merlin44 Posts: 426 ✭✭✭✭
edited November 2020 in Wild Edibles & Medicinals

Where I'm located in the Ozarks, I have noticed practically no acorns this year. Oaks are plenty on my land and the quantity of acorns vary from year to year. Wondering about the weather ahead, if it indeed will be a harsh winter and how the deer and other wildlife will fare without this staple? How's the acorn harvest where you are?



  • EarlKelly
    EarlKelly Posts: 230 ✭✭✭

    Up here in the northeast pa, there is an abundance of acorns. Been years since I have seen so many on the ground. Wonder if all the rain you have received has anything to do with it. Interesting though.

  • circleoflifeunlimited
    circleoflifeunlimited Posts: 57 ✭✭✭

    Here in the Southern Rockies there are good years and not so good years for acorns. Last year they were abundant. This year not so much. I did gather a bunch of acorns last year, and found that they were full of bugs. Hmmmm.... need to learn more to be able to utilize this amazing food source!

    Anyone know how to harvest acorns successfully?

  • blevinandwomba
    blevinandwomba Posts: 813 ✭✭✭✭

    Plenty of acorns in south central PA!

  • Hassena
    Hassena Posts: 345 ✭✭✭

    Last year we had almost no acorns. There were long dry hot summer. This year we have an abundance of acorns in the Southern Appalachian Mts. We've seen lots of heavy squirrels. Hopefully they can still make it back up in the trees. :)

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,353 admin
    edited November 2019

    PLENTY in the mountains of NC! Few in the sandhills.

  • Linda Bittle
    Linda Bittle Posts: 1,500 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I've not done it myself, but here's an article on how to do it.

  • SuperC
    SuperC Posts: 916 ✭✭✭✭

    @merlin44 here in the midwest MN, the acorns have been getting smaller and some not even developing. I saw a photo that France has huge acorns on a variety of their acorn trees!

  • Obiora E
    Obiora E Posts: 517 ✭✭✭✭

    I have seen some trees with lots of acorns and others with none. I think that the severe drought and high temperatures played a big role in it.

  • maryannfricko
    maryannfricko Posts: 133 ✭✭✭

    Does anyone have a good recipe for acorn bread that is wheat, corn and egg free?

  • hippeastrum99
    hippeastrum99 Posts: 6 ✭✭✭

    How do you know when an acorn is ready to be picked?

  • dottile46
    dottile46 Posts: 437 ✭✭✭

    Here on the north end of the Ozarks we have fewer acorns this year as well. Hubby and I had a brief discussion on it the other day. I wonder if the incredible amount of rain we had gave the tree the idea that "all is good" so it didn't need to set as many seeds on?

    The walnuts and hickories didn't set many nuts either. My tame blackberries didn't do well this year. Last year I got almost 8 gallons off of a handful of plants. This year I got maybe a gallon off of the 8. Maybe the rain washed the pollen away? Maybe the rain kept the pollinators away?

    As for the wildlife that eat these, they may be a big part of their diet but there is still lots of vegetation for them, at least here in our area. It may not be their first choice of food but it will sustain them through the winter.

    @hippeastrum99 I would assume that an acorn would be ready when it falls from the tree. That holds true for walnuts, hickory nuts, pecans, etc.

  • maryannfricko
    maryannfricko Posts: 133 ✭✭✭

    Has anyone actually ground up the acorns to make flour? How hard was it to do? Acorns are very hard so I was concerned.

  • solarnoon.aspen
    solarnoon.aspen Posts: 219 ✭✭✭
    edited December 2019

    I understand that acorn trees are cyclical. Some years they have tons of acorns, others, not so much. May be part of the scenario, made worse by climate change.

    I have done a bit of searching lately about acorn flour. Because the acorn has too much tannin for us, (some varieties more than others, but all have lots) we must leach that out, then make food from it. It seems a lengthy process, however, it is worth it apparently, especially since these trees grow well and produce lots of nuts - for free!! I'm still trying to locate info on the best type of oak for acorns to eat for our area. If I were lucky enough to already have a bearing tree in my yard, I'd happily work with it. If not, there are many varieties to choose from if you are starting from scratch as I am. Here's a link I found that describes the process of making acorn flour:

  • VickiP
    VickiP Posts: 586 ✭✭✭✭

    Mother Earth News has a good article on Oaks and Acorns, the writer talks about the fluctuation in the acorn production. I have tried eating them. I collected a bunch and ground them up, very bitter. Then I tried all the ways I could find for washing the tannin out but I never could get them to any state of edibility. I believe they were Red Oaks. Maybe I would have had more success with the white. As for bugs, I just didn't look because I know they almost all have a little worm in them, protein. That is covered in the above article. Again, I wonder if the type of acorn would have an effect on that.

