Recipes for Acorns and Other Wild Starches

red oak acorns in a bowl
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Find It Fast


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.

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A bowl of finished acorn flour

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.

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acorn grits leaching

Acorn Grits

Sometimes you don’t want acorn flour. Sometimes you want pieces a bit larger. Here’s how to make acorn grits.

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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.

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red oak acorns

The Mechanics of Eating Acorns

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

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Acorn muffins cooling on a rack.

Acorn Muffins

I love these acorn muffins. Made with both acorn flour and some acorn grits, they are like a bran muffin, only better.

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acorn flour cake

Acorn Cake and Acorns Around the World

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.

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A bowl of acorn soup with slices of grouse.

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.

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Acorn Flatbreads

Italian piadine flatbreads – basically flour tortillas – made with a mix of acorn flour and regular flour.

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Acorn spatzle with pigeon on a plate

Acorn Spätzle

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.

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acorn cookies make like shortbread

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…

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Other Starchy Things


Apios americana, hopniss

Contemplating Hopniss, the American Groundnut

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

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bowl of camas bulbs

Blue Camas and Other Edible Bulbs

Identifying, harvesting and processing edible wild bulbs, which are staples to native peoples.

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Wild rice pilaf on a plate

Wild Rice 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.

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How to make spaghetti alla chitarra

Spaghetti alla Chitarra

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.

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Finished crosnes recipe, with peas

Maybe It’s a Tuber: Crosne

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

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sunchoke pickle recipe

Pickled Jerusalem Artichokes

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

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oyster mushroom, oyster plant, pickled oyster recipe

Oyster! Oyster! Oyster!

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.

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cooked camas bulbs

Cooking Blue Camas

Blue camas is a staple bulb of a wildflower eaten by native peoples in the west of the US and Canada. Here’s how to cook it properly.

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dried wild hazel nuts

How to Harvest Hazelnuts

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

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Pinus monophylla nuts

How to Harvest 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.

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cracked pine nuts

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.

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Black Walnuts and Holiday Cheer

The title pretty much says it all. These nuts are tough to crack, but are very much worth it!

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pickled walnuts recipe

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.

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walnut snowball cookies recipe

Black Walnut Snowball Cookies

My favorite Christmas cookie! My mom made these with regular walnuts, but I like them better with black walnuts.

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black walnut ice cream recipe

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…

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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!

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pine nut ice cream recipe

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.

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pine nut cookies

Pine Nut 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!

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