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100 responses to “Acorn Pasta and the Mechanics of Eating Acorns”

  1. druid ozone

    ‘heroes of old, when fed with oaken mast, the great trees themselves, in years surpassed’ poem from 14th century england implying extended lifespan, if not heroism

  2. Jennifer Aitkens

    Hank – thanks for the great info on acorns! Re how to crack the shells, I was playing around with feeding red oak acorns to the birds and discovered that an old-fashioned aluminum garlic press did the job. This press is like a little box with a grid for the garlic to come through and a metal press that comes down on the nut. I think the reason it works better than a nutcracker is because the box holds keeps the nut from deforming as the press comes down on it. (if that isn’t clear, let me know and I can flip you a pic of the press with an acorn in it).

    BTW, there was so much oil in these nuts that just leaving a line of 6 or so cracked nuts on the deck stained a 1-sq ft area! What a mess!

  3. john e

    Great article, thank you so much! I’ve seen the usual acorn bread and pancake recipes, but acorn soba noodles…oh my, thanks again

  4. Nuts About Acorns | Are We There Yet?

    […] Acorn Pasta […]

  5. Joe T

    Dear Hank,

    I had a question regarding Valley Oak acorns. I’ve head on other gathering blogs that, unlike either acorns, you do not need to leach them before you roast and grind them. Would you recommend leaching them or not leaching them?

  6. Joe T


    Sorry, another quick question.

    What kind of regulations are there on acorn gathering? Are you only allowed to gather a certain amount/number per season?

  7. Rick Dusenbury

    Koreans make a product called Mook from acorns. It is processed like a flour, but can be made by putting the acorns in the blender with a little water after leaching with water pouring off the brown water.The mixture is allowed to sit in a large bowl to separate the Mook from the water. It is then filtered several times and put into bowls or vessels to solidify into a gelatin like consistency, sliced and eaten with hot pepper powder mixed with sesame oil and garnished with green onions. Primarily the oaks used are the scrub oaks in western Washington that have big seasons and seasons with little or no acorns. 2012 was a bountiful harvest.

  8. Terry

    This is my first time roasting acorns. I live in Mobile Alabama. I have 3 white oaks all over 400 years old. This year is a bumper crop of acorns. I soaked mine for 4 days changing the water twice a day. I just shelled them, boiled them in lite sugar water & I’m roasting them 350 deg. for a hour. Mine didn’t have the caps on them, but the squirrels make most of them drop & I didn’t find a lot with worms. If there are worms in them, and are accidently eaten after they’ve been boiled & roasted, can they make you sick / harmful to a person? Also, can you eat them just boiled? I tasted one & it was pretty good. Kind’a like a boiled peanut.

    it seems like the worms couldn’t harm you. They’re gross, I’ll give ya that.

  9. megan blu

    try using tanin waters for tannning hides :) once you drain water off, add the discarded shelld and make a tea of them. ……waste not want not….

  10. How to Eat Acorns: Video Part 2 « First Ways

    […] Hank Shaw on “Acorn Pasta” […]

  11. Why Foraging for Food (and Eating Acorns) is So Very Satisfying | Heartlines

    […] Why acorns? Acorns are starchy and also contain B Vitamins, Fats, Manganese, and Potassium. Carb scarcity in foraging situations is apparently the “primary reason why humans settled down 10,000 years ago to grow grain.” […]

  12. Recipe Box: Acorn Flour | Jon Schelander-Pugh

    […] • – This entire blog is one of my new favorites. It has delicious-looking recipes for foraged/hunted/grown food with great photography. This particular post was the one that got me thinking about making acorn flour. So much great background info plus a recipe for acorn pasta. […]

  13. Robin

    I am wondering why you recommend NOT doing the hot water method if you are turning the acorns into flour. Thx

  14. angela

    I am making wreaths from my acorns that I gathered in Kissimmee FL and they are so oily that they will not stick to any glue onto any surface!! Any suggestions? P.S……these wreaths (7) are for this christmas…only a handful of days away!!!

