Acorns can be found beneath southern California Oak trees in the mid to late fall. Acorns have been the staple food source for early Californians for thousands of years, and therefore, an important food to know how to prepare. Generally November/December is the perfect time to gather acorns in Southern California. Remember to harvest in appropriately designated areas and only what you need. Leave the rest for the animals who depend on acorns as their food source. Most state & county parks have a “no gathering” policy.
Our local Acorns contain tannic acid that must be leached before eating. (Tannic acid causes stomach aches.) One traditional way of leaching out the tannins was to set the cracked and pealed acorns in a basket and leave them in the creek for 3 days. We do it a little different now. Directions for LEACHING acorns: Crack and open the acorns and remove the nuts. Grind the nuts (by hand or in the blender) to a fine meal. Place the finely ground nuts in the center of a towel sitting in a strainer or in a nut milk bag. Place under the faucet and rinse with a slow, steady stream of water, stopping occasionally to squeeze the towel or bag and observe the color of outflow. It will start out milky tan and become more clear. When clear, taste a few small grains. If the bitterness is no longer there, the tannic acids are leached, and it is ready to cook with.
Leaching with this method may take 30 minutes or more depending on the type of acorns.
*There are many leaching techniques, and recipes for using acorns. To satiate your curiosity, check out
1 cup mashed acorns or acorn flour
1 cup brown rice flour
½ cup tapioca flour
½ cup sorghum flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs (vegan option: ½ tsp flax meal or chia seeds + 1 tbsp water)
¼ cup coconut oil
½ cup honey or maple syrup
¾ cup water or milk
1. Mix dry ingredients first.
2. Add wet ingredients and mix together thoroughly. Note: the the secret to blending pancake batter well is to mix all the wet ingredients together before adding to the bowl of dry ingredients.
3. Adjust consistency by adding a little more water/milk or a little more flour if it’s too thick or thin. Pancake batter should be thin enough to pour, but not runny.
4. Cook on oiled grill.
5. Top with Maple Syrup or prickly pear jam