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Acorns, Nuts 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 acorns, but I plan on adding recipes for other wild starches as well, such as wild salsify, arrowhead, sunchokes, cattail and tule tubers — as well as other nuts like the black walnut.

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 Hank Shaw

Acorn Pasta and the Mechanics of Eating Acorns

This post includes a lot of nuts-and-bolts information about collecting, processing and storing acorns. At the end is a recipe for pasta dough made with some acorn flour.

MORE ON 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.
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…

 OTHER STARCHY THINGS

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.

NUTS

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

Wild Pine Nuts, a Labor of Love

I love collecting pine nuts, but some are better than others. This post details how to collect and crack the California gray pine nuts, which are 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 Veggie Recipes

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9 responses to “Acorns, Nuts and Other Wild Starches”

  1. Acorn gnocchi | Cauldrons and Crockpots

    [...] HAGC’s acorn recipe page [...]

  2. On acorns — Starving off the Land

    [...] luminaries like Euell “Try Anything “ Gibbons of Stalking the Wild Asparagus and Hank Shaw of Hunter Angler Gardener Cook say you can make delicious things out of acorns.Acorns, beforeFirst, you collect them and remove the [...]

  3. Acorns & Good Times Bread « Frequently Found Growing On Disturbed Ground

    [...] Shaw’s extraordinary list of tried and tested acorn [...]

  4. Holm oak acorns (Quercus ilex) and a crack at the forager’s carb conundrum « The Forager's Year

    [...] I came up with a fairly random experimental approach (mainly from here and pages on the same blog, here and here and (surprisingly from a fellow-Australian) here). The big challenge, and probably the big [...]

  5. Trädquiz och ekollon-te | linneaus

    [...] är Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook. Här lärde jag mig nyligen allt jag någonsin velat veta om ekolllon och dess tillberedning. Bland annat finns det recept på hur man rostar och mal ekollon till ett mjöl som man kan [...]

  6. Morgan Halla

    Wow. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. Is this website part of a really cool dream that I’m having right now? I’m writing to ask about bay laurel nuts. I’ve read that Native Americans ate them, so I tried them out. I toasted them on the stove top until they were toasty brown. They were pretty good except they left a strong bay laurel burn at the back of my throat. Do you have any experience with them?
    Thanks again,
    Morgan

  7. Angelique

    Thank you for all of the wonderful information. Have you tried to leach acorns with kombucha or water kefir? I’m almost tempted to give this a try. I also wonder how or if acorns could be preserved by lacto-fermentation. I would greatly appreciate any advice or feedback that you can share.

  8. heather

    Have you worked with yellow dock flour?

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