signs of mold, or a tiny hole because it probably contains a worm. The acorns should feel firm between your fingers. Discard any that are soft. Edited by GirlNextDoor

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Acorn Storage
After drying your acorns, inspect them again (second inspection). The drying process helps to reveal cracks or insect holes you couldn't see when the acorns were still damp. Discard any acorns that don't have a good exterior shell, or process and use those acorns immediately. Acorns with a cracked outer shell will dry out quickly on the inside, and the nutmeat will be lost.

It is also possible that small flying insects may have laid eggs inside some of your acorns while they were drying in the sun, if they could find a convenient entrance to the nutmeat area, such as a crack or hole or other imperfection. Those eggs will hatch in a short time and you will be able to identify the bad acorns when they do (they will have a small hole in them).

If you discover tiny holes in your acorns after they have dried, then discard the bad acorns and place the acorns without any holes on a cookie sheet and dry them in a warm oven at 175ºF for 15 minutes with the oven door slightly cracked to let the moisture escape. The heat will kill any remaining insect larva inside the acorns.

Approximately one-week later, inspect your dried acorns for the third time and look for mold or worms or other major problems. Discard any acorns with mold (or process and use them immediately), or the mold will soon spread throughout your entire batch.

Approximately one-week later, inspect your dried acorns for the fourth time. Remove and discard any defective or moldy acorns (or process and use them immediately).

If you discover mold on your acorns at this point, then they were not thoroughly dry at the beginning. If the mold is not severe, then place the batch of acorns on a cookie sheet and dry them in a warm oven at 175ºF for 15 minutes with the oven door slightly cracked to let the moisture escape and to kill the mold.

You may now store your thoroughly inspected, dried acorns in a cool, dry place until you need them. Store your acorns in several different containers. (Note: Ziplock freezer bags work extremely well for storing acorns.) If the acorns in one container become unusable, your other acorns should still be okay. Properly dried and stored, acorns still in their original shell will remain edible for several months.

As time passes, the inner acorn nutmeat gradually dries out and loses most of its flavor and it becomes too hard too chew. Therefore you should process and eat your acorns as soon as practical after collecting them. The longer they are stored, they more they will continue to dry out and become unfit for human consumption. Even under the best storage conditions at room temperature, most acorns will not be edible after six-months of storage.

If you have freezer storage space available, then you may remove the acorn nutmeats from their exterior shell and freeze only the nutmeats inside a ziplock freezer bag. This will help to preserve the moisture content of the nutmeats and significantly extend their shelf life and flavor.

Drying should be done next:

Place on a baking tray and leave in the oven 5 hours or so or put on screen drying trays one acorn deep and leave in the sun for a couple of days. If you have a window you can leave them in they will dry without having to worry about insects. In a car is a good place if you live in the Southern United States. Do NOT leave the nuts outside at night because animals will steal them and they will get condensation on them defeating the purpose of leaving them outside.

Acorn Drying Methods
Spread the good acorns you collect each day onto a tray, board, or screen. You can then dry the acorns using any one of following three methods:

1. house drying at normal room temperatures, or
2. the sun, or
3. a conventional oven.

- - - - - - -

House Drying at Normal Room Temperatures: Allow the acorns to dry gradually inside your home at normal room temperatures. The acorns should only be one layer thick on the drying trays. If the acorns are relatively green, this drying method normally takes between two to four weeks.

The advantages of room temperature drying are:
1. The inner acorn nutmeat retains most of its original moisture which adds to its flavor and chewability.
2. If your home is free of flying insects, then you will not loose any more acorns to insect larva.

The disadvantages of room temperature drying are:
1. It can take as long as four weeks to properly dry the acorns.
2. Each day you will need MORE house space to dry additional acorns.
3. Periodically you will have to inspect your acorns for tiny worms.
4. Future acorn nutmeat mold problems are more likely to occur.

- - - - - - -

Sun Drying: Place the tray of acorns in direct sunlight for two to five consecutive days, depending on how "green" your acorns are when you collect them. Bring all your acorns inside each night. Drying in the sun is the traditional method. If the sky is partly cloudy or overcast, then you may need to dry your acorns for more than five days in the sun. (Note: If your acorns are not completely dry, they will soon be covered with mold and you will have to throw them away. Any acorns that are still partially green after a few days of drying should be separated from the rest of the acorns. Continue drying any partially green acorns until they turn completely brown.)

The advantages of sun drying are:
1. It helps to kill insect larva, and
2. It helps to reduce future mold problems.

The disadvantages of sun drying are:
1. Flying insects will lay eggs in some of the acorns and they will have to be thrown away.
2. The inner nutmeat looses some of its moisture and flavor.
3. The shelf life of the nutmeat is between four to six months.

If you have windows facing the sun, then you can place your tray of acorns in the sun inside your house and eliminate the flying insect problem above.

- - - - - - -

Oven Drying: Place the tray of acorns in a warm oven (175ºF) for about 20 minutes with the oven door slightly cracked to let the moisture escape.

The advantages of oven drying are:
1. Drying can be done very quickly.
2. It effectively kills all insect larva.
3. It eliminates future mold problems.

The disadvantages of oven drying are:
1. The inner nutmeat looses most of its moisture and flavor and it becomes very hard to chew.
2. The shelf life of the nutmeat is only two or three months.

- - - - - - -

Of the above three different drying methods, I now prefer sun drying inside my home in front of a window that faces the sun. Edited by GirlNextDoor

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Acorn Preparation
Acorns must be processed before they can be used in acorn recipes.

Do NOT remove your acorn nutmeats from their protective outer shell until you are ready to process and eat them. The inner acorn nutmeat kernels will dry up and shrivel after a few days of exposure to the air.

At the top of the picture on the right there are several acorn nutmeat kernels after they have been removed from their shell.
At the bottom of the picture on the right there are several acorn nutmeats which have been split in half. The inner white nutmeat gradually darkens and begins to dry out the longer it is exposed to the air.

First crack the thin outer shell of the acorn. It will crack easily with an ordinary nut cracker, or pliers, or by squeezing firmly with your thumb and forefinger. Only crack the shell. Peel off the shell and save the inner nutmeat kernel for future processing. Sometimes you will split the inner acorn nutmeat in half as you crack the outer shell. That is okay. You may taste one acorn nutmeat kernel from each batch of acorns to determine if one of your local trees produces sweeter acorns than the other trees. After chewing and tasting, you should spit it out.

Our bodies are all different and we can not all eat the same foods as everyone else. For example, some people are allergic to milk and milk products. It is always a good idea to eat a very small amount of any new food that you have never eaten before to determine whether or not your body will have an adverse reaction to it. Therefore, if you have never eaten acorn nutmeats before, then you should only eat ONE and see how your body reacts. If you are allergic to other nuts, then you will probably not be able to eat acorn nutmeats. And you should NOT eat and swallow an acorn nutmeat until AFTER you have removed the tannic acid from the acorn nutmeats.

Whole Nutmeat Kernels
If your original taste test of the raw unprocessed acorn nutmeats revealed little or no noticeable bitterness, then you may process your nutmeats as whole kernels. This preserves the appearance of the nut and it is useful because some recipes specify whole nuts. It also makes eating the nuts as a snack much easier.

Ground Nutmeats
If your original taste test of the raw unprocessed acorn nutmeats revealed an unpleasant degree of bitterness, then grinding the nutmeats is necessary because it allows the tannic acid to be removed with minimum boiling or flushing. Begin with whole acorn nutmeat kernels (without the cap and without the shell). Crush or grind the acorn nutmeats into smaller pieces or into a coarse meal using a hand grinder, or a flat rock, or a blender. If you use a blender, then add a little water to make a liquid mush.

Boiling Method
(May be used with whole nutmeat kernels or ground nutmeats.)
Fill two pots with clean fresh water. Each pot should contain enough water to completely cover the acorn nutmeats (but don't add the nutmeats yet). Turn on the heat to the first pot of water. Taste one of the unprocessed nutmeats to determine the degree of bitterness it contains before boiling.

Note: Add pickling or canning salt to the final pot of boiling water before adding the nutmeats. The salt enhances the flavor of the nutmeats and it also increases their storage life.

Note: It is NOT uncommon for many white oak acorns to contain little or no noticeable bitterness. However, we are not all gifted with the same degree of sensitivity in our taste buds. What may taste pleasant to you may taste slightly bitter to someone else. And regardless of how they taste, all acorns contain some tannic acid. Therefore, you should boil all acorn nutmeats at least ONE time. But you may stop after one boiling if your original taste test revealed little or no bitterness in the original unprocessed acorn nutmeats. If you are only going to boil one time you will not need the second pot and you should add the salt to the first pot of boiling water BEFORE you add the nutmeats.

Must not be done until you are ready to eat the nuts. Whole nuts that are shelled go rancid very quickly, or dry out and get chewy and bitter. Can be done with a nut cracker, small hammer or a couple of big rocks or bricks I opt for a nut cracker.

Traditional Native American women use a stone bowl and a large, round stone to grind the nut meats into course flour about the consistency of corn meal or grits. Modern day gatherers use a mortar and pestle or a food processor with a very fine blade or a hand cranked meat grinder.
I opt for the meat grinder. Nut meats can be sliced or left whole but, take longer to leach. Edited by GirlNextDoor

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Note 1: If you switch the nutmeats from boiling water into cool water and then bring the water to a boil, you will lock in the bitterness and you won't be able to get it out.
Note 2: Do NOT let wet nutmeats sit for hours between boilings. The nutmeats will mold if you do.

Cold Water Flushing Method
(May be used with whole nutmeat kernels or ground nutmeats.)
Put the acorn nutmeats inside a clean pillowcase and leech in cold running water (faucet or stream) for several hours until the bitter taste is gone. Periodically squeeze as much water out of the pillowcase and acorn nutmeats as you can without damaging the nutmeats. Then continue rinsing. When the nutmeats no longer taste bitter, you can stop rinsing. Then dry the nutmeats following the drying instructions below.
Native Americans sometimes leave the unshelled nuts in a cloth bag weighted with rocks in a stream for a week or so, then give one nut a taste test.
Put in large buckets or tubs and cover with water for about a week, changing out the water for fresh twice daily. This method is useful for if you are home and want to do other things but, can check on the nuts a couple of times per day.

Nut meats must be added to ALREADY BOILING water and boiled 15-30 minutes. Pour off water and add to a second pot of ALREADY BOILING water. Boil 15-30 minutes. Pour off and add to a third pot of already boiling water. Boil 15-30 minutes. Taste a nut meat. If it is still too bitter spit it out in the trash. Drain nut meats and add to a fourth pot of boiling water. Boil 15-30 minutes. Three boilings are usually enough, but sometimes a fourth one is necessary, depending on the variety of oak.

The alternative method of leaching, which I personally use (as do most of the people I have spoken to about this subject) is to take my winnowing basket (or a broad-bottomed basket), place a clean, "white" UNBLEACHED cloth (like a tea towel used just for this purpose....which will never be white again) in the bottom of the basket, and then place your finely ground acorn meal on top of the cloth. Then I get a piece of cedar branch (new growth preferred and place it on top of the acorn meal and run water on it, VERY SLOWLY. I place my basket on top of a large cooking pot (so that I can save the tannin water) in such a way that when the pot fills up, my basket won't be sitting in the water, and the pot can overflow. I check on the leaching process periodically, so I can empty the soup kettle as it fills.

Since I am also a weaver and spinner, who does natural dying on occasion, a day or two before I know I'm going to be leaching acorn, I wash any uncolored wool fleece I may have on hand that I will want to dye later, or any white yarn I want to dye in the near future...IF I REMEMBER. Sometimes I don't plan ahead. Anyway, as the acorn leaching pot fills, I will pour this tannin-filled water into the washing machine, where I later place up to 3 or 4 lbs of clean white wool or yarn to soak up the tannic acid solution. When I am ready to dye the wool at a later date, the color will come out much more dramatically that it would if I had used "untreated fleece".

Another way I have heard of to leach acorn, which I have NEVER tried and probably never will, is to SCRUB the water tank on your toilet to remove any algae, and use this "sanitary" part of your toilet to leach your acorn meal. It makes sense to use water that otherwise is wasted but it doesn't seem like a very aesthetic topic of conversation for a public gathering ... I can hear it now: "Gee, this acorn mush isn't half bad .... you must have leached it really thoroughly." "Why yes I do; I let it sit in a clean muslin bag in my toilet tank for a week or so..." Then watch your dinner guests put their food down, never to eat at your camp fire again. The girl that shared this bit of information with us had just remodeled her house, had a brand new toilet, and hence no green film in the tank, so she thought it was the perfect opportunity to try out a method she had heard of, or had a theory about. She also went on to say, that she was glad her new toilet was a pale brown color because the tannin discolored her the toilet bowl for quite some time....

