California Oak Trees & Acorns – History, Gathering, Processing & Eating

History: Native Californians Gathering and Processing Acorns

Identifying California Oak Trees

How to Gather and Process Acorns


Collect in fall when nuts have fallen to the ground

  • discard nuts with caps
  • discard nuts with black streaks
  • discard nuts with holes

Wash  & dry nuts in a single layer – bring inside every night to keep dry

Dry for several weeks

Shell acorns

Grind nuts into meal / flour

Leach with cool water – it’s done when ground material tastes bland

Strain water from mash – eat immediately or dry



Oak Trees & Woodlands

California Native Oaks – UC Berkeley

California Oak Galls – Joyce Gross

Cornell University – Walt Koenig Research Lab – California oak trees published papers

Live Oak Gall Wasp – Joyce Gross

Native Oaks booklet – Placer Tree Partners – PDF

University of California – Oak Woodland Management 

WikiHow – How to Identify Oak Leaves


Indian Grinding Rock State Park

Pine Grove, CA (approx. 90 miles from Nevada City, CA)



Life on the Creek Art:

$5 from every sale of ‘Life on the Creek’ art goes to support the website/film production project. Upon completion, the proceeds will be donated to Deer Creek watershed stewardship organizations.

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