  • Marjory Wildcraft
    Marjory Wildcraft Posts: 1,583 admin

    Fuper simple acorn flat bread.

    My personal fave... because it is so easy and simple I'll actually do it LOL

    Use the drained but wet acorn meal (after rinsing out the tannins), and note that all these are approximate quantities.

    2 cups of wet (but not soaking) acorn meal

    2 large eggs

    2 T maple syrup

    Pinch of salt

    2 T butter

    (additional options are 1 tsp vanilla and/or 1/2 t cinnamon)

    Mix the acorn meal, eggs, and maple syrup in a bowl. Add in any options :)

    Put the butter in a frying pan on medium high until the butter starts bubbling. Ladle the acron meal mix into the pan to make pancakes. Cover and let set for about 4 or 5 mintues on medium. Use a spatula to turn the flat cakes over, cover and let cook an additional 4 to 5 minutes.

    You may need to cook a little more just flipping as needed.


    Serves a hungry Marjory - ha, ha, yes I tend to pig out on them (grin). But it's a lot.

    Hmm, you know, I am about to process a big batch of acrons which will be ready in a few days. I'll take photos and post up for you.

  • Marjory Wildcraft
    Marjory Wildcraft Posts: 1,583 admin

    Hi @VickiP

    Red oaks do have a LOT more tannins than white oaks.

    And if is surprising how much you have to rinse them (repeatedly) to get most for the tannins out.

    I use a blender to maky my meal sor of fine - about like ground corn meal or grits?

    But for the food source from the wild, it is much easier to rinse these tannins out that most other wild food processing. Harvesting is certainly easy.

  • Marjory Wildcraft
    Marjory Wildcraft Posts: 1,583 admin
    edited December 2019

    @merlin44 Where ever I travel I go out looking for wild foods - usually while taking a jog.

    I was in Dallas recently (we are scouting a new fulfillment company) and I came back to the AirBnb with big bags of red oak acorns. I run through the neighborhoods and there were lots of acorns. Maybe 'cause those trees get tended much better than more wild ones?

    Then because I had a lot of the TGN staff there, I put them to work! I think @Ruth Reyes-Loiacano was concerned it was forced labor, ha, ha. But we had @Nikki Follis @Linzi and Mr. @Jimerson there.

    We were watching Scott Sextons presentation on acorn processing from last years Summit - @Scott Sexton , with red oak acorns, it just isn't' "quick".

  • VickiP
    VickiP Posts: 586 ✭✭✭✭

    I remember one foraging book I read suggested coarsely grinding the acorns the placing them in sack, sealing it shut and submersing that in a running creek or brook. I believe he said for several days. Then take them out, pat them into flat cakes, let those dry and when you wanted to cook with them grind the dried cakes into flour. Whew. At the time I tried processing them I lived with a cistern and a dug well so putting them in running water was out of the question. I gave up. Now I do have a little stream I could stick them in so that may be worth a try. We also did not have much of a crop this year but some years they are thick, so maybe next time.

  • maryannfricko
    maryannfricko Posts: 133 ✭✭✭

    Thanks for posting the recipe for acorn bread. I hope to try it at some point. I no longer live near a tree with acorns, so I will have to find another source.

  • SherryA
    SherryA Posts: 314 ✭✭✭

    We have lots of acorns here in Lincoln, NE. The bluejays love them.

  • deborahsolheim
    deborahsolheim Posts: 6 ✭✭✭

    Anybody have info on antioxidant properties of the tannins? Not remembering where, but I read somewhere that tannins, or a component of tannins, has antioxidant properties.

    I gathered many red acorns from the local city park here in Portland, Oregon. After removing them from their shells, followed the boil-drain and repeat and repeat and repeat method. Was surprised at the remaining tannins and gave up on the more boiling. I've got them in the freezer now and not sure I'll eat them. I read somewhere that tannins, or a component of tannins, has antioxidant properties.

  • Leslie Carl
    Leslie Carl Posts: 255 ✭✭✭✭

    We live near Charlotte, NC and there's a huge oak tree growing in front of the house. Each year it drops huge acorns. This year was no exception. We moved here from Nevada and I had never seen acorns this big before! Good to know that I might be able to utilize them for food.

    When I was a child, we use to gather up the fallen acorns and play king of the hill, using them as ammo. I tried grinding some up on a rock like I saw in some pictures of indians making flour with them. When I tried tasting them, Yuck! They were terribly bitter! I never tried it again. Maybe, with all this great information, I can give it another try and come out with something edible. 🙂