Chinook Olives:The aboriginal people of the Columbia River valley used urine to cure acorns. The settlers of European origin in that region gave the dish the name Chinook Olives. About a bushel of acorns were placed in a hole dug near the entrance of a house. The acorns were then covered with a thin layer of grass and then 6” of earth. Every member of the family regarded this hole as the special place of deposit for his urine, which was on no occasion to be diverted from this legitimate receptacle. In this hole the acorns are allowed to remain four or five months before they are considered fit for use...
the product is regarded by them as the greatest of all delicacies.

Native Americans also sweetened bitter acorns with iron rich red earth, wood ashes, and other ingredients to neutralize the acids.

One native practice was to bury the acorns with grass, ashes, and charcoal in a sandy place or swamp and return the following year
Some Native Americans stored acorns for several years in bags buried in boggy areas, often near cold springs,
where they became swollen and softened and turned nearly black in color, but remained fresh for years.

White men plowing have opened up caches of acorns that had lain in these cold, boggy places for fully 30 years, and found them black, but still good.

Here are direction for using lye (NAoH or KOH) to leach out tannins:

Leaching Acorns with Lye Solution
By Sam Price

I also process acorns with an alkali solution, much as grits are made. I have used lye with great success with red oak acorns but have not yet tried lime or using white oak acorns. You did not misread that; I use lye, the same stuff that comes in a can with a skull and crossbones and is used as a drain cleaner, to process acorns. Lye (NaOH and/or KOH) was traditionally used for this purpose by Native Americans and Japanese, and probably in most places where acorns were eaten. This chemical has a long history of use in the processing of many foods, including hominy, grits, olives, and lutefisk. Like fire, it can be harmful when misused, but when a few simple precautions are heeded it need not cause fear.

For processing acorns with lye I use coarsely ground meal, with particles about the size of couscous. First, I soak the meal in cold water, draining off the water and changing it several times over the course of a day as with cold leaching. This gets rid of most of the tannin. I’ll take about a quart of acorns in a half-gallon of cold water in a gallon glass jar and then add about a teaspoon of granulated lye. I stir in the lye and then let the meal soak overnight. The
lye will neutralize the remaining tannin and turn the water black.

I place cheesecloth over the mouth of the jar and attach it with a rubber band. This allows me to pour water out of or into the jar without losing any acorn meal. Then, I pour out the inky water, and pour in new water, rinsing repeatedly until the water is clear. I let the acorns soak in clear water for a day or two, changing the water a few times just to be safe before tasting the acorn meal. Using more lye in the beginning will soften the acorns considerably and turn them to a cream or yellow color.

Lye is very caustic; it can destroy proteins and starches, turning them to mush. That includes your eyes, skin, mouth, and throat. Be careful not to splash lye-water on yourself; if you do, rinse it off thoroughly. Only mix lye with cold water. The good news about lye is that you can taste it; it is extremely bitter like soap. If your acorns are not bitter, there is no lye left in them. Taste them cautiously the first few times you make grits. Before you pronounce your batch of acorn grits finished, stir it thoroughly to get rid of any clumps, and then taste for bitterness. Err on the side of caution. The second thing to remember about lye is that it does not become a systemic poison; a trace of it in your food will turn into salt and water when it hits your stomach. (But your acorns will not contain lye if they are done properly.) The most important caution is this: keep acorns that contain lye during soaking out of the reach of children, and well labeled so some curious adult does not taste them.
Edited by GirlNextDoor

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California Indian Acorn Culture
California Indians continued to prepare and consume acorns in their traditional ways well into the 20th century, as documented and photographed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the agency responsible for administering the Federal Government's treaty and trust responsibilities towards Native Americans. The following captioned photographs show aspects of acorn storage and preparation as practiced by Mono and Chuckchansy Indians of Fresno and Madera Counties, California, in about 1923. The captions are reproduced below.

Citation: National Archives Record Group 75, Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Sacramento Area Office. Coded Records Relating to Programs and Administration, 1910-1958, Box 44, file "Survey of Fresno and Madera Counties, L. D. Creel, ca. 1920," NARA Pacific Region, San Francisco.

This shows the method of preserving the acorns from the weather and inroad of wild and domestic animals.

The acorn now supplies fifty per cent of the bread food of the Indians of Madera and Fresno Counties. Formerly it supplied all of the bread. This photo shows the method of preserving the acorns from the weather and inroad of wild and domestic animals. A wicker basket is woven loosely and placed on the platform above the ground high enough to keep larger animals out of reach. The baskets are filled with acorns in the early Autumn and the thatch is placed over each basket.

The supply is drawn out as needed from week to week. Enough acorns are husked, ground and made into mush sufficient to last a family for about ten days. The acorns of the black and white oak are valued the highest, although in times of scarcity those of the water oak and other oaks are used.

Old Indian woman preparing acorn meal.

Old Indian woman preparing acorn meal. The black oak acorn is much richer in fat than that of the white oak and these older Indians grind up the two varieties at the same time and blend the flour. They make a brush from the fiber of a plant called the soap weed which is used for three purposes. They use this brush to brush the flour out of these holes into the baskets and they also use them to wash the baskets after they are used in preparing the mush or soup. No household soap is used in cleansing the baskets. A bulb of the green soap weed is rubbed over the basket as we would use a cake of soap and followed up with this brush which makes a clean job. Also the basket is preserved from wear and tear.

Acorn caches of Mrs. Henry Towatt.

Acorn caches of Mrs. Henry Towatt. This cache was built on a platform in the branches of a tree following their old custom of building them very high up. Although the family is one of the most progressive of any I met, the acorn is a matter of regular diet. She told me that the regular Indian diet before the advent of the whites was acorn mush and meat. She gave me an Indian dinner of this mush and canned corn beef. The mush was very palatable and must be very nutritious.

Acorn cache of the Mono Indians.

Acorn cache of the Mono Indians. Note the acorns showing through the wicker work. From ten to fifteen bushels are sometimes stored in these granaries. Were it not for the acorns these Indians would have a hard time for bread food, as they do not understand how to combine the substitutes with white flour to make satisfactory bread. The food controller of Fresno county allowed the country storekeepers to produce the substitutes to [sic] Indians on account of their using acorns as substitutes for fifty per cent or more of their bread food.

Chuckachancy Indian woman preparing acorns for grinding.

This is [a] Chuckachancy [sic] Indian woman preparing acorns for grinding. Some of the acorns may be seen lying on the platform. Removing the hull of the acorn is a slow and difficult operation. The shell is sometimes cracked with a small stone and the hulls picked off but often they are moved by the teeth of the women. This woman was probably seventy-five or -eight years of age, yet she was removing the shells with her teeth which were absolutely perfect.

Baskets used in the preparation of mush and bread from the acorn.

Baskets used in the preparation of mush and bread from the acorn. These Indians are the most expert basket makers now living and their baskets demand high prices.

After the acorns are ground into meal a mound of white sand is built about eighteen inches in height for feet in diameter, flattened at the top and hollowed out. A cloth is spread over this, the acorn flour distributed evenly around and covered with small fir boughs. During this time a number of round stones have been heating in a nearby fire. Water is placed in one of the baskets and heated by these stones until moderately hot when the water is poured through these fir boughs onto the meal for the purpose of leaching out the bitter principle contained in the acorn.

As soon as this is thoroughly leached the meal is placed in another basket and it is filled with water and boiled by transferring these hot rocks to the basket and reheating them as fast as they are cooled by the mush. This is kept up until it is thoroughly cooked. Enough is cooked to last the family about a week or ten days. The mush is kept in a basket. From meal to meal a portion is dipped out into a smaller basket and reduced to a thin gruel or soup, which is eaten in smaller baskets.

Community Mill for grinding acorn meal.

Community Mill for grinding acorn meal. This is a large flat granite boulder upon which there are several holes which serve as mortars. The stones noted lying on this boulder and standing up in the holes are used as pestles. As it takes a great deal of time to reduce the acorns to fine meal or flour and all of the work must be done out of doors, a windbreak is built around the boulder from brush and a sort of wickiup is built over it to sheidl the women from the sun. If these Indian communities could have one or more of the small iron hand mills now upon the market, a great deal of labor would be saved.

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Let's start with drinks:

Acorn "Coffee"

Acorns contain a lot of tannin and need to be prepared to remove the excess before using. However, this tannin gives them a tea and coffe-like quality and they were much used to make drinks in the past. Traditionally the acorns would have been shelled and soaked in a river for several days to leach out the tannins before being roasted. But there's a way to cheat and it's the cheat method I present here.
1kg fresh, ripe, acorns

Add the acorns to a large pan along with plenty of water. Bring to a boil and continue boiling, uncovered for 15 minutes. Top-up the water as the acorns cook.

Drain in a colander, then allow to cool and peel. The boiling process will make peeling the acorns much easier. Split the acorns then set aside in a dry but warm spot for the acorns to dry out for 48 hours then grind in a coffee grinder (just as you would, coffee). Spread the grounds on a baking tray and roast in a warm oven, stirring frequently and checking often to ensure that they do not burn. You are aiming for the grounds to be a brown coffee colour.

To make a drink use a cafetiére and add 1 1/2 tsp per cup then pour water over the top and make the drink, just as you would coffee. Add milk and sugar to taste and serve. Don't expect anything that tastes remotely like coffee or tea. It's it's own kind of drink, but pleasant enough for all that.

Acorn milk for me is the liquid squeezed out of the acorn meal after leaching. I squeeze the cheesecloth and get this amazing brown liquid, that looks like soy milk and is similar in texture. I love the taste (all bitterness should have been leached out). To think I used to just pour this liquid out — now it’s my favorite part!
You can use it to make:

"They make a lovely, pale golden, Sauterne-type wine." The acorn is the seed of the oak tree (genus Quercus). Although known to have been an important food for native Americans, anyone who has tried to eat one without leaching it will regret the experiment tremendously. It is bitter to the extreme.

Because of the above, I have never gotten too excited about reports you can make wine from acorns. However, a recipe passed on by Dorothy Alatorre has caught my interest. It reportedly makes a full-bodied, Sauterne-type wine with pale golden color. Gather the acorns as they fall--before the squirrels and insects claim them.


* 1 cup chopped acorn meats
* 2-1/2 lbs granulated sugar
* 1-1/2 tsp acid blend
* 1/2 tsp pectic enzyme
* water to make up one gallon
* 1 tsp yeast nutrient
* Sauterne wine yeast

Shell and chop the acorn meats in a blender or food chopper. You need one cup of chopped acorn meats, not one cup of acorn meats chopped. You can use some of the water to aid in chopping them if necessary, although newly fallen acorns that are still slightly green are soft enough to chop without the water. Bring a quart of water to boil and add the chopped acorn meats. Adjust heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes. Put half the sugar in the primary and strain the acorn-water onto the sugar. Stir until thoroughly dissolved. Add remaining water to equal one gallon. When cooled to room temperature, add all igredients except yeast. Cover and set aside 12 hours. Add activated yeast, recover and ferment 5-7 days. Stir in remainder of the sugar until disolved and transfer to secondary. Fit airlock and ferment 30 days. Rack, top up and refit airlock every 60 days for 6 months. Stabilize, sweeten to taste, wait 10 days for dead yeast to fall out, and rack into bottles. May taste after 6 months. [Adapted from recipe by Nancy McCoy, as reported in Dorothy Alatorre's Home Wines of North America]

Edited by GirlNextDoor

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In a blender add:

2 cups chopped fresh pineapple

2 cups cold milk

1/2 cup leached, cooked and cold acorns*

1/4 cup honey

Blend and drink immediately. It’s wonderful.

Variations include substituting any kind of fruit or a

blend of several fruits.

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1-15 oz. can red kidney beans (or of course you can

cook up fresh beans)

1- hard-boiled egg

1/3 cup “light” mayonnaise

1/4 cup leached, cooked, cooled and strained acorns*

1 tsp. vinegar

Mash the egg with the mayonnaise, vinegar & acorns.

Drain beans, reserving liquid. Use the liquid if it’s

too dry. If desired add, chopped parsley, scallions or

diced red onion, salt & pepper. Surprisingly good!!

