Can You Eat Acorns and How Do They Taste?

You can usually pick up on all the signs when fall rolls around. The leaves on the trees begin to change colors, cool breezes rattle branches, and woodland animals begin to hide acorns for the winter. 

Five acorns lie next to each other

But squirrels aren’t the only creatures looking for these tree nuts. We know that acorns come from oak trees and often serve as food for rodents, but did you know that some people also like to snack on them? 

Can you eat acorns? Are they safe for human consumption? Let’s find out. 

Do People Eat Acorns and Are They Safe To Eat?

While I enjoy other natural nuts and seeds like almonds, peanuts, and walnuts, I don’t ever see acorns in the grocery store.

But the truth is, some people eat acorns. Technically, acorns are edible; however, you never want to eat them straight off the tree.

When used and eaten properly, acorns can be safe for people. 

What Do Acorns Taste Like?

Acorns tend to have a very bitter, bold flavor.

They are similar to other tree nuts and are most comparable to chestnuts in terms of texture and flavor.

Overall, I don’t find the flavor appealing, but they can add a nuttiness that people enjoy in small amounts. 

Can You Eat Acorns Raw?

Although squirrels and other rodents enjoy acorns right from the branch, it’s not something humans should do. 

Acorns contain tannins, which are anti-nutrients and highly toxic to humans in large amounts.

A tannin works against your body’s normal functions, preventing it from being able to absorb necessary nutrients. 

Over-exposure to tannins can lead to life-threatening situations, including various cancers and liver damage.

However, you can remove these anti-nutrients and make the acorn safe for eating.

The best way to do this is to boil the seed repeatedly, continually replacing the water with fresh water. 

Acorns can also contain pests called weevils, which lay eggs inside the nut. That’s the last thing I’d want to see in my food.

How To Eat Acorns

As we mentioned above, you should never eat acorns raw. High tannin levels can cause various medical problems, from inflammation to digestive issues to cancers. 

Only reach for acorns that have turned brown. Once you’ve gathered what you want, you must begin the leaching process. One way of drawing out the tannins is to soak the acorns in water for 24 hours.

Alternatively, you can also boil the acorns. During the boiling process, the water will turn brown.

Once it does, toss that water and add fresh water, bringing it to a boil again. You’ll have to do this several times until the water no longer turns brown. 

Finally, you can also try blending the acorns in water. Blend the acorns with three parts water and pour it into jars.

Refrigerate the jars and let the acorn settle to the bottom. Replace the water daily until the water no longer turns brown. 

Acorns Recipes

Once you have safely prepared an acorn, it has some positive health benefits. Acorns have protein, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, vitamins, and amino acids. 

The most common use of acorns is acorn flour, which comes from ground acorns. It’s an alternative flour that can replace wheat products in foods like bread, pasta, and pancakes.

You can also use acorns to make acorn coffee, which is a caffeine-free alternative to regular coffee

But most people enjoy their acorns simply by roasting them for about 20 minutes and sprinkling salt on top. 

Is It Safe To Eat Acorns?

Raw acorns are never safe to eat, but after a lengthy leaching process, you can safely remove the anti-nutrients and make a unique and healthy snack.

I’m not a fan of the taste, but that’s a decision you can make yourself!

Learn about other foods you may not be sure about eating, from raw eggs to kiwi skin.

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Written by Erin Elizabeth

Erin is an editor and food writer who loves traveling and trying new foods and fun cocktails. Erin has been writing and editing professionally for 5 years since graduating from Temple University, and has been on the Restaurant Clicks team for 3 years. She has a long background working in the restaurant industry, and is an avid home chef and baker. Her favorite restaurants are those with spicy food and outdoor seating so that she can bring along her dog, Miss Piggy.