  15. Wild Food: Acorn Pancakes « Check Your Premises

    […] are different processes for leaching out the bitter tannins from the nut meat. Some require boiling, other just soaking in […]

  16. TasteofBeirut

    A fellow blogger send me the link to your website; I had posted a story a few days ago on a lady farmer I know in Lebanon who made acorn coffee while living as a refugee in another town during the civil war. I wanted to try this coffee and collected a bunch of acorns. I found them easy to peel so I guess it is not the same variety that grows in North America. I need to find out what these trees are called here and compare. Interesting article, thanks! (very interesting site too, I am bookmarking!)

  17. Petra

    Hi, what a wonderful article! I’m trying to do this at the moment: I have been leaching the roughly chopped acorns for a couple of weeks now, changing the water every second day or so.Today I ground them up, rinsed some more and now got them sitting in a baking tray over our fireplace. As they are drying they are starting to smell of chlorine! We’re on rain water, so it can’t be from the water and was wondering if I need to leach some more? TIA

  18. Plum and acorn custard tart : Cauldrons & Crockpots

    […] And as far as acorn flour goes, check out Hank’s article on the matter here. […]

  19. Barbara

    Hi there! Great read thank you. As I live in the countryside of Holland, Europe, in a street 5 mile long with 5 mile of oaks on both sides, I,d be a fool not asking if these acorns can also be used?
    Can any acorn be used?
    Thanks for taking the time answering this question!

  20. Taking people that other love | /////Queen Of The Mountain Top\\\

    […] how I do not know…. or maybe just sugar glaze them as a walnut substitute. Sure enough as Hank Shaw said (after I cracked some open and read) they were filled with itty bitty maggotty worms that had […]

  21. NUTS! » Preparing With Dave

    […] Acorns are another widely available source of foragable food. Bitter Tannins in the acorn have to be released in water or you can become nauseous or constipated.  Here is an excellent source of information on processing and using acorns: Acorn Processing and Using […]

  22. Abundance from Above | Full Moon Folk Medicine

    […] The acorns are falling! All along the trails I’m finding them still fuzzy with their protective coat. I love collecting  them, and seeing how each tree has its own beautiful acorns with their own unique characteristics. There is something so satisfying with returning home with pockets full of these precious seeds. Where I live we have forests full of Tan oaks. The Pomo native american group who made Sonoma home had their own name for the Tan oak “Cheech calie” meaning beautiful tree. Tan oak acorns are prized for their storing capability due to their high tannin level. To process these jewels you will want to leach out the bitter and astringent tannins. This website has some great info on how to do so: […]

  23. Wild Food: How To Make Acorn Meal | Check Your Premises
  24. Nicole

    Pliers work really well to shell the acorns.
    After 5 changes of boiling water, the acorns here seemed pretty mild, but I think I may have roasted them a little long so they are quite dark. Pleased for a first try, though.

  25. Patricia A

    I don’t actually have a great deal of fridge space. And – I have about a bushel of really sweet acorns. I had believed that I could dry these – turning frequently in the air – and keep them in the shells until I needed them???? My intent was to do this – then do the pulverizing/leaching/drying as I wanted flour to use… Do you see a problem with this practice? Thanks! Lots of forage and have to multi-task my space.

  26. Robin Smith

    Patricia A- I am native American and most of the people I know as well as myself store our acorns in their shells until we want to use them.

  27. Acorns are Awesome | Wings, Worms, and Wonder

    […] Here’s a recipe to make some simple acorn pasta […]

  28. Sarah S.

    I’ve been wanting to try acorns for a long time. After reading through your articles on acorns I’m finally going to try it. I gathered around three pounds yesterday and am starting them today. I’m going to do the cold water leach method because I want to make them into flour to use for the rustic themed Thanks Giving that my family is doing this year. Thank you for all of the great information!! :)

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    […] de moderne jager-verzamelaar Hank Shaw een gedetailleerde introductie over het eten van eikels en een paar creatieve recepten op de koop […]

