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Recipes for Acorns and Other Wild Starches

red oak acorns

Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Wild starches are the toughest need for a forager to meet. Greens and fruits are everywhere, but starch can be tough to come by. I’ve begun with acorn recipes, you’ll also find recipes and resources for other wild starches as well, such as wild salsify, arrowhead, sunchokes, cattail and tule tubers — as well as other nuts like the black walnuts, hazelnuts and pine nuts.

If you want to make these recipes, you will need to know about collecting and eating acorns. If acorns are just too weird for you but you want to make something similar, use chestnuts — even canned chestnuts make a good substitute.

Photo by Hank Shaw

The Best Way to Make Acorn Flour

This process makes the best-quality acorn flour I know of. Yes, there are easier methods, but this is the best.
Acorns and the Forager's Dilemma

Acorns and the Forager’s Dilemma

A post on my experiments cooking with acorns. You’ll find a lot of tips on what you can – and can’t – do with acorn flour.
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

The Mechanics of Eating Acorns

This post includes a lot of nuts-and-bolts information about collecting, processing and storing acorns.  


Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Acorn or Chestnut Cake

This is an overview on how other countries use acorns, and the post includes a recipe for an Italian-style acorn flour cake, which is traditionally made with chestnuts.
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Acorn Soup

A luxurious smooth soup made with acorns, dried porcini and brandy, garnished with sour cream and a few slices of grouse or chicken.
Acorn Flatbreads

Acorn Flatbreads

Italian piadine flatbreads – basically flour tortillas – made with a mix of acorn flour and regular flour.
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Acorn Spaetzle

Maybe my favorite thing to do with acorn flour is to make rustic German spaetzle dumplings. They go great with wild game, especially venison and duck.
Photo by Hank Shaw

Acorn Maple Shortbread Cookies

Acorns have no gluten, so they are actually perfect for making shortbread cookies! These are crazy good, and they last in a sealed container for weeks. Great road food…


Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Wild Rice Salad with Mushrooms

Real wild rice is a wonderful thing, very different from typical store-bought cultivated “wild” rice. Either way, though, make this warm salad and you won’t be sad.
Photo by Hank Shaw

All About Hopniss, the American Groundnut

What you need to know to gather, grow and eat what might be America’s best wild tuber.

Farro, Spelt or Whole Wheat Pasta

Not exactly wild, but this is a great pasta dough for wild game dishes that you can sometimes buy in the store, but definitely make yourself from store-bought ingredients.
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Crosnes and Peas

Crosnes or Chinese Artichokes are little starchy-crunchy tubers that look like little Michelin men and taste like water chestnuts.
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Pickled Jerusalem Artichokes

Maybe the best way to eat sunchokes, a/k/a Jerusalem artichokes. Crunchy, zippy and best of all — no farting!
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Salsify Croquette

Salsify or scorzonera a/k/a oyster plant is a cool root vegetable that tastes a bit like artichoke hearts. I love these croquettes — with or without the fancy presentation in this oyster dish.


Photo by Hank Shaw

Harvesting Wild Hazelnuts

This is how I find, collect and harvest wild hazelnuts, which are just like the cultivated ones, only smaller and tastier!
Photo by Hank Shaw

How to Harvest Pinon Pine Nuts

How to find, harvest and process wild American pine nuts – these are the piñon pine nuts of the West, with soft shells you can crack with your teeth as a snack if you want to.
Photo by Hank Shaw

Harvesting Bull Pine Nuts

This post details how to collect and crack the California gray pine nuts, Pinus sabiniana, which are very hard. Gray pines are also called bull or digger pines.
Photo by Hank Shaw

How to Collect, Process, Crack and Store Black Walnuts

The title pretty much says it all. These nuts are tough to crack, but are very much worth it!
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Pickled Walnuts

Pickled walnuts are a classic British condiment, mostly served with cheddar cheese and charcuterie. They also go well with sweet foods, too. You make them with unripe, green walnuts.
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Black Walnut Snowball Cookies

My favorite Christmas cookie! My mom made these with regular walnuts, but I like them better with black walnuts.
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Black Walnut Ice Cream

This is the best black walnut ice cream you will ever eat. Trust me. I have a secret in the recipe…
Photo by Hank Shaw

Black Walnut Parsley Pesto

Walnut and parsley pesto is a classic Italian winter sauce. It’s even better with wild walnuts and parsley from your garden!
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Pine Nut Ice Cream

An Italian specialty, this is a little like the pistachio ice cream you’re used to, only with wild pine nuts.
Photo by Elise Bauer

Pine Nut Rosemary Cookies

It’s a sweet taste of the piney woods. These are awesome cookies made with pine nuts, a little rosemary, and a little acorn flour. Hippie, fer sher, but tasty!

More Recipes for Foraged Foods

4 responses to “Recipes for Acorns and Other Wild Starches”

  1. Paul Cesare

    Dear Mr. Shaw:

    I have read your web site for several items, most recently on acorns. I am attempting to discern if some acorns that I picked up in the autumn are still edible. They appear to be of the black/red oak family. When I gathered them, I put them into our deep freezer to preserve them. I took them out of the freezer a week or so ago and they have been sitting on baking trays in a warm & sunny location in the house. I just started to crack them yesterday and noticed that all of them were black (the nut itself, not the shell). I waited as long as I did to crack them because I’ve read in a lot of places that letting the acorns dry is helpful, but now I wonder if I should have just cracked them immediately upon thawing. My rationale for this is not so much the color, but that many have a mold on the nut. Have those gone to waste? Any way to salvage them? I would covet your thoughts on this. Thank you, in advance.

    Paul Cesare

  2. Christina Mars

    Dear Mr. Shaw,

    It is with great interest that I read your articles on acorns and other starchy food collection.

    I am working on a project on the Southern Coast of South Africa, foraging for local plants that could have satisfied some of the early hominids as addition and or bridging the gap between hunts.

    Plant corms are abundant in this area, however, many of them come with a heavy dose of tannins. Simple leeching in water, as well as cooking up with bases (wood ash and bicarbonate of soda) as well as sprinkling with acid (lemon juice) have not removed the tannins enough to make the foods palatable.

    Oral tradition from local peoples do however include these corms into their diet. Apart from a timeliness of collection (i.e. variability of tannins and other possibly toxic substances according to time of harvest) would you have any other suggestion how to successfully remove the tannins.

    Many thanks,
    Christina Mars

  3. Henry

    Hi, great site by the way! I was wondering if you had any advice on growing potatoes? Any kind of potatoes would be fine. I’m not picky, I’m just trying to keep up a bodybuilder’s diet while hunting, fishing, growing and foraging all of my food.


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