“The oaks are widely distributed over the

temperate parts of Europe, Asia, North Africa, and

North America. In the western hemisphere they range

along the Mexican highlands and the Andes far into

the tropics, while in the Old World the genus, well

represented in the Himalayas and the hills of China,

exists likewise in the peninsula of Malacca, in Java,

and in some other islands of the archipelago, several

species occurring in the Moluccas and Borneo. On

the mountains of Europe and North America they

grow only at moderate elevations, and none approach

the arctic circle. The multitude of species and the

many intermediate forms render their exact limitation

difficult, but those presenting sufficiently marked

characters to justify specific rank probably approach

300 in number.”

Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. XVII, 1884
Hear acorn jelly is used in traditional Korean recipes sort of as a substitute for tofu.

<h1 class="entry-title">Seasoned Acorn Jelly (Dotori Muk Muchim)</h1> February 8, 2007 Category: Side Dishes (Banchan), Vegetarian 25 Comments - Leave a comment!

When I was a child, I sometimes went hiking with my mom and we picked up some dropped acorns in the hills. I didn’t hike to the very top but on the way back the basket of my bicycle was full of acorns. At that time I didn’t know how they could be eaten by us, humans, because I always thought that they are for squirrels.

In my memory, I don’t think I liked the seasoned acorn jelly that much because of its bitter taste, but now I love it, it is like an adult appreciates good food more than a child. It has a slightly bitter taste from the acorn jelly and a slightly sweet and salty taste from the sauce, which I love, and this recipe is like that.

Hoping you can get the acorn jelly where you live, here is how the recipe goes.

Ingredients (enough to serve 6-8 people as a side dish) : 5 minutes to serve

* Acorn jelly (도토리묵) – 420 g
* 2-3 lettuce leaves
* 1 green chili (non spicy)

Sauce (mix these in a bowl)

* Soy sauce – 6 tbsp
* Dark brown sugar – 1 tbsp
* Sesame oil – 1 tbsp
* Finely chopped spring onion – 2 tbsp
* Parched sesame seed – 1 tbsp
* Chili powder – 2 tsp
* Minced garlic – 2 tsp


1. Slice the acorn jelly (1 cm -1.5 cm thickness).
2. Take the seeds out from the chili and thin slice it.
3. Thin slice the lettuce (thickness doesn’t really matter, but mine was close to 1 cm).

Method A) - Better presentation

1. Put the sliced acorn jelly on the plate.
2. Add the sliced chili on top.
3. Decorate the plate with the lettuce.
4. Spread the sauce on the top.
5. Serve it on the table.

Method cool.gif - My mom’s way (it may season the acorn jelly and lettuce better)

1. Put the lettuce, chili and acorn jelly in a mixing bowl.
2. Add the sauce and lightly mix it.
3. Serve it on the plate.

By the way, a pack of acorn jelly is more expensive than tofu (I thought it would be cheap). It was 3,000 won (US $3.20) for 420 g in Korea. I also bought a pack of acorn powder to make acorn jelly from scratch and it was 6,6oo won (US $6. 30). It was requested by one of my readers. I know I really need to make it soon but apparently it requires continuous stirring for nearly an hour without any break, so I gave up for then.

Don’t worry! beloved, I will definitely do it.
Dotorimuk (also spelled tot'orimuk) or acorn jelly is a Korean food which is a jelly made from acorn starch. Although "muk" means "jelly", when used without qualifiers, it usually refers to dotorimuk. The practice of making dotorimuk originated in mountainous areas of ancient Korea, when such regions were abundant with oak trees such that the amount of acorns produced each autumn were plentiful enough to become a source of food. Like other muk, dotorimuk is most commonly eaten in the form of dotorimuk muchim (도토리묵무침), a side dish in which small chunks of dotorimuk are seasoned and mixed with other ingredients such as slivered carrots and scallions, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, red chili pepper powder, and sesame seeds.

Dotorimuk was widely eaten in Korea during the Korean War, when millions of people were displaced and starving. It consequently became associated with poverty, and most people who could afford them ate memilmuk or other jellies instead. However, in recent years it has been rediscovered as a health food.
[edit] Production
Unseasoned dotorimuk

Despite being a rich source of starch and proteins, acorns contain large amounts of tannins and other polyphenols, which prevent the human body from digesting food properly. As such, the harvested acorns must be properly leached of the tannins prior to consumption. Acorns are either collected directly from the ground or knocked off the branches of trees. The harvested acorns are then opened and their nuts inside ground into a fine orange-brown paste. The paste is then stirred into vats of water such that the fibre in the acorn can be separated from the starch through sieving and settling.

The starch suspending liquid is collected from the fibre and allowed to sit so that the tannins in the starch will diffuse out of the acorn paste. The soaking time depends on the amount of tannins in the paste, but the process usually requires several changes of water to properly purge it of all noxious substances.

The now tannin-free acorn starch paste should have an off-white colour. This paste is allowed to completely settle to the bottom of the vat. The water is drained away, and the paste is then collected in trays to dry. The dried starch cake is then pulverized and packaged for sale. Dotorimuk is also commercially available in powdered form, which must be mixed with water, boiled until pudding-like in consistency, then poured into a flat dish to set.
[edit] See also

* Nokdumuk - made from mung beans
* Hwangpomuk - a yellow-colored jelly made from mung beans
* Memilmuk - made from buckwheat
* Konjac - a Japanese jelly
Edited by GirlNextDoor

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Pick a handful of Dock leaves, (they're a weed), or

substitute your favorite greens, steam and chop.

Discard Dock water.

Add 1/8 cup leached acorns* with the chopped Dock,

in 1-1/2 cups water and 2 large shredded carrots. Add

1 clove garlic, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon sweet

basil, paprika, and a dash of vegetable oil. Simmer 20

minutes. Salt to taste.

Very delicious.

"From Indian friends we learn that mortars with

holes in their bottoms, were not always worn out,

discarded mortars. They were often used, and are to

this day, (among scattered tribes), in siphoning off the

bitter from acorn flour; by seeping fresh water down

through a sand base. Many times a basket was placed

inside the mortar and filled with flour, where it was

given the same fresh water treatment; the basket

retaining the flour. Useless as those open bottoms

may seem, that opening was put to a specific use.

Some species of roots, herbs and tubers were ground

and leached by the same method of acorns."

Moore, page 159



1 tsp. salt

1 cup chopped celery

1/4 cup chopped onion

2 chopped carrots

1 cup chopped broccoli

1 cup uncooked barley

1 cup leached acorns*

2 Tbs. dried sweet basil

1-1/2 quarts water

Simmer until vegetables are tender, and barley is

cooked. Season with tamari (soy sauce).

Variations: Add garlic, fresh tomatoes, mushrooms,

spinach, zucchini, eggplant etc.

"The few ancient timber mansions still existing

in England are generally built entirely of oak, which

in many cases remains sound after the lapse of several

hundred years, sometimes outlasting the brick and

stone with which the structures have been repaired.

The great oak woods that in early days covered the

larger part of Britain had in Tudor times become so

reduced that an Act was passed in the reign of Henry

VIII, to enforce their preservation, and by the end of

the 16th century oak planting became popular."

Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol. XVII, 1884


Elk Stew with Acorn Dumplings
Yield: 6 Servings

4 slices bacon, halved
1 1/2 lb elk or beef chuck steak, trimmed and cubed
1 qt water plus 1/2 cup
1 1/4 cup chopped onions
2 bay leaves
1 tsp salt
3 potatoes, peeled and diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 lg turnip, diced
1/4 cup acorn meal or finely ground hazelnuts

1/2 cup acorn meal or finely ground hazelnuts
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
1 egg, beaten
2 Tbsp milk
2 Tbsp vegetable oil

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until some of its
fat is rendered. Add elk and brown with the bacon. Add 1 quart of
water, onion, bay leaves, and salt. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2
hours. Add potatoes, carrot and turnip and cook 30 minutes longer.
Combine remaining water with acorn meal and stir into the simmering
stew. In a bowl, combine dumpling ingredients and beat until smooth.
Drop by tablespoonfuls into the simmering stew. Cover tightly and
steam 12 to 15 minutes.

Chili Con Acorn

I have to give credit to Sam Thayer for this one. He serves up Acorn Chili every year at the Midwest Wild harvest Festival here in Wisconsin. This isn't his recipe, but it's his idea, and it's a good one!

4 cups acorns, rehydrated

1 lg onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp chili powder

½ tsp salt

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp oregano

½ tsp Tabasco sauce

1 can (16oz) chopped tomatoes

1 can (16 oz) kidney beans

1. Saute acorns with onion and garlic in a heavy-bottomed pot.

2. Stir in remaining ingredients.

3. Heat to boiling, reduce heat and simmer for at least an hour.

Note: A crockpot works great for this recipe, you can give it a long slow simmer that way without having to worry about scorching it.
Traditional Venison Acorn Stew

To make venison stew, you will need the following:

2 lbs venison, cut up
1 Cup finely ground acorn meal

Cover venison with water in pot or basket; Add hot rocks to simmer until meat almost falls apart. Remove meat from broth and chop into fine pieces. Return to pot with liquid and stir in acorn meal. Serve hot.
Acorn Stew

To make stew, you will need the following:

1 lb stewing beef
1/2 C finely ground acorn meal (tannin removed)
Salt and pepper to taste

Place beef in heavy pan and add water to cover. Cover with lid and simmer until very tender. Remove from liquid and cut meat into very fine pieces. Return meat to the liquid. Stir in the acorn meal. Add salt and pepper as desired. Heat until thickened and serve.

Ethnic food enthusiasts like to substitute acorn meal for corn meal when making muffins -- usually using 1/2 corn meal and 1/2 acorn. Some have substituted 1/2 of the flour in a biscuit recipe with 1/2 acorn meal. Experiment carefully, remembering that a good portion of the work performed by flour has to do with the gluten in the floor. Acorn has no gluten, so you'll have to keep this in mind.
Apache acorn soup recipe

Recipe ingredients:

* 1 (2 1/2-pound) beef roast
* 2 quarts water
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon pepper
* 1 cup ground acorn meal

Recipe method:

* Peel the acorns and grind them. The outer part of the acorn is not used.
* Cover beef with water and bring to boil in a heavy pot.
* Simmer several hours until beef is very tender, adding salt and pepper.
* Remove the beef, while letting the pot continue to boil.
* Shred the beef, then mix it with the acorn meal.
* Add this mixture to the broth and simmer together until the broth bubbles creamy-white with yellow flecks.

Edited by GirlNextDoor

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This is a smaller recipe, a larger one follows. Mix


1 pint sour cream

3/4 cup pre-cooked, cooled and strained acorns*

1 heaping tsp. dried sweet basil

1/2 cup dried onion flakes

Refrigerate overnight for full flavor.

“The acorns of the oak possess a considerable

economic importance as food for swine. In the Saxon

period the “mast” seems to have been regarded as the

most valuable produce of an oak wood; nor was its

use always confined to the support of the herds, for in

time of dearth acorns were boiled and eaten by the

poor as a substitute for bread both in England and

France, as the sweeter produce of Q. Esculus is still

employed in southern Europe. Large herds of swine

in all the great oak woods of Germany depend for

their autumn maintenance on acorns; and in the

remaining royal forests of England the inhabitants of

the neighbouring villages yet claim their ancient right

of “pannage,” turning their hogs into the woods in

October and November.”

Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol. XVII, 1884


This is a big recipe for entertaining. Mix together:

1 quart sour cream

2 large cloves diced garlic

1 cup pre-cooked, cooled and strained acorns*

pinch of cumin

1 tsp. dried sweet basil

pinch paprika

1 Tbs. fresh parsley

Blend and serve with blue corn chips, celery, broccoli

and cauliflower sticks, they’ll love it!

“Q. Ballota, an allied form, abundant in

Morocco, bears large edible acorns, which form an

article of trade with Spain; an oil, resembling that of

the olive, is obtained from them by espression. Q.

Gramuntia, another allied species, also furnishes a

fruit which, after acquiring sweetness by keeping, is

eaten by the Spaniards.”

“In the woods of Oregon, from the Columbia

river southwards, an oak is found bearing some

resemblance to the British oak in foliage and in its

thick trunk and widely-spreading boughs, but the bark

is white as in Q. alba; it is Q. Garryana, the western

oak of Nuttall. This tree acquires large dimensions,

the trunk being often from 4 to 6 feet in diameter; the

wood appears to be good, but experience has scarcely

tested its durability; the acorns are produced in great

quantity, and are used by the Indians as food.”

Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol. XVII, 1884



This is served as a sandwich spread or a dip for chips

and veggies & pita bread.

Bake a whole eggplant at 400°about 45 minutes. Cut

and discard stem. Blend in blender with 3/4 cup

cottage cheese, 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup leached

and pre-cooked acorns*, 2 pinches marjoram, pinch

cayenne, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, pinch black pepper,

1/4 tsp. salt and 1 cup diced celery tops. It’s ready!

Keep refrigerated.

“Acorns are produced on the Turkey oak in

great abundance in some seasons, but in cold wet

years do not always ripen in Britain; nowithstanding

their bitterness they are greedily eaten by swine. Some

southern varieties of this tree bear acorns

comparatively sweet, and they are sometimes eaten

after being roasted, in which process the tannic acid is

partly destroyed.”

“In North America, where the species of oak

are very numerous, the most important member of the

group is Q. alba, the white oak abounding all over the

eastern districts of the continent from Lake Winnipeg

and the St Lawrence countries to the shores of the

Mexican Gulf. The acorns are sweet, and were

formerly eaten by the Red Men, but are too scantily

produced in most seasons to be of much economic


Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol. XVII, 1884

Acorn Hummus

1 c wet acorns
1/4 c olive oil
1 c tahini
3 pitted dates
2 cloves garlic
juice from 1/2 of a medium-sized lemon

Use processed acorns (tannins removed) that are wet. This means they have been rehydrated or boiled. Place one cup into blender, along with olive oil, tahini, dates, garlic, lemon juice and salt. Enjoy on sandwhiches, as a vegetable dip, with chips or any other way you might eat hummus. Get dippy!

Edited by GirlNextDoor

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Side Dishes:


Sauté together in 1 tablespoon vegetable oil until

mushrooms are tender:

1-1/2 cups chopped mushrooms

pinch garlic salt

1/4 minced fresh jalapeno pepper

1/4 tsp five-spice (used in Chinese cooking)

pinch of celery seed (or 1/4 cup fresh diced celery)

1/8 tsp. dried sage

1/8 tsp. paprika

1 Tbs. soy sauce

1 Tbs. water

Add to above mixture mixing well:

5 cups pre-cooked and cooled brown rice

1/2 cup leached, pre-cooked, cooled and strained


1/4 cup soy sauce

Place entire mixture in a 1-1/2 quart casserole dish.

Top with 1/4 cup chopped green onions. Cover and

microwave on high for 10 minutes or bake at 325°

for 20 minutes.

“Some oaks are of indirect importance from

products formed by their insect enemies. Of these the

Aleppo gall is yielded by Q. infectoria. Q. coccifera,

a small bush growing in Spain and many countries

around the Mediterranean, furnishes the kermes dye

(KERMES). Q. persica, or according to some Q.

mannifera, attacked by a kind of Coccus, yields a

sweet exudation which the Kurds collect and use as

manna, or as a substitute for honey or sugar in various


Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol. XVII, 1884



2 cups fresh chopped mushrooms

1/3 cup leached, pre-cooked and strained acorns*

1 Tbs. dried onions or 2 Tbs. fresh diced onion

garlic (optional)

Sauté this in olive oil or butter. Add a dash of soy


Variations: Add steamed veggies and put over rice

and add soy sauce.


Spread on whole wheat tortillas, put 1 tablespoon of

shredded cheese on top and microwave until cheese

melts. Top with alfalfa sprouts.

“The Concows [Indians] of Round Valley

mixed the [acorn] bread dough with red clay before

baking, claiming this made it sweeter. The acorn

bread became black when baked and soon dried to a

very hard loaf. John Muir was fond of this bread

because it was such a compact, strength-giving food.”

“Pomo Indians considered the oaks to be

personal property and passed down the possession of

the trees in the family with definite rules. Some tribes

also discovered the precursor to today’s penicillintype

drugs: the ground acorn meal was allowed to

accumulate mold, which was scraped off to use for

boils, sores, and inflammations. The wood ashes were

used medicinally among the Cahuillas. Dye was

made from the bark and tannin was used for curing

buckskin. Whole acorns were also used to make

musical instruments and necklaces as well as toys and

trade items.”

Edible and Useful Plants of California, page 67


“Today, the oak is still prized for its wood and

cooling shade. As they were a staple food for the

Indians, acorns are still of paramount importance to

many species of wildlife. The acorn’s greatest value

is its availability during the winter when other food is

scarce. Quail devour small acorns as do squirrels,

chipmunks, deer, elk, mountain sheep, and Black


Bringle-Clark, page 69



Rinse dried split peas. Cover with twice as much

water and cook until done. Don’t let them get too

thick. Add 1/4 cup leached acorns* for every cup of

split peas you cook, and simmer slowly for 1/2 hour

with chopped green onions, garlic and sweet basil.

Season with miso or tamari (soy sauce). Serve with a


Split peas and acorns are so good together you can

omit the spices, garlic and onion, and it will still be

tasty. I add a little soy sauce to each bowl of soup. It

is an easy meal and very “hearty.”

“The acorn is the fruit, or nut, of the oak tree.

Although today the acorn is regarded as a nut fit only

for squirrels, it has been used as a standard food for

ages and rates high in food value for human

consumption. Some acorns are good to eat in the

natural state, and most can be made palatable by

removing the bitter tannin.”

“Typically, acorns of the white oak group

(including the chestnut oak, swamp oak and bur oak)

are sweeter than those of the black (or red) oak group,

and can be made into a meal for muffins. Husk the

acorns and grind them in a mill. Mix the meal with

hot water, and pour into a jelly bag to leach away the

tannin; a second or third washing may be necessary.

Spread the meal out to dry and then parch it in an

oven. Use acorn meal as you would cornmeal.”

Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening, 1985



The beets are nice because they’re alkaline.

Cook 2-1/4 cups leached acorns* in a small amount of

water with:

3 good-sized raw shredded beets

1/2 chopped white onion

pinch each of basil and sage

Cook until beets are done. Serve on a bed of lettuce,

or on pita bread, whole wheat or rye toast.

“The great regard paid to the oak probably

originated in the value attached to its timber and fruit;

the largest and most durable of European trees, its

wood was looked upon as the most precious produce

of the forest. With both Greek and Roman it was the

favourite timber for house, bridge, and ship building;

and the furrowed columns with spreading base that

upheld their stone-built temples of historic age seem

to indicate the oak-trunk as their archaic prototype.

The tree was not in less esteem among the Teutonic

nations; the long ships of the Northmen were hewn

from the same “heart of oak” of which the war-ships

of England were until lately constructed. The Anglo-

Saxons employed oak timber not only for their

dwellings and their fleets but occasionally for more

sacred architecture, the church till recently standing at

Greenstead in Essex, and supposed to have been

erected in the 10th century was wholly formed of oak

trunks roughly squared.”

Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol. XVII, 1884

Edited by GirlNextDoor

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Pasta Dishes:

Egg Noodles with Acorn Flour Recipe

Like any recipe that utilizes the gluten of wheat flour as a binding agent, noodles can be flavoured with a range of non-gluten flours whilst still keeping the essence of the original. Here, wild acorn flour is added to the recipe at a ratio of 2:1 wheat flour to reedmace pollen to make a very interesting and rather unusual noodle.

100g plain flour
50g acorn flour
1 egg
4 tsp cold water
1/4 tsp salt

Egg Noodles with Acorn Flour Preparation:

To make acorn flour: During the autumn collect ripe acorns. Place on a baking tray and dry roast them in an oven on it's lowest setting for at least 5 hours. When the acorns are done crack and shell them. Place them in water in a large bucket and allow to soak for at least a week. Change the water at least twice a day. This process leaches away the tannin which is what makes acorns bitter (tannin in large quantities is toxic so you need to complete this process carefully).

When you think you have soaked the acorns long enough bite into an acorn. If it still tastes bitter then soak for longer. If you can only detect a trace of bitterness, or no bitterness then the acorns are ready. Grind the acorns whilst still wet either in a cofee grinder or a blender. Place the resultant meal in pans or on baking trays and place to dry either in the sun or in an oven on its lowest setting. When dry you can store the flour in sealed jars.

Now you can make your noodles: Sift the flours into a large mixing bowl then form a well in the centre and add the egg, cold water and salt. With a fork (or your fingers) gradually mix the flour into the liquid ingredients until the dough can be brought together into a ball (add more water if the dough is too crumble).

Turn the dough onto a lightly-floured work surface and knead for about 10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Wrap in clingfilm (plastic wrap) or waxed paper then set aside to rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.

After this time divide the dough in half. Place on half on a floured work surface and flatten with the palm of your hand into an oblong about 2cm thick. Dust the top of the dough lightly with flour then roll lengthways before turning the dough and rolling across the width. Repeat the process of turning and rolling until the dough is paper thin.

Dust the dough with a little more flour then set aside to air dry for 10 minutes. Roll the dough into a thick, compact, cylinder then using a very sharp knife cut crossways into strips 3mm wide. Unroll each strips into long noodles and set aside on waxed paper. Repeat the noodle making process with the second half of the dough.

Home-made egg noodles can be cooked immediately or they can be wrapped securely in clingfilm (plastic wrap) and refrigerated for 24 hours. To cook, bring a large pan (about 6l) or water to a rapid boil then add the noodles and boil for about 7 minutes, or until just tender (but still firm to the bite). Drain thoroughly and use.

1 pound cooked whole wheat macaroni shells

1/2 to 1 cup cooked acorns*

1 Tbs. soy sauce

Olive oil or butter to taste

Mix ingredients together and sprinkle with Parmesan

cheese. You can get creative with this by adding hot

peppers, mushrooms, olives, red peppers, etc.


“Inland Indians of the Pacific slopes were

blessed with the acorns of the oak tree. They ground

their bread flour from this. It first had to be processed

in fresh water, to remove the bitter tannic acid, Yurok

Indians called their bread paup-saufp.”

“By special invitation, my wife and I were once

privileged to watch an elderly Indian woman

demonstrate the art of making sand bread. She was

eager and smiling, which made it easy to ask

questions; complimentary gestures to a friend, seldom

extended to a stranger.”

“Screened and washed gravel was heated

around the fire, which was built inside an outer ring of

large rock in an area about four feet in diameter.

When the gravel next to the outer ring of rocks was

just the right temperature, it was raked to one side and

smoothed off. She poured the dough onto the hot

sand, and with a driftwood stick, raked hot rocks over

the top. A wrinkled smile and an affirmative nod,

said the cooking time was up; whereupon she flipped

out the golden brown pattie, tapped rocks off its sides

and said, ‘There, a good one!”





3 cups broth from cooking black beans

1-1/4 cup dried “elbow” pasta

1/4 cup ketchup

3/4 cup pre-cooked, leached & strained acorns*

tamari (soy sauce)

Cook the pasta in the broth until done. After it has

cooked to desired texture, add remaining ingredients.

This is very good. It tastes as if you had added cheese

to it.

“Acorns of the Valley White Oak are large and

long. The method of preparing them has been

described as first being pounded, the meats removed

from the shells, the skin peeled, the meats then

pounded into a fine meal and winnowed by tossing

from one basket to another. Sand was scooped out

from the ground to form a bowl, the meal was placed

in it, then covered with sand and much water was

poured over it. The mass was now removed and the

sand washed off. This operation might take a couple

of hours, after which the acorn flour was boiled into

mush or made into bread. It has been remarked that

this bread is best with fish.”

“Another recipe for acorn bread was as follows:

Valley White Oak acorns were shelled, dried in the

sun, rubbed in a basket to peel off the skin, then

pounded into flour. Water from red clay was brought

in from the mountain and mixed with the flour. The

dough, which was formed into a large loaf and baked,

made a black bread.”

“The California Black Oak has white spots on

its bark. The acorns are prepared in the same way as

those of the Valley White Oak. Acorns of the Blue

Oak are small, black, very tough to grind and


Steilmon pages 6, 8 & 9



Chop and sauté in 2 tablespoons olive oil:

1/2 onion

2 stalks celery

handful of mushrooms

1/4 tsp. dried basil

pinch oregano

pinch black pepper

1/4 tsp. salt

When onions are soft remove from heat and add,

mixing well:

1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes

1 can (5 3/4 oz) drained pitted black olives

3/4 cup cottage cheese

1-10 oz. pkg. chopped spinach

1 small can tomato sauce

1/2 cup leached & drained acorns*

1 tsp. honey

In a large casserole dish (13x9x2), layer this whole

mixture with uncooked lasagna noodles, alternating

noodles then above mixture. Top with mozzarella

cheese. Cover with an inverted cookie sheet (saves

valuable natural resources like “tin foil”) making sure

that the lasagna pasta is covered with enough liquid so

it cooks as it bubbles and bakes. Bake for 45 minutes

at 350°.