  30. Megan

    Hi. Just stumbled across your site while trying to figure out if all these acorns in our backyard are edible, and I’m so glad I came here! Great articles. Question for you about this recipe and your other acorn flour recipes: Have you ever tried (and had good luck) subbing other flours for the all-purpose flours, wheat flours, etc., in these recipes? I have a gluten sensitivity. Just wondering how forgiving/flexible of a flour acorn flour is when mixed with other GF flours. Perhaps if I experimented with arrowroot or tapioca flour…

  31. Valerie Jabir

    Just moved into a house (I live in Auckland, New Zealand) with two varieties of oak: English and Spanish. The Spanish are evergreen. Great article, thanks. I will try to make some flour.
    I have heard that acorn meal has a low GI and is very good for diabetics. Anyone got any comments on how satisfying this flour is, compared with wheat?

  32. Dan


  33. Cooking With Acorns | Calumet Quarter

    […] Acorn Pasta and the Mechanics of Eating Acorns […]

  34. Karen

    Hi, this looks great, and almost what I’m looking for. I’m trying to develop a recipe for pasta using locally sourced or gathered ingredients. I’m look for a reasonable substitute for the white flour and semolina. Maybe powdered kudzu or sassafras leaves? Big order, I know! lol…


  35. Charles Coleman

    could acorns be toxic to small dogs?

  36. Wolf

    For shelling, I use “dikes,” or diagonal cutting pliers. They’re a bit like tin-snips, but have a much shorter, more powerful blade. Usually used for cutting thick-gauged wire. I like them because instead of trying to crack or crush the shell, dikes cut through it like scissors. Solves the problem of having that resilient shell. Probably the closest tool you’ll get compared to squirrel-teeth!

    By the way, cold leaching sounds like a bit of a pain, but it really isn’t, and it definitely yields the best flavor! I just use buckets of water left in the bathtub and change every 12 hours–right after I feed the cats, so it’s just one more “chore.”

  37. Orris

    Don’t really know what kind of Oak I have, but these things are huge. They are a smidge over and inch long and heavy. I’m going out now to try and collect more. Thanks for the article. I collected my rose hips earlier and now I’m off to the oaks!

  38. Elizabeth

    Great blog! I am currently teaching my two sons how to forage. We started with pecans. My husband told me today he wants to forage acorns, so here I am. Very useful information. Thank you! Look for a link back to your site in my upcoming post on acorns at

  39. Goran

    Acorns had been eaten by humans since at least late Paleolithic times right up to modern times. In this post I give overview of archaeological evidence we have for human consumption of acorns during the Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, Copper age, Bronze age and Iron age. I hope you find the data presented in this post as eye opening as I did find it, and that you will start seeing acorns in a completely different light from now on.

    You can read more here:

  40. Jenny Guitar

    We have an oak tree in the yard and my 6-year-old chef collected hundreds of acorns. When he began shelling them, we were disappointed to find that they were all empty! A few had a little black thing that didn’t seem to be a worm. What is going on with our acorns?

  41. Andrew

    Any tips on making the acorn pasta gluten free? Would something like Pamela’s Artisan flour be a good substitute for the all-purpose wheat flour in your recipe?

  42. R.C. Pohl

    After I harvest and shell acorns I put them into the blender with water(in batches) and gring them up…I get some cheesecloth to line the inside of the old applesauce-making upside down cone thingy with holes that sits on a tripod stand…you can find these in thrift stores..I put the entire thing in my bathtub and run cool water through it to leach out the tannins.About 10 minutes should be enough…The acorn meal smells slightly sweet-ish and a bit maple-y…It makes a delicious bread similar to corn bread…Very simple…

  43. Jameson

    I believe white oak has just as much tannin as red but does not contain the amount of enzymes that allow the tongue to taste it as strongly. I recommend leaching them the same amount as red ones, else you may not be doing your liver or kidneys any favors. Tannin is quite toxic in large quantities. Leaching takes time but is well worth it. Acorns are tasty and safe if prepared right!

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