Balanoculture:      A society in which the collection, storage, preparation, and consumption of acorns as a foodstuff play a large role.

“I’m not saying anyone should subsist on acorns alone, but let’s tap into the abundant food resources we already have rather than acting based upon the myth of overall scarcity” Sandor Katz ‘The Art of Fermentation’

“To primitive man … acorns were often the ‘staff of life’. If we consider the whole sweep of his existence on earth, it seems likely that mankind has consumed many millions of tons more of acorns than he has of the cereal grains, which made their appearance only during the comparatively recent development of agriculture. It seems a pity that the food which nourished the childhood of our race is today nearly everywhere neglected and despised” Euell Gibbons ‘Stalking the Wild Asparagus’

“It would be quite possible to .. selectively breed.. to produce oaks that yield sweet acorns every year.” “Over the centuries, a massive plant breeding effort has gone into annual crops, especially grains. If that effort had gone into tree crops we would have trees which would far outyield the annuals.” Patrick Whitefield ‘Permaculture in a Nutshell’

“The lower time and work cost associated with acorn use suggests agriculture may have evolved as acorns became more scarce from the decline in the oak woodlands brought about by the adverse human impacts resulting from overgrazing, fuel cutting and cutting for timber, and field burning, exacerbated by climatic fluctuation.  A reevaluation of the record is in order: agriculture may perhaps be better considered a regressive rather than a progressive evolutionary event.” David A. Bainbridge ‘The Rise of Agriculture: A New Perspective’

Great films, just try to overlook the patronising text in the 1st one..


Think we’re just being Quercky? Think again! The web is full of fascinating acorn-eating information.

Here are links to some of it:

For acorn bread, just replace about 1/4 of the flour with ground acorns. (We used a coffee mill)

 Other stuff

Inconsistent info?

‘Once acorns sprout, they are less nutritious, as the seed tissue converts to the indigestible lignins that form the root” from
Suellen Ocean, who wrote a very useful book Acorns and Eat ‘em,external image ir?t=hunanggarcoo-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B0006FBVMKsays she likes to collect Tanoak acorns in February and March, after many have begun sprouting. She says acorns with sprouts between 1-2 inches long are still good to eat, but discard any acorn meats that have turned green. ..Ocean says recently sprouted acorns a) have begun to turn their starch into sugar, and b) are foolproof: “If it is sprouted, it’s a good acorn and I haven’t wasted time gathering wormy ones.”


Workshop: Eating Acorns! Saturday 21 November 2015 1pm at the Meadow Orchard Project N8 8JD. (Link here to information about MOP & how to find it. Note the site has no electricity or running water. Please bring your own drinking water and eating utensils.)

In Blue Peter style, we’ll go through the stages of how to gather acorns and process them into flour, we’ll cook some acorn ‘mush’ together over a fire, and sample some acorn foods I made earlier. Free, all welcome, no need to book. Please be prompt and leave yourself time to find the site.

Sun Nov 30, 2014 @ 3pm Eating Acorns! Free workshop:
Have a go at grinding and cooking acorn flour, and sample acorn crisps, crackers, bread, dip, fruit leathers, sweets & cake.

Sat 26 October 2013 at 1pm
The Marian Room, Hornsey Parish Church, Cranley Gardens (eastern end), N10 3AH
Bus routes W7, W3, 144
start collecting now in preparation

Sat 29 Sep 2012
Meet at Queens Wood Cafe at 1:30pm. Google map here. Highgate tube station. Buses 134 & 43. [Queens Wood Lodge, 42 Muswell Hill Rd, N10 3JP.]
Chat about acorns, how to process and cook with them, then 2:30pm join the Friends of Queens Wood for a guided walk around this ancient oak & hornbeam woodland. We won’t be harvesting on the walk.