“Many of the ancient oaks that remain in

England may date from Saxon times, and some

perhaps from an earlier period; the growth of trees

after the trunk has become hollow is extremely slow,

and the age of such venerable giants only matter of

vague surmise. The celebrated Newland oak in

Gloucestershire, known for centuries as “the great

oak,” was by the latest measurement 47-1/2 feet in

girth at 5 feet from the ground. The Cowthorpe oak,

standing (a ruin) near Wetherby in Yorkshire, at the

same height measures 38-1/2 feet and seems to have

been of no smaller dimensions when described by

Evelyn two centuries ago; like most of the giant oaks

of Britain, it is of the peduculate variety. The

preservation of these old trees has been in past times

largely due to the survival of the reverence in which

the oak was held by Celt and Saxon, - a feeling which

seems to have been shared by several Aryan races.”

Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol. XVII, 1884



1 medium sized chopped yellow onion

1 clove garlic

1 tsp. dried sweet basil

1/8 tsp. dried thyme

1/8 tsp. dried paprika

pinch of dried celery seed

1/8 tsp. dried sage

1/4 tsp. marjoram

1/4 tsp. oregano

pinch dried rosemary

1/8 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar or honey

......Saute in 2 tablespoons olive oil.

After sautéing, add 1 can (28 oz) whole peeled

tomatoes. Stir in 1/2 cup uncooked leached and

drained acorn* meal. Cook on high heat 5-10 minutes,

stirring constantly, then simmer for 20 minutes.

Preferably cool and put in refrigerator overnight to

develop flavors. Serve over cooked whole wheat

spaghetti. Serve with garlic bread and salad. Sprinkle

each plate of pasta with tamari or parmesan cheese or

add sour cream mmm...

“Some trees of the sessile-fruited oak bear

sweet acorns in Britain, and several varieties were

valued by the ancient Italians for their edible fruit. A

peculiar kind of sugar called quercite exists in all

acorns. A bitter principle to which the name of

quercin has been applied by Gerber, its discoverer,

has also been detected in the acorn of the common

oak; the nutritive portion seems chiefly a form of

starch. A spirit has been distilled from acorns in

process of germination, when the saccharine principle

is most abundant.”

Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol. XVII, 1884

“OAK (Quercus) is a very large genus of trees

and shrubs spread over the northern hemisphere and

reaching southwards to Malay and Colombia. The

oaks are members of the family Fagaceae. Nearly all

are important members of the forest flora. Acorns

furnish food for pigs; those of a variety of Holm oak

are used for human consumption in Spain and

Morocco. Leaves of two eastern Asiatic species are

the food of the oak-feeding silkworms.”

Chamber’s Encyclopedia, Vol. X, 1959


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The notes below were written by Tim Smith.

While the season for poison ivy is just about behind us, the season for acorns is in full swing. Many people have heard that acorns can be eaten, and a few have actually put them in their mouths, only to spit them out while their faces puckered up. This is due to the tannic acid in the acorns, which much be leached out. To do this, bring a large pot of water to a boil, then dump in the shelled acorns. Let them boil until the water turns a dark color, then remove the acorns and put them into another pot of clean, boiling water. Continue this process until they no longer have the puckering effect when you chew on them. Then use them for snacks, grind into flour, or use any way you please. It is important to put them into boiling water for good-tasting acorns, as putting them into a pot of cold water, then bringing it to a boil tends to lock in the tannic acid. Don't throw out the water, as it is naturally astringent (contracts or tightens up tissues) and great for the skin. By now you might be curious how this relates to poison ivy. The connection is that acorn water is amazingly effective in eliminating it. A recent discussion with a quick-witted summer camp director from Pennsylvania confirmed my anecdotal evidence. I was informed that it had eliminated symptoms in 95% of cases at his camp within three days. The method used in this case was to pour the acorn water into ice trays and freeze, then rub the ice on the affected area. Cold also helps with inflamed tissues, making the ice an ideal delivery mechanism. If you grind the acorns into flour you can make delicious and nutritious acorn bread. Here's how:

* 50% or less Acorn flour (if you use more than 50%, bread will be too crumbly)
* 50% or more wheat (preferably whole wheat) flour
* a bit of fat (olive oil, bear grease, butter, or whatever you have)
* 1 teaspoon of baking powder for each cup of flour

If you don't grind the acorns well, you have nut bread, so there's no need to be overly assiduous. Mix the ingredients, add enough water for a clay-like dough, and bake until done. To test if done, get a stick and push it into the center of the loaf. If it comes out clean and dry, it's done. If it comes out wet and sticky, it needs to cook more. Cooking time depends on temperature, size of the loaf you're making, and how wet the dough is. If you do it a few times, you'll get it right.


Notice there’s no sweetener in this. It doesn’t need it.

This recipe makes a beautifully colored brown bread.

It is so good, I just eat it plain. It is a good bread with

cheese, jelly or jam. It is soft and moist. Be creative

with this bread. Slice it. Top it with salsa and cheese

and melt it. This is a good meal served with fresh

vegetables and a salad. Acorns mixed with flour

make a wonderful bread. It is even better the next

day. Refrigerate it then slice it real thin and toast in

the oven. My adult son said it was “awesome” that


4 cups whole wheat flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 cups leached & drained acorns*

1-2/3 cups milk to make a soft dough

Sift flour, baking soda, and salt. Add acorns, milk, oil

and mix well. Dough should be stiff but not dry.

Bake at 325° for 25 or more minutes, (until done).

“Live oaks grow but slowly, and few large trees

are left in the settled districts; but when standing in

open places the trunk sometimes attains a great size,

and an old tree, with its far-spreading boughs, often

clothed with the beard-like ‘Spanish moss,’ has a

peculiarly venerable aspect. One growing at Grove

Creek, near Charleston, is said to have attained a girth

of 45 feet at the ground; trees of 12 feet in circumference

were formerly not unfrequent. The stalked

oblong acorns in elongated cups are pleasant in taste,

and were eaten by the Indians of Texas.”

Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol. XVII, 1884


You can’t believe how good these are - moist & tasty! They are also

really easy to make. These are crunchy when left out in the air a few

hours to dry. Probably would make great “crackers.”


2 cups flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

4 Tbs. vegetable oil (you can make without oil, but they

aren’t as moist)

3/4 cup milk (soy milk is okay)

1/4 cup leached & drained acorns*

Sift flour, baking soda & salt thoroughly. Mix in oil. Add

acorns and milk. Dough will be stiff, if wet add a little

more flour. Knead a little, then roll into balls then shape

biscuits and bake on un-greased baking sheet at least 10

minutes, until done, 350-400°, or cook on a hot cast iron

tortilla pan or skillet and turn, browning both sides.

Make the biscuits the size of English muffins. When cool

split and toast.

These biscuits are so good! You can make mini-pizzas

out of these too, or use the dough for a big pizza.

Try rolling them into little balls and baking them in a

muffin tin. These are pretty sliced in half and topped with

tomatoes or onions or a spread (even cheese) and are easy

to make for a party.

“Acorns were a crop ideally suited to the Bay

Area, and indeed to most of California. Unlike wheat,

corn, barley, or rice, acorns required no tilling of the

soil, no digging of irrigation ditches, nor any other

form of farming. Thus, while the preparation of acorn

flour might have been a lengthy and tedious process,

the total labor involved was probably much less than

for a cereal crop. Yet the level of nutrients in acorns

was extremely high - comparable in fact with wheat

and barley. What’s more, acorns were extremely

plentiful. Frank Latta, an amateur ethnographer who

spent a large part of his life studying the Yokuts,

estimated that an Indian family consumed from 1,000

to 2,000 pounds of acorns a year. Granted that an

Indian family tended to have more members than our

own, nevertheless this is still a large quantity of


Margolin, page 44



In a large bowl mix:

1-2/3 cup warm water

1/4 cup honey

1/4 tsp. salt

2 pkgs. dry baking yeast

2 Tbs. whole wheat flour

1 cup acorns

Stir to melt honey, then cover and set in a warm place

about 10 minutes until foamy. After yeast gets foamy

and starts to grow add 4 cups whole wheat flour 1/3

cup vegetable oil 1 cup leached & drained uncooked


Mix well with a wooden spoon. Fill two standard

bread pans and bake at 350° for 30 minutes.

“Oak environments are among California’s richest

wildlife habitats; 110 species of birds use oak habitats

during the breeding season, and 35 percent of California’s

land mammals utilize oaks during some time of their lives.

California’s deer herds are particularly dependent on oak

habitats. By maintaining the health of your oak woodland,

you also maintain an abundance and diversity of native


“Aside from reducing oak seedling and sapling

survival, wildlife do not harm oaks, and instead provide

benefits through maintaining ecological balances. Some

birds and mammals even ‘plant’ acorns during their

foraging activities. The presence of wildlife often adds

beauty to a woodland and value to property. When

desired, landowners can take some measures to increase

the abundance and diversity of wildlife on their lands.

Here are a few suggestions.”

“Leave brush piles in areas where they do not pose

a fire hazard. These environments are used by quail for

cover and by a variety of small animals for food and


“Leave a few snags if they do not pose a fire hazard

or safety concerns. Snags - dead, standing trees - are often

rich environments for wildlife, especially birds. Woodpeckers

and other cavity-nesting birds rely on these

habitats, and predatory birds use snags as perches. Many

birds will move acorns, inadvertently distributing them to

new germination sites.”

“Add water impoundments (well away from oaks).

Not only does year-round water increase wildlife diversity,

it also improves fire-fighting capabilities.”

“Manage vegetation for diversity. The diversity of

wildlife depends upon the diversity of habitats and age

classes of vegetation. If you maintain grassland, oak

woodland, shrubland, as well as diverse gradations

between these vegetation types, you will encourage

diversity in wildlife occupants. The edges between these

zones are particularly rich in wildlife. For example, if you

allow a field to become shrubby on the edges where it

borders shrubland or woodland, you will be inviting deer,

quail and other animals.”

Univ. of Calif., Berkeley Natural Resources


[b]Acorn Bread Recipe[/b]

Ingredients 1 cup acorn meal
1 cup flour
2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
3 tbsp oil


Sift together, acorn meal, white flour, baking powder, salt and
sugar. In separate bowl, mix together egg, milk, and oil. Combine
dry ingredients and liquid ingredients. Stir just enough to moisten
dry ingredients. Pour into a greased pan and bake at 400F. for 30

Servings: 1 loaf

Acorn Hominy Bread </h3>
2 cups hominy; drained
2 tbl sorghum syrup
2 tbl oil
milk; to make loose paste
1/2 cup masa
1/2 cup hominy paste
1/2 cup acorn flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1 pc egg
1 tbl sorghum syrup
1 tbl oil
1/2 tsp pumpkin spice
1 tbl gluten flour
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup dried cranberries

1. Blend first four (4) ingredients in a blender set at puree until a
smmoth loose paste is accomlished.

2. Mix the remaing ingredients with 1/2 cup of the homony paste and beat
with about 50 to 70 strokes adding more milk if to tight.

Devide into 3x5 oiled (spray) pans bake at preheated oven 375 F for 30
minutes or a tooth pick comes out clean.

Serve with vanilla ice cream drizzle with a huckleberry or blueberry sauce.

Contributor: Burning Tree Native Grill

Yield: 1 small loaf
Pioneer Acorn Bread and Acorn Muffins
1 cup acorn meal1 cup flour1 tsp. salt 3 tbsp. baking powder3 tbsp. oil1 cup milk (or water) Optional: You may add 1 egg to the above ingredients.
Preparation: Combine milk, egg (if available), and oil and beat until smooth. Mix in the acorn meal, flour, salt, and baking powder and stir into a smooth dough. Place in a greased bread pan.
Cook: Bake at 400ºF for 30 minutes. Cool and serve.
Variation: Acorn Muffins: Fill greased muffin tins about 2/3 full with above mixture and bake at 400ºF for 20 minutes.
Acorn Bread
2 cups acorn meal1/2 cup milk (or water)1 tbsp. baking powder 2 cups wheat flour3 tbsp. butter or olive oil1 egg (optional) Optional Sweeteners: Add 1/3 cup honey or maple syrup or sugar, if available.
Preparation: Combine all the above ingredients and pour into a loaf pan.
Cook : Bake at 400ºF for 30 minutes or until done. Yields a moist bread with a sweet nutty flavor.
Acorn “Corn”bread

1 cup acorn flour

1 cup white flour

2 tsp baking powder

¾ tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

2 large eggs

½ cup or honey

¼ cup oil or butter

1 cup milk (buttermilk is best!)

