Foraging Pittsburgh

Wild Food Walks, Workshops, & Guided Nature Hikes

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Leached Acorns, Porridge, Workshops, Etc.


This year’s first batch of acorn meal is ready to go!

The acorns I processed were gathered from the chestnut oak (Quercus prinus), a species of white oak that, comparatively speaking, contains a rather high level of tannins. To bring this level down, I cold-leached the acorns for 10 days, decanting the water about 2 times per day (sometimes 3). The remaining meal went into the dehydrator on a low setting and dried sufficiently within 5 hours.

I’ve already made my famous (well okay, only to me) wild porridge with serviceberries, crab apples, and maple syrup, and it was a most satisfying breakfast. Just what I needed after pullups, incline chest presses, and barbell shrugs.

It’s not too late to harvest acorns! Many from the white oak group are sprouting as you are reading this (they like to do that in the autumn), though the acorns from the red oak group can still be found ungerminated.

If you’d like to learn more about acorn harvesting and processing, consider joining me for an outdoor class on this very topic, on Saturday, November 15th. It’ll be a great time, for sure!


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Acorn Harvesting And Processing Outdoor Class Near Pittsburgh


Acorns are a fantastic food … when they are processed properly.  If you’ve ever wondered how to turn these puckery nuts into their tasty, nutritious alter-egos, consider joining me for an outdoor class on Saturday, November 15th.

I’ll be discussing the ins and outs of acorns … which ones to gather, several leaching methods, drying and storing methods, recipes, and more (I’ll also be sure to point out some of the autumn wild edibles nearby)!  The outdoor class will take place in the North Hills of Pittsburgh, about 12 miles north of the city.  For more information, and to watch a personal video invitation, check out the events page here:

It would be great to see you there!

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Wild Edible And Medicinal Plants Workshop in Pittsburgh


I had the pleasure of leading the Wild Edible and Medicinal Plants Workshop at Hartwood Acres this past Saturday, along with Erik Kulick of True North Wilderness Survival School.

We covered more than a dozen species, including Lindera benzoin (spicebush), Pinus strobus (eastern white pine), and Quercus rubra (northern red oak). We harvested chicken of the woods, sampled a chaga-chai decoction, and experienced the ambrosial paw paw. The air was cool, the wind was steady, and no amount of hail could have kept us from learning how to tap a maple tree.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the workshop … it was an honor to take part in it. Also a big thanks to Erik for hosting the event (and for snapping this photograph!).

For more information on the classes, walks, and workshops I lead, please check out Wild Food Walks.  Thank you!


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The medicine in chicken mushroom, Laetiporus sulphureus


Chicken mushroom (chicken of the woods, Laetiporus sulphureus) isn’t just for the dinner table (if you’re not familiar with this edible fungus, it resembles chicken in taste and texture). Chicken mushroom is quite medicinal, and it’s the perfect way to let food be your medicine, and medicine your food.

Research has shown that an extract from this mushroom possesses antimicrobial activity against the pathogen, Aspergillus flavus (Petrovic et al., 2013). Chicken mushroom is also a great source of antioxidants, including quercetin, kaempferol, caffeic acid, and chlorogenic acid (Olennikov et al., 2011), and it contains lanostanoids – molecules that have the ability to inhibit cancerous growths (Rios et al., 2012). What more could you ask for from a humble saprophyte?

I harvested only a bit (as you can see, another hungry soul found this tree before me). And if you are signed up for the wild edible and medicinal plants workshop near Pittsburgh next week, I’ll introduce you to this tree (let’s hope it’s not completely picked over by then!).