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40 responses to “The Best Way to Make Acorn Flour”

  1. Dawn | KitchenTravels

    Hey Hank – thanks for the updated info. I’ve always wanted to make acorn flour. One of these days! Also, here’s a suggestion: paint strainer bags from the hardware store would work really well for this type of thing. We use them to strain out the ground nuts when making nut milks. And at around $1.25 a pop, you can’t beat the price.

  2. Sue

    Hi Hank,

    I have 5 Black Oaks on my proeprty and am looking forward to trying this recipe out. Thanks for providing it.

    Sue

  3. Kate

    What are some of the things you make with acorn flour? Is it similar to almond flour?

  4. Wendy

    Thanks for the acorn research. Now that I have moved back to California I am excited to make acorn flour. Is there a particular reason the you specify leaching in glass rather than plastic? Do the tannins react with plastic? I have plenty of plastic that size but no glass..though I have been thinking about kimchi as well..

  5. MikeW

    We’re buying a house and it has two enormous oak trees. Time to try acorn flour.

  6. Marie

    Would the tannin leaching process work on horse chestnuts? We have several in our neighborhood and I just hate not doing something with the big, glossy nuts each fall. Thanks!

  7. TomT

    Hank — This reminded me of one of my boyhood favorite books — My Side of the Mountain. The boy in the story learns to make acorn pancakes and they become a treat for special occasions. Love reading about this. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Side_of_the_Mountain

  8. janetpesaturo

    Thanks, Hank – a very interesting read. I use the boiling with several changes of water technique, don’t bother to dry it, and use it as a coarse meal rather than a flour. It comes out yellowish, never dark brown.

    Rather than storing the flour, we use it immediately for breads, etc., that we make with the acorn meal, and store them in the freezer. But I guess it makes sense to use your technique if you make a large quantity of flour for long term storage. We also throw all kinds of acorns (white, red, black) into the same mix (I’m a fairly lazy forager).

    Thanks!

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  10. Neil

    Cool post. When I was young, an old Pomo Indian woman explained to me how to her people traditionally processed acorns. It was probably the old school version of how Kathy and her family do it. I was fascinated and still am but had never actually gone out and done it. It was a whole lot simpler, but the simplicity is one of the reasons I never did it. According to her, they dug a hole in the ground to leach them, and a mortise and pestle to grind the flour. So a little modernized version might actually be a help to me.

  11. Michael Greenberg

    I keep meaning to do this. But speaking of tannins, there has been some extremely exciting science news lately: French researchers discovered the “tannosome”, a new (to us) kind of organelle found in plant cells that’s responsible for the production of tannin. (See, for example, .)

    It kind of boggles the mind that this is something that science didn’t already figure out, considering the pervasiveness of tannins in plants. But: very cool!

  12. Michael Greenberg

    Hmm…for some reason, the URL didn’t post. One more try: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/food-matters/2013/09/20/tannosomes-and-the-trickle-around-effect/. If that doesn’t work, googling “tannosome” will find the article, if you’re interested.

  13. Sue Newell

    Chris S, the only plants that make gluten proteins are wheat, rye, and barley (including all the forms or wheat). Gluten in any other type of product comes from those cereals or cross-contamination.

  14. Alice

    Ever try making madeleines with acorns? I’ve had good luck with a recipe using skinned and ground almonds, whipped egg whites, some orange flower water… no wheat flour or baking soda. Fairly roughly ground almonds from an old fashioned nut grinder of the sort clamped to a table. I still remember how shocked I was they came out light and fluffy. Hmm. I just started to process a bunch of valley and live oak acorns. Maybe a maple flavor to the “gingerbready” acorns? Do you get that ginger-y flavor without roasting the acorns?

    FWIW: From the lower SF Bay Area word is the local Ohlone people cracked open the dried acorns by holding them pointy side down on a flat rock and lightly tapping the top flat end with a small stone. I tried that and it works like a charm. No hammer needed.

  15. Annie Carvalho

    Here is the process my grandmother taught me. Our way of shelling the acorns seems a lot simpler?
    http://oakmistgrove.blogspot.com/2013/10/making-acorn-flour.html

  16. Jennifer

    My folks have a Burr oak in their backyard. I collected some 50lbs so far. Any idea how those and on nutrition, ie, starchy, oily, or high protein? I am just about done with my first batch but I was having trouble finding stats on them.

  17. Brian Z

    One of your last comments reminds me of something that I realized about our modern agriculture and processing techniques. For one, very few people realize the actual energy input required to obtain say a pound of flour. Secondly, I believe our evolutionary physiological growth/adaptation has not nearly caught up to how quickly our methods and thoughts have evolved. Put another way, not terribly long ago on the scale of human existence a greater amount of personal energy input, directly or indirectly, would have been required from most of us to obtain a pound of flour. We have tapped the stores of our planets energy and translated it into our rapid expansion and growth. This comes with a cost that must be balanced. And while much of this is what many would consider to be “good” growth, it needs the temperance and reflection of our past to equalize and ensure our future.