1. Mix dry ingredients together.

2. Add all the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.

3. Pour batter into a 9x9 baking pan, or 10-inch cast iron frying pan

4. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes.

5. Serve hot with plenty of butter! Honey or maple syrup is good on it too!
Acorn Brown Bread

This bread is baked by steaming it in empty tin cans for 2 hours. It was a popular way to make bread in the olden days when the woodstoves were hot all day long. It method of baking bread is a bit foreign to us nowadays, but this bread is unimaginably moist and delicious. You used to be able to buy it in a can at the grocery store but I never see it for sale anymore. Using Acorns instead of cornmeal makes this an extra special treat!

1 cup Acorn flour

2 cups whole wheat flour

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

2 cups buttermilk

3/4 cup molasses

1 cup chopped raisins

1. Mix all the ingredients together to form your batter.

2. Take some clean empty 16-oz tin cans and grease them inside.

3. Pour batter 3/4 full into each can. This recipe will fill 3 or 4 cans.

4. Put a layer of aluminum foil over each can and secure it tightly with rubber bands.

5. Set the cans on a canning rack in your canner and put a couple inches of water at the bottom.

6. Put the lid on the canner and let the cans steam for 2 hours. Be sure to check the water occasionally and replenish if needed.

7. Let cans cook completely before removing the 'loaves' of bread.

8. Slice and serve.
Acorn Bread

To make bread, you will need the following:

6 Tbl. cornmeal
1/2 C cold water
1 C boiling water
1 tsp sale
1 Tbl butter
1 pkg active dry yeast
1/4 C lukewarm water
1 C mashed potatoes
2 C all-purpose flour
2 C finely ground leached acorn meal

Mix cornmeal with cold water, add boiling water and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add sale and butter and cool to lukewarm. Soften yeast in lukewarm water. Add remaining ingredients to corn mixture, along with yeast. Knead to a stiff dough. Dough will be sticky. Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled in bulk. Punch down, shape into two loaves, cover and let rise until doubled in bulk. Bake at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes.
Multi-grain bread with acorn meal:

Let’s take a look at one of my mixed grain breads with acorn meal to see how it differs from the Indian cakes above.

1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup coarse ground, leached acorn meal
1 cup lukewarm water
2 Tbsp. dry granulated yeast
2 1/2 cups boiling water
1 Tbsp. salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, beaten
About 8 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup honey

Pour boiling water over oats, cornmeal, and acorn meal. Set aside. Dissolve the yeast in lukewarm water. In a large mixing bowl, beat the hot oatmeal mixture with the rest of the ingredients, except for the yeast and butter, adding the flour a cup at a time until you get a medium batter. Cool to lukewarm. Then add the yeast. Mix well and add enough flour until you have a spongy dough that is not sticky. Knead, adding flour if necessary to keep from being sticky. Place in a greased bowl and grease the top of dough, then cover it with a moist, warm kitchen towel and set it in a warm place until it doubles in size. Punch down, knead several times, and let rise again. Shape into loaves and place in greased bread pans or on a greased cookie sheet.

This also makes great rolls, so you can use a cake pan, making golf ball sized rolls. Cover and let rise again until almost double. Preheat the oven to 350° F and bake for about 35 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Brush with butter and cool.

You can also make this bread in camp, using smaller loaves and a reflector oven or forming 1/2 inch thick by 1 inch wide by 8 inch long sticks and twisting the dough around a green stick and gently baking over medium coals—never a fire.

So far, we’ve talked about using acorn meal as a grain. But the acorn is so much more versatile. Most Native Americans and early settlers used acorn meal as either an ingredient in mush, which is sort of a thick, mealy soup, or pounded with meat, fat, and berries, making pemmican. In a survival situation which requires lightweight, high calorie foods, pemmican would be a good choice. (But, of course, many of us really don’t need the extra fat in our diets.)

* 2 cups acorn flour
* 2 cups cattail or white flour
* 3 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/3 cup maple syrup or sugar
* 1 egg
* 1/2 cup milk
* 3 tablespoons olive oil
* Bake in pan for 30 minutes or until done at 400 degrees

Using the ingredients given above will produce a sweet, moist, nutty bread. The ingredients can be varied to produce different types of bread or muffins or pancakes, etc. Acorn bread is highly nutritious. It has an energy giving combination of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. John Muir called dry acorn cakes "the most compact and strength giving food" he had ever used. I use maple syrup from the trees in my woods instead of sugar. Not only do I enjoy the wild beauty and fiery colors of the maples and oaks that surround my farm, but I also savor the sweet acorn bread made from their nuts and sap. What better way is there to get to know the trees than to live under them and eat from their bounty?
Acorn Bread
  • 6 Tbl. cornmeal
  • 1/2 C cold water
  • 1 C boiling water
  • 1 tsp sale
  • 1 Tbl butter
  • 1 pkg active dry yeast
  • 1/4 C lukewarm water
  • 1 C mashed potatoes
  • 2 C all-purpose flour
  • 2 C finely ground leached acorn meal
Mix cornmeal with cold water, add boiling water and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add sale and butter and cool to lukewarm. Soften yeast in lukewarm water. Add remaining ingredients to corn mixture, along with yeast. Knead to a stiff dough. Dough will be sticky. Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled in bulk. Punch down, shape into two loaves, cover and let rise until doubled in bulk. Bake at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes.
Jamestown Style
Acorn Bread
1/2 cup acorn flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon yeast
4 tablespoons water Sift the dry ingredients, then add the water. After mixing everything up until it makes a ball, let it rise for about 2 hours.Place the ball of dough on a stone baking pan and bake it at 350° 20 or 30 minutes.
Makes one biscuit-sized loaf. Enjoy with butter or honey!

So, how was the acorn bread?

I didn’t think it tasted too bad. It basically tasted like whole wheat bread with a slightly nutty taste. My sister Kerry and my brother Mike agreed. Both said it was okay and walked off without eating more.

Adam, the youngest (and pickiest eater ever) said, “I didn’t particularly like it, but I’d eat it if I had to. Like, if I was starving in the winter.”

At first, my dad wouldn’t try it. “It’s made of acorns!” he said, but he took a bite anyway. He said it wasn’t bad.

And what did Mom think?

“It’s heavy,” she said. “I can see how it would fill you up--at least a little.” She paused.

“But do you like it?” I asked.

“Yeah, I do. It’s good!” as if to prove her point, she ate another piece
. I sighed with relief. But I’m not sure why...

All in all, I’d say the whole thing was a success. The experiment made me realize how hard Joan, Tempie, and Maggie worked to survive the Starving Time. But next autumn when the leaves change colors, when the air gets chilly, when acorns litter the ground, maybe I won’t say anything and see if Mom forgets. Or maybe I’ll just have to ignore her if she says, “Remember last fall, when we made acorn bread? I was wondering if you wanted to try it again...”
Acorn Cornmeal bread
1 cup acorn flour
½ cup cornmeal
½ cup whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 egg
½ cup honey
3 tablespoons cooking oil
1 cup milk Preheat oven to 350°. Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. In a small bowl, combine egg, honey, milk and oil. Add wet mixture to the dry ingredients gradually while mixing with a whisk or electric mixer. Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan and bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean
Acorn White Flour Bread
Mix together:
1 cup acorn flour
1 cup unbleached white flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Beat together:
1 cup milk
1 egg
3 tablespoons salad oil Add these to the dry ingredients and stir just enough to moisten everything. Pour into a greased pan and bake in a 350° oven for 30 minutes.
Edited by GirlNextDoor

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Recipe for Acorn Bread 1. Shell dry acorns.
2. Use a blender to grind acorns into fine flour.
3. Put acorn flour into a muslim-lined colander (cheesecloth is too porous). Place the colander in the sink and run warm water through the flour until the bitterness is gone (stirring gently will speed this slow process).
4. Salt may be added, if desired.
5. Shape flour into pancake-like patties (about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and 1/4 inch thick) while flour is still moist.
6. Fry without oil on non-stick pan
7. This flour may be used in place of regular flour in cookie recipes. In cookie recipes that call for 2 1/2 cups of flour, substitute 1/4 cup of acorn flour for 1/4 cup of regular flour.
Sue Chin's Acorn Bread

Recipe: Sue Chin's Acorn Bread
1 Loaf of Acorn Bread
1 cup acorn flour
1 cup wheat flour
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tblsp baking powder
1 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt
1 egg
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup raisin
½ cup walnuts

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees,
Sift flours, salt, baking soda and powder together. Mix buttermilk, oil, sugar and egg. Add to dry ingredients, mix and fold in raisins and walnuts.
Bake for 45 minutes until springy and light to touch.
Ingredients for "Acorn Bread"
(Click here for measurement conversion)

1 cup acorn meal
1 cup flour
2 tbl baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbl sugar
1 x egg, beaten
1 cup milk
3 tbl oil

Method of cooking "Acorn Bread"

Sift together, acorn meal, white flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. In separate bowl, mix together egg, milk, and oil. Combine dry ingredients and liquid ingredients. Stir just enough to moisten dry ingredients. Pour into a greased pan and bake at 400F. for 30 minutes.
Ingredients for "Acorn Bread (2)"
(Click here for measurement conversion)

1 cup acorn meal
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar (or honey)
1 cup white flour
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons oil

Method of cooking "Acorn Bread (2)"

Mix acorn meal, baking powder, salt, sugar and flour. Separately, to the beaten egg add milk and oil. Stir this gently into the dry mix, then pour into a well-greased pan. Bake your dough at 400°F for 30 minutes. Top with butter when it comes out of the oven. For muffins pour into muffin tin until 2/3 full and bake 20 minutes.
Ingredients for "Acorn Honey Bread"
(Click here for measurement conversion)

4 cups flour
2 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ginger
1 cup honey
2 cups milk
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup acorn, chopped
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Method of cooking "Acorn Honey Bread"

Put the acorn meats into a pot with enough water to cover. Bring the water to a boil, then drain. Repeat 3 times or till the bitterness is gone (the water should be clear). Once you have leached the nuts, dry them on a cookie sheet in a low oven (about 200°F) for 2 or 3 hours - till the nuts become brittle. Remove from the oven and cool. Grease two loaf pans with margarine. Mix together all dry ingredients, thoroughly. Beat eggs, gradually adding milk. Add egg mixture alternately with honey to dry ingredients. Beat well. Stir in acorns and pour evenly into loaf pans. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until golden. If bread is done, it will come out of pan easily when pan is turned over and tapped gently. If not, bake for another 10-15 minutes. Remove bread from pan immediately when done and cool. This spicy bread always tastes better the second day when its flavors have had a chance to mellow and blend.
Steamed Acorn Black Bread
Mix together:
1 1/2 cups Acorn Meal
1/2 cup Acorn Grits
1 cup white flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup dark molasses
1 1/2 cups sour milk
2 tablespoons salad oil

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These especially good tortillas are made from:

1/4 cup leached & pre-cooked & cooled acorns’

1/4 cup bran

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

enough cool water to make a soft dough

Heat an un-oiled cast iron skillet. Roll out dough to

“tortilla thickness” on a lightly floured board. Heat

first on one side, then flip and cook until done.

“Historically, livestock grazing and wildlife

production have been the dominant land use

throughout the hardwood range. We can thank the

livestock industry for the open, pastoral character of

much of California’s countryside. But it is also in

portions of this region that regeneration for several

oak species has been poor, especially during the last

80 years. Cattle are the oft-named culprits, and

although it is true that cattle do take their toll on the

oaks by consuming acorns, seedlings, and saplings,

oaks often do not regenerate even when the cattle are

taken off the land. Obviously, the oak regeneration

problem is more complex.”

“It has been suggested that grazing for the last

hundred years has caused a combination of ecological

reactions that are inhibiting natural oak regeneration.

