Autumn leaves and oak acorns.

How to Prepare and Eat Acorns

Excerpted from: How to Prepare and Cook Acorns
Excerpted from: Acorn Cake and Acorns Around The World

Are squirrels and woodpeckers onto something?

In fact, they are! Acorns are extremely nutritious and readily available in nature, making them a healthy addition to many recipes. Acorns offer healthy levels of carbohydrates, protein, and fiber. Surprisingly, they are also a good source of Vitamins A and C.

  How to Collect Acorns

Children gathering acorns in the woods.

When gathering acorns, look for brown, fully mature acorns that still have their caps, as those without caps are more susceptible to infestation by worms and other critters.

Green acorns are not yet mature and shouldn’t be used. If you’re willing to wait, consider harvesting acorns this year and storing them in a cool, dry place until next fall, when they’ll be fully dried and easier to work with.

  How to Clean Acorns

  Give acorns a quick rinse in cool water. Place them in a pot or bowl and fill it with water, then remove and dispose of any floating acorns, as they have likely gone bad.

  Place the acorns in a colander and run them under the tap for a minute or two to dislodge any loose dirt or hitchhiking bugs.

  Set the colander aside to let the acorns air-dry, or simply dry them by hand with a dish towel.

  Remove the shells and caps from your acorns with a nutcracker (or a hammer, if necessary). Do not eat the raw meat of the acorns yet.

Raw acorns contain tannins which can be toxic to humans and cause an unpleasant bitter taste. Leaching acorns removes the tannin, they can be made safe for human consumption.

  How to Leach Acorns

Acorns contain bitter-tasting tannins, so you must prepare, treat, and cook the nuts before you eat them. It sounds like a pain, but it’s really not that difficult.

  Start two pots of water boiling. Drop the raw, shell-less acorns into one pot and boil until the water is the color of strong tea.

  Strain the nuts through a colander and drop the strained nuts into the second pot of boiling water.

  Discard the dark water from the first pot, then refill it and bring the water to a boil again.

  Repeat the process without interruption (do not let the acorns cool) until the water boils clear. This may take an hour or more, depending on the variety of acorn.

  Alternatively, you can soak the raw acorns in cold water to leach the tannins out.

  Change the water when it turns a darker color. This process may take several days, depending on how long it takes for all the tannins to leach out of the acorn meat.

  Acorn Recipes

Roasted Acorns

Grey Squirrel. Sciurus carolinensis. sitting on a log with an acorn in its mouth..

  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

  Pour the acorns into a single layer on an ungreased, rimmed cookie sheet.

  Cook the nuts for about 60 minutes or until they turn a chocolate brown color.

  Remove the acorns from the oven and let them cool. Salt to taste.

Acorn Flour

When partially dry, coarse grind a few acorns at a time in a blender. Spread the ground acorns to dry on cookie sheets, then grind again in a blender. Repeat until you are left with a flour or corn meal like substance.

You can freeze your fresh acorn meal or you can store dried flour in jars in the fridge.

Acorn Flour Honey Cake

½ cup olive oil ½ tsp baking powder
½ cup acorn flour ½ tsp baking soda
½ cup all-purpose flour ¼ tsp salt
¼ cup toasted and chopped pine nuts 3 separated eggs
½ cup honey ¼ tsp sugar
Confectioners' sugar (dusting) Butter (greasing pans)


1. Grease the springform pan or ramekins. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Mix the acorn flour, wheat flour, baking soda and powder and salt in a bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in another large bowl, beat the egg yolks, oil, honey and 2 tablespoons of sugar together until it looks like caramel. Mix in the dry ingredients.

3. In another bowl, add the egg whites and just a pinch of salt and beat into soft peaks. Add the remaining sugar and beat a bit more, so the whites are reaching the firm peak stage.

4. Fold this into the dough a little at a time gently. Pour, or really gently place, the dough into the ramekins (remember they will rise!) or the springform pan. Using a rubber spatula flatten out the top and place in the oven as fast as you can.

5. Bake for about 30 minutes. After 20 minutes, watch for burning, as acorn flour browns. Remove from the oven, let rest 5 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool.

6. When they have cooled for a good 15-20 minutes or so, dust with the confectioner’s sugar.

Acorn Pancakes

one egg ½ cup cornmeal
1 tsp salad oil ½ cup white flour
1 tsp honey or sugar 2 tsp double action baking powder
½ cup acorn flour ½ tsp salt
½ cup milk


1. Break egg into bowl and add all ingredients, beating to create a batter.

2. If batter is too thick, thin with additional milk.

3. Pour batter onto hot, greased griddle and cook slowly until brown.

4. Flip to brown opposite side.

5. Serve with butter and syrup or jam

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