  18. All About Acorn Flour | A Gluten-Free and Wheat-Free Flour | Spicie Foodie

    […] interested there is so much information about it online. This website is the best place to start, Honest-Food.net. Hank has several articles on foraging for acorns, making flour from them and some great acorn […]

  19. Heidi Swets

    Hi Hank! I have many English Oaks lining our lane. This year I collected a bunch, and, not being able to process them right away, I wanted to keep them from spoiling, so I put them in the oven to dry in the shells, just on the pilot light (less than 100 degress). Now I am beginning to shell them and some are dark brown. Is this just a color change that comes from the slow drying (I kept putting them in and out of the oven, whenever I could, on cookie sheets.) They were soooo hard after shelling that I couldn’t crack them in my coffee grinder as I had hoped to, before leaching, so I gave up and just started cold leaching, changing the water several times a day. Now they are softening, and I think I might grind them up some. After leaching, I’m planning to roast them, in pieces, for making Acorn Chai. How long should I leach them? I’m assuming until the water no longer is brown or brownish.

  20. KT

    Wouldn’t it be much easier to soak them whole, then re-dry them, then ground them?

  21. the blooming gardener

    I finished our first try at doing this and everything has worked out excellent. Thank you Hank! Next fall, we’ll do it again but probably do it faster, and sooner, we had alot of moldy ones…and had to toss those.

  22. Aussie Spud

    KT asked: Wouldn’t it be much easier to soak them whole, then re-dry them, then ground them?

    Yes, easier KT, but you’d have to soak for many days to allow the tannin to leech out, for each of many changes of water. Grinding the nuts first allows you to hasten the leeching process.

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  24. LB

    How many acorns did you use? I’m trying to figure out how much to oder. I’d like to make 3 loaves of bread.

  25. Donna Spudis

    Hey, Hank,
    Great article. I have tried making acorn flour before but was unsuccessful. We are trying again. We brought in a bunch of acorns and they sprouted while sitting in a bucket on the kitchen floor. Is the sprouting because of the warmth? Can you use sprouted acorns to make flour?
    Donna

  26. Jenn

    Hey Hank,

    I’m collecting acorns today and I can’t wait to get started on making flour. Do the acorns need to dry out before hulling like walnuts? If so, for how long? I really love this site and your books. Thanks for sharing.

    Jenn

  27. Middle World Witch

    I made a newbie mistake, I guess: my fingers turned progressively blacker as I shelled the acorns. The consensus on several carpentry forums I searched re. how to remove staining on the hands from oak tannins is that one should just try to avoid it in the first place. Apparently the tannins bind to a protein in human skin and it doesn’t come off until the skin sloughs or *wears* off as part of the body’s natural processes. I’ll certainly wear gloves next time.

  28. Clyde Myers

    Hi Hank. I can’t seem to make this work. I have gone through yours and Sam Thayer’s instructions, but my red oak acorns always take over two weeks to leach changing water 1-2 times daily and by that time the meal has turned brown, and often spoils. Honestly, I could live with the color but all that work for so much spoilage is a real bummer. Any insight would be greatly appreciated, thanks!

  29. Cenaturimus

    Hey, I just discovered your blog. Thank you for this excellent post!
    I never saw acorns like these in Europe/Austria. But no wonder, if they are from endemic Californian Oaks ;-)
    In most European parts we mainly have Quercus robur. But I’m pretty sure, it’s acorns can be used the same way and your post inspired me, trying it out.
    As far as I know, here, acorns were mainly used as substitute coffee (I heard, the german noun “ersatz” even made it into English. Do you really still use this word? Or has it strict “war” connotations?”)
    You (English-speakers) might like a common German name for this substitute coffee: Muckefuck
    (Like the small village “Fucking” in Austria ;-))

    Thanks again and I will definitely visit your blog more often. I find it fascinating reading of food, wild edibles and flora from different parts of the world.

    Cenaturimus

  30. Erik

    Yes, up here in the Nordic countries the English oak, Quercus Robur, is the only native species… some individuals of other types, probably all “white” oaks, might be found planted in parks. The good news is that I think tgeir tannin content is low to moderate (I tasted a bit of a raw acorn today, and it barely tasted bitter at all), and supposedly many of the parasites and diseases that affect oaks don’t exist here.

    I picked a couple of handfuls to experiment, and was hoping to just toast them to be eaten as nuts, in halves or as crushed/chopped acorns for use in baking, like you can get almonds/hazelnuts/walnuts in stores. Any tips? Most of your and other people’s stuff concentrates on acorn meal/flour… my current plan is to shell, then crush, boil out the tannins, then toast them in the oven.

  31. Cedar

    Thanks so much for this. I got a bit lazy last year, and hot-processed my acorns, and I regretted it as soon as I took the first bite of my acorn bread. Still good, but just not MAGICALLY good, the way cold-filtered acorn flour is. It’s definitely worth the bit of extra trouble to process the acorns the way you describe here – this year I’m cold processing. I’m not in this for the convenience anyway! Thanks and enjoy.

  32. Deanna

    Thank you for writing this! I’ll be trying it out next summer. I have a question, I got a little confused about this tip you posted:
    “Tip: Let the water in the bowl settle for 1 hour. Carefully pour off the water and you will see a layer of what looks like beige house paint or melted coffee ice cream. This is acorn starch and fat. Use a spatula to scrape it into the container you are drying your acorns in.”
    Do you mean I can mix it back into the meal that was just strained and let it dry all together?

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