Such factors as changes in the species composition of

the grassland, greater ground squirrel populations,

insect and soil fauna changes, and alterations in

populations of acorn and seedling eaters may all

complicate oak regeneration. Whatever the causes,

careful management is needed -- of both land and

oaks -- if these trees are to continue their traditional

and ecological role on the hardwood range.”

Univ. of Calif., Berkeley Natural Resources


Mexican Acorn Tortillas
2 cups acorn meal3/4 cup flour2 tsp. salt Preparation: Mix ingredients. Add just enough water to make a stiff dough. Let stand for 30 minutes.
Cook: Squeeze into small balls and then press each ball into a very thin flat cake. Fry in a lightly greased skillet until brown on both sides. Use just enough fat or oil to prevent sticking.
Acorn Pemmican Tortilla
1/2 cup acorn meal1 pound lean meat, cut in thin stripsSeveral tortillas Cook: Boil the lean meat in salted water until tender. Drain and allow to dry. Grind the meat and the acorn meal together using a fine grinding blade. Mix well and then grind a second time. Heat and serve wrapped in a tortilla, or on any flat bread.
Variation: Add cooked white rice, or cooked beans, or hot sauce, or grated cheese as part of the tortilla stuffing.
Acorn Tortillas


7 oz. sweet brown rice flour or any whole-grain flour
4 oz. acorn (Quercus species) flour
1/3 cup arrowroot
1/2 tsp. Vege-sal or salt, or to taste



3 tbs. corn oil
1/2 cup lukewarm water or as needed

1. Mix together the dry ingredients.

2. Stir in the corn oil, then the lukewarm water. Use enough water to make a soft dough that you can press into a very thin sheet between your fingers. If the dough is too sticky to work, add more flour.

3. Divide the dough into 6 balls.

4. Roll the balls into flat, round disks about 1/8 inch thick between 2 sheets of wax paper with a rolling pin, or flatten into disks with a tortilla press.

5. Cook each disk on both sides on a very hot unoiled griddle until flecked with brown, less than 1 minute altogether. Don’t overcook or the tortillas will get hard. You may brush cooked tortillas with corn oil, or spoon them with chili sauce and roll them up, using the Mexican fillings. Sauces such as guacamole or hot sauce are also suitable. Some cooks will fry the filled tortillas in 1/4 inch of oil, but this creates food unnecessarily high in fat.

A healthier alternative is brushing the outside of the rolled tortilla with corn oil and baking it 10-15 minutes in a 350° F oven.

Note: You may keep cooked tortillas warm in a covered baking dish in an oven on the lowest setting, or refrigerate or freeze them, then reheat briefly on a hot griddle.

Makes 6 tortillas

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

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2 cups flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

4 Tbs. vegetable oil (you can make without oil, but they

aren’t as moist)

3/4 cup milk (soy milk is okay)

1/4 cup leached & drained acorns*

Sift flour, baking soda & salt thoroughly. Mix in oil. Add

acorns and milk. Dough will be stiff, if wet add a little

more flour. Knead a little, then roll into balls then shape

biscuits and bake on un-greased baking sheet at least 10

minutes, until done, 350-400°, or cook on a hot cast iron

tortilla pan or skillet and turn, browning both sides.

Make the biscuits the size of English muffins. When cool

split and toast.

These biscuits are so good! You can make mini-pizzas

out of these too, or use the dough for a big pizza.

Try rolling them into little balls and baking them in a

muffin tin. These are pretty sliced in half and topped with

tomatoes or onions or a spread (even cheese) and are easy

to make for a party.

“Acorns were a crop ideally suited to the Bay

Area, and indeed to most of California. Unlike wheat,

corn, barley, or rice, acorns required no tilling of the

soil, no digging of irrigation ditches, nor any other

form of farming. Thus, while the preparation of acorn

flour might have been a lengthy and tedious process,

the total labor involved was probably much less than

for a cereal crop. Yet the level of nutrients in acorns

was extremely high - comparable in fact with wheat

and barley. What’s more, acorns were extremely

plentiful. Frank Latta, an amateur ethnographer who

spent a large part of his life studying the Yokuts,

estimated that an Indian family consumed from 1,000

to 2,000 pounds of acorns a year. Granted that an

Indian family tended to have more members than our

own, nevertheless this is still a large quantity of


Margolin, page 44


Pioneer Acorn Bread and Acorn Muffins
1 cup acorn meal1 cup flour1 tsp. salt 3 tbsp. baking powder3 tbsp. oil1 cup milk (or water) Optional: You may add 1 egg to the above ingredients.
Preparation: Combine milk, egg (if available), and oil and beat until smooth. Mix in the acorn meal, flour, salt, and baking powder and stir into a smooth dough. Place in a greased bread pan.
Cook: Bake at 400ºF for 30 minutes. Cool and serve.
Variation: Acorn Muffins: Fill greased muffin tins about 2/3 full with above mixture and bake at 400ºF for 20 minutes.

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Acorn Salad Sandwich:


Mix together:

1 cup leached, cooked & cooled acorns*

5-6 Tbs. “light” mayonnaise

dash hot sauce

salt & pepper

2 Tbs. chopped dill pickle

Serve on whole wheat toast with crisp lettuce, or

alfalfa sprouts.

“The fruit of the oak is known as an acorn and

is composed of a nut and a cup, or involucre. The nut

develops from the ovary of the female flower. The

young ovary normally has three carpels, each of

which bears two or three ovules. Only one of the

ovules ripens into a nut; the others abort and remain

associated with the integument of the functional

ovule. Thus the mature nut is one-celled and oneseeded.”

Encyclopedia Americana Vol 20, 1988

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1 dozen corn tortillas

1 medium size can of tomato puree

1 cup pre-cooked acorns*

1-2 Tbs. chili powder

1/4 cup sour cream

1 Tbs. soy sauce

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 clove garlic

pinch of sugar

1 Tbs. olive oil

Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil. Add tomato

puree, chili powder and soy sauce and simmer 5-10

minutes, stirring constantly so it doesn’t burn. Steam

tortillas, or microwave to soften. Add remaining

ingredients to sauce, and spoon into tortillas. Mixture

should be thick, not runny. Place in a large casserole

dish, cover with shredded cheese and bake in oven at

350° for 20 minutes.

“Innumerable insects find their livelihoods in

the branches and leaves of the oaks, usually without

much consequence to the healthy tree. The oak gall,

for example, is a harmless swelling of branchlets in

reaction to enzymes released where a wasp lays its

eggs. These galls can be so abundant, colorful, and

multi-formed that they resemble dangling Christmas


“There are some insect infestation however,

like pit scales (appearing as pinhead-size scales on the

bark of twigs and branchlets), oak moth, and other

leaf-eating infestations, that can cause serious damage

to oaks. Whenever a severe insect attack causes

substantial leaf loss, changes in leaf color, twig dieback,

sooty foliage and branches, or other significant

changes in appearance, intervention may be required.”

“Watch your trees for signs of animal damage.

Take care that the number of animals congregating

under trees does not cause excessive soil compaction,

expose the root crown at the base of the trunk, or

expose surface roots. Also watch for excessive

chewing on the tree trunk. Animals can kill a tree by

girdling if they chew around the tree, through the

bark, and into living wood. These types of problems

are of particular concern in paddocks or pastures

where animals are concentrated.”

“Mature oaks in wildland settings are adapted

to dry, summer conditions. Summer irrigation will

doom the adult tree and is to be avoided, especially

near the base of the tree. Do not water even ornamentals

planted under oaks. If they need watering

they do not belong there.”

Univ. of Calif., Nat. Resources

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Garden Burger Type Recipes:


This is one of my earlier recipes. I found it on a note.

Unless you have a scale, you’ll have to “guess” at the

weights. I thought it was worth including.

1 1/2 pounds leached & drained acorns*

1 1/2 pounds shredded zucchini

1/4 pound shredded cauliflower

2 large chopped green onions

1 cup whole wheat flour

1-1/2 cups water

1 tsp. chopped garlic

2 Tbs. olive oil

4 Tbs. nutritional yeast

1 tsp cumin

1 bay leaf

1 tsp basil

Mix this all together. If it is too thick and dry add

more water. If it is too watery add more flour. Place

in an oiled glass bread pan and bake at 325° for

approximately 30 minutes. Baking time may vary.

Slice and serve with lots of red miso.

“The Northern Pomo Indians looked upon the

acorn as their staple food. The acorns, especially of

the Black Oak, Tanbark and Live Oak, were gathered

in the fall. Part of the crop was stored in large baskets

in huts. Those to be used soon, were ground with

pestles in mortar baskets, that were placed above

hollows in hard anvil stones, then leached with water

in a prepared basin of sand. The water, allowed to run

over the acorn meal for sometime, took out the bitter

tannic acid. The leached meal was either boiled as

mush in baskets with water and red-hot stones, or

baked in ovens as bread.”

Brown-Andrews page 11



1 small box chopped frozen spinach

1-1/2 cup leached, pre-cooked, cooled & strained


2 eggs or just egg whites

1/2 cup flour

Mix, then shape into patties and brown in vegetable

oil or put on lightly greased cookie sheet and brown in

a 350° oven until done.

Variations: Substitute the same amount of your

favorite vegetable instead of spinach, ie; corn,

broccoli, etc.

“Today, the oak is still prized for its wood and

cooling shade. As they were a staple food for the

Indians, acorns are still of paramount importance to

many species of wildlife. The acorn’s greatest value

is its availability during the winter when other food is

scarce. Quail devour small acorns as do squirrels,

chipmunks, deer, elk, mountain sheep, and Black


Bringle-Clark, page 69



Boil 3/4 cup leached acorns* in 1-1/2 cups water

about 10 minutes, until acorns thicken just a little.

Remove from heat and add 1/2 cup ketchup and 2

tablespoons prepared salsa and 2 tablespoons tamari.

Stir well and set aside.

Chop up six pieces of whole wheat (or other) bread

and put in a medium sized casserole dish. Sprinkle

with paprika, sweet basil and marjoram. Add 2 egg

whites and one whole egg (or just 3 egg whites), and

mix. Add the acorn sauce and mix well. Cover with

cheddar cheese and top with black olives. Bake 20-30

minutes at 350°.

“When standing in dense woods the trees are

rather straight and formal in early growth, especially

the sessile-fruited kinds, and the gnarled character

traditionally assigned to the oak applies chiefly to its

advanced age. The broad deeply-sinuated leaves with

blunt rounded lobes are of a peculiar yellowish colour

when the buds unfold in May, but assume a more

decided green towards mid-summer, and eventually

become rather dark in time; they do not change to

their brown autumnal hue until late in October, and on

brushwood and saplings the withered foliage is often

retained until the spring. The catkins appear soon

after the young leaves, usually in England towards the

end of May; the acorns, oblong in form, are in shallow

cups with short, scarcely projecting scales; the fruit is

shed the first autumn, often before the foliage


Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol. XVII, 1884


Acorn Hotdish

4 cups Acorns

1 small onion, chopped

½ tsp thyme

1 tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

2 cups soft breadcrumbs (4 slices of bread)

2 eggs

¼ cup sesame seeds

¼ cup oats

3 cups cubed cheese (1 lb)

1. Cook acorns in water until they are soft. (Skip this step if using frozen acorns).

2. Mash acorns somewhat with a potato masher.

3. Combine with remaining ingredients.

4. Add a little water if it seems dry.

5. Spread into a greased 9x9 square pan or 9x5 loaf pan.

6. Sprinkle sesame seeds and oats over the top.

7. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes.

Acorn Burgers

This recipe is an old favorite of mine from The Farm cookbook. It is originally intended for leftover soybean pulp from making soy milk and tofu, but it adapts quite nicely to acorns!

5 cups rehydrated acorn meats

2 tsp salt

1 cup oats or 1 cup flour

½ tsp pepper

1 Tbsp garlic powder

2 tsp oregano

1 tsp basil

1 onion, finely chopped

1. Mash the acorns with a potato masher

2. Mix all ingredients together. The batter should be quite stiff.

3. To make patties, roll into a ball about the size of an apricot, flatten to about ½” thick.

4. Fry in a generous amount of oil so they’ll be crispy on the edges.

Serve just like a hamburger or veggie burger, on bread with all the fixings.
Acorn "Meat"loaf

If using dried acorn meats, you will need to rehydrate them before mixing the ingredients. I rehydrate them by simmering in water until they are soft, much like cooking beans.

4 cups Acorns, somewhat chopped or mashed

1 cup milk

1 tsp dried sage leaves

1 tsp salt

½ tsp dry mustard

¼ tsp pepper

3 slices of bread, torn into small pieces OR ¾ cup oats OR ½ cup dry breadcrumbs

1 egg

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 small onion, chopped

1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

½ cup barbecue sauce

1. Mix together all ingredients except barbecue sauce.

2. Shape mixture into a loaf pan.

3. Spoon barbecue sauce over the top.

4. Bake at 350 for about an hour.
Apache acorn cakes:

1 cup acorn meal, ground fine
1 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup honey
pinch of salt

Mix the ingredients with enough warm water to make a moist, not sticky dough. Divide into 12 balls. Let rest, covered, for 10 minutes or so. With slightly moist hands, pat the balls down into thick tortilla-shaped breads. Bake on an ungreased cast iron griddle over campfire coals or on clean large rocks, propped up slightly before the coals. If using the stones, have them hot when you place the cakes on them. You’ll have to lightly peel an edge to peek and see if they are done. They will be slightly brown. Turn them over and bake on the other side, if necessary.

These cakes were carried on journeys dry and eaten alone or with shredded meat. We cheat and add homemade butter, too. But then, we are spoiled.
Modern pemmican:

1 lb. lean stewing meat, cut quite small
1/2 cup dehydrated wild plums
1/2 cup acorn meal

Boil the lean stewing meat. When it is tender, drain and allow it to dry in a bowl. Grind all of the ingredients together in a meat grinder using a fine blade. Grind again, mixing finely, distributing the ingredients very well. Place in a covered dish and refrigerate overnight. (Or you can eat right away, but like many foods, the refrigerating allows the flavors to blend nicely.) You can serve this on any flatbread, such as a tortilla. It is best served warm, or you can reheat it in the pan in the oven like a meatloaf.

Acorn meal can also be used in place of a good portion (or all) of the nuts in most desserts, from brownies to cookies. It does depend on the variety of acorn you have available and the taste after leaching. Some acorn meal never gets “nutty,” only mild, while the meal of other acorns, such as those of the Emory oak, are so sweet that you can eat them without leaching, or with very little leaching.

You will have to experiment a bit here. But the end results are usually surprising.

Oh gee! You say oak trees don’t grow where you live? Well, just because they aren’t “native” doesn’t mean you can’t plant some. No matter where I go, I always plant a big bunch of food producing trees, shrubs, and perennial plants. And a lot of them certainly aren’t native to the area. Of course, you can just plant acorns or buy seedling trees from a nursery. From an acorn or small seedling, you can usually figure you’ll begin to get a decent amount of acorns in about 10 years.

Want faster results? Several nurseries are carrying grafted oak varieties, meant for food production. And at least one nursery has a very good hybrid of the burr oak that produces mild acorns requiring no leaching. You can write to St Lawrence Nurseries, 325 State Hwy. 345, Potsdam, NY 13676 or find them online at They have a free catalog which includes many very hardy fruits and nuts.

Oaks don’t grow where we will be moving, but you can darned betcha I’ll be planting them so I can enjoy those fabulous acorns. Until then, I’ll just have to drive down to my son Bill’s place near Oak Lake and pick a few baskets so we can enjoy all those good acorn recipes.

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Acorn ‘n Sagebrush Chicken

3 chicken breasts, cut in 1” pieces
4 T acorn flour
1 t California sagebrush, dried
1 t hot red pepper powder
1/4 c olive oil
1 c yellow onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 c cleaned artichoke hearts, cut in 2” pieces
1/3 c carrots, chopped
3 c CA sagebrush chicken stock
1/2 c zinfandel, or red wine
2 t acorn flour
salt & pepper to taste

Cut chicken in 1” pieces. Place in medium sized bowl and mix in acorn flour, california sagebrush, and hot red pepper powder. Put oil in large soup pot and put on medium-low heat. Carmelize the dredged chicken for a few minutes, and then add your onion and garlic. Let this cook until the onions and garlic become translucent, about 4 minutes, and add the artichoke hearts and carrots. Stir for about a minute and add chicken stock. Let this mixture simmer on low, covered, for about 25 minutes. Liquid should be reduced and you can then pour in the wine. Let cook for about 5 minutes, then sprinkle 2 t acorn flour on top. Mix in with desired salt & pepper and serve.
Acorns are good in stir fry dishes as a replacement for water chestnuts or in hot dishes as a replacement for potatoes on some recipes.

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Make acorn biscuits (see recipe). Make them the size

of muffins. Put about 6 of them in a large rectangle

casserole dish and cover with acorn spaghetti sauce

(see recipe). Top with jack cheese and warm in a

250° oven about 30 minutes, melting cheese. This

makes a fantastic main dish. Good for a pot luck.

“The oak grows most luxuriantly on deep

strong clays, calcareous marl, or stiff loam, but will

flourish in nearly any deep well-drained soil,

excepting peat or loose sand; in marshy or moist

places the tree may grow well for a time, but the

timber is rarely sound; on hard rocky ground and

exposed hillsides the growth is extremely slow and

the trees small, but the wood is generally very hard

and durable. The oak will not bear exposure to the

full force of the sea gale, though in ravines and on

sheltered slopes oak woods sometimes extend nearly

to the shore. The cultivation of this tree in Europe

forms one of the most important branches of the

forester’s art. It is frequently raised at once by sowing

the acorns on the ground where the trees are required,

the fruit being gathered in the autumn as soon as shed,

and perfectly ripe seeds selected; but the risk of

destruction by mice and other vermin is so great that

transplanting from a nursery-bed is in most cases to be

preferred. The acorns should be sown in November

on well-prepared ground, and covered to a depth of 1-

1/2 or 2 inches; the seeds germinate in the spring, and

the seedlings are usually transplanted when one or

two years old to nursery-beds, where they are allowed

to grow from two to four years, till required for the


Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol. XVII, 1884

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For this I have on hand cold boiled potatoes. Make

sure the potatoes are cold, if they are warm they’ll


Sauté 3 Tbs. chopped onion with two chopped cold

potatoes in 2 Tbs. vegetable oil. Add 1/4 cup leached,

cooked, cooled and strained acorns*, and 3-4 beaten

eggs (or egg whites). Mix together then top with

shredded cheese and cover. When cheese is melted

it’s done.

Variations: Instead of potatoes add 1 can drained

corn. Be creative with this and use green onions,

parsley...spices like sweet basil, sage, celery, peppers, green peppers, mushrooms,

chives, cilantro, etc.

“Its banks are well-wooded with oaks, planes,

ash, willow, walnut, poplar, and brushwood. Wild

grapes in great abundance overhang the lower trees,

clustering to the river, at times completely

overpowering the trees on which they climbed and

producing beautiful varieties of tint....Our course lay

between banks for the most part belted with willow,

ash, oak, or plane, which latter, of immense size,

overhung the stream, without apparently a sufficient

hold in the soil to support them, so much had the force

of the stream denuded their roots....

Within, and at the very verge of the banks, oaks

of immense size were plentiful. The two most

remarkable measured respectively twenty-seven feet

and nineteen feet in circumference, at three feet above

ground. The latter rose perpendicularly at a height of

sixty feet before expanding its branches and was truly

a noble sight.”

Captain Belcher 1840,

describing the Sacramento River

below Red Bluff California



Sauté until tender:

1/4 diced yellow onion

1 fresh chili pepper (I use either 1 Serrano or 1/4 to 1


1 Tbs. vegetable oil

1 Tbs. water

Remove from heat and add:

1/4 pound cubed and broken (as fine as possible) tofu

1/4 cup leached, pre-cooked, cooled and strained


Return to heat mixing well with chilis and onions then

remove from heat and add 2 egg whites, mixing well.

Cook this mixture as you would scrambled eggs.

When almost done, add sliced tomatoes on top and

your favorite cheese. Cover until cheese melts. I like

tamari (soy sauce) on top.

Variations: Add any of the following spices when

sautéing onions basil, rosemary, thyme, paprika,


“One of the most interesting Spring festivals in

northern California was the Acorn Feast. This was

held on the first full moon after acorns were in bloom.

It was a prayer for a good crop of acorns, and there

was dancing and singing in the feathered costumes,

common to that area. It was a natural excuse for a

gathering of friends, who came bringing contributions

of salmon, venison and dried berries for puddings.”

“Time was no object to these happy people.

The first day was a rehearsal of dances and waiting

for others who came from a great distance. The

second day was the Big Day, with all the trimmings of

a great feast, while the third day was a review for latecomers

who welcomed a chance to share the acorn

soup, so symbolic of their way of life. Using

everything that Nature gave them, wasting nothing,

sharing all, and giving thanks.”

Van Allen Murphey, page 18

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Pancakes and Flap Jacks:


Sift together or mix well with a fork:

1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1-1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

Stir in mixing well:

2 egg whites

1-1/2 cups cold milk

2 Tbs. honey

1/3 cup pre-cooked, cooled and strained acorns*

1 Tbs. vegetable oil

Heat griddle only moderately hot. If the griddle is too

high, pancakes will be too mottled with dark and light

patches, if too low, you’ll get pale pancakes that

might be heavy and tough. The “perfect” pancake

will bake quickly and evenly with a smooth goldenbrown

surface. These pancakes have a little bit

different texture, but they are very good. They may

be a bit more moist inside than your usual recipe. Top

with yogurt, maple syrup or fresh fruit like strawberries,

blackberries, blueberries or cherries.

OAK - “any broad-leaved shrub or tree of the

genus Quercus, the largest group in the beech family

(Fagaceae), which includes the beeches (Fagus,

Nothofagus), chestnuts (Castanea), chinquapins

(Castanopis), and tan oaks (Lithocarpus.) More than

400 species, 200 named varieties and forms, and 100

natural hybrids are distributed through the temperate

regions of the Northern Hemisphere and, to a lesser

extent, in the Southern Hemisphere at high elevations

in the Andes Mountains and on mountains of the New

Guinea area. Approximately 80 species are native to

the United States, of which 58 are trees. About 60

species and varieties of tree oaks are native to China.

The British Isles have two native species.”

Encyclopedia Americana Vol. 20, 1988


3 tbl melted butter
3/4 cup milk
2/3 unbleached flour
1 teas bakeing powder
1/3 teas salt
1 tbl honey
1 egg beaten
1/3 cup finley ground leached acorn meal; (*)

Combine dry ingredients. Mix together.. egg & milk then beat into dry
ingredients, forming a smooth batter. Add butter. Drop batter unto hot
greased griddle. Bake turning each cake, when it is browned on
underside,puffed and slightly set on top. makes 12-15 cakes.

(*) Grind acorns. Spread meal 1/2' thick on porous cloth and pour HOT water
over the meal. repeat several times OR boil acorns for 2 HOURS, pour off
Black water. Soak in cold water 3-4 days, then grind into a paste or
pulverize acorns. Allow water to trickle thru meal ( put meal in Muslin bag
and place bag in clear running stream ) for 20 hours. dry & grind again.

A SIMPLE way is to go to any KOREAN asian store or market and buy acorn flour.
Do not buy or use acorn starch for this recipe.


Please let me know if you try out this acorn pancake recipe. Hundreds of people have visited this page since I first posted my recipe, but I've never heard from any of them. I'd love to know what you do for your own acorn pancakes!

Recipe for a perfect Sunday morning: Start with a bowl of softened acorns - removed from their hulls, and boiled until they're leached of tannins.

Most recipes call for roasting the acorns and grinding them into flour, but we simply took the softened acorns and ground them into a moist meal with fingers. (It was much less laborious and, I think, made for a nice pancake.)

Acorn Pancake Recipe:
2 1/4 cups white flour
3/4 cup acorn meal
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 beaten eggs
1 tbsp melted butter
1 1/4 cup milk
1/3 cup applesauce
3/4 tsp vanilla

We mixed these ingredients to combine and then cooked them on a griddle until they were nice and browned on both sides.

The pancakes were incredibly flavorful, earthy, and delicious served with maple syrup. This was just made up on the fly. You may need to add more or less flour or milk depending on how moist your acorns are. It's enough for 3-4 hungry people
Indian Acorn Griddlecakes
2 cups acorn meal1/2 tsp. salt3/4 cup water Preparation: Combine everything and beat to a stiff batter. Let stand for one hour.
Cook: Heat 1 tbsp. of fat or oil in frying pan. Drop batter into pan to form cakes about 3 to 4 inches across. Brown cakes slowly on both sides. These cakes will keep for several days.

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