Gather acorns when you notice they are dropping, usually from September to December. Collect only large, dense acorns, passing up those that have obvious weevil holes or that are unusually light. Immediately when you get home, dump them into a large bucket of water—discard (compost or burn in your fireplace) the ones that float, keeping the ones that sink.
If you cannot process them immediately, spread them on a flat surface in the sun to dry, or put them on a cookie sheet and place in a very low oven for a few hours (even just the pilot light should be sufficient).
Crack the acorns. If you don’t have a traditional grinding stone or mortar and pestle, use a hammer. Pick out the meat.
Process in a food processor or high-powered blender with plenty of water (1 part acorn to 6 parts water, give or take) until a thin slurry forms. Strain this into some kind of permeable cloth sack—a fine cheesecloth bag, the toe of a clean pair of tights, or the sleeve of an old shirt with the end knotted off.
Leach either for a few hours under a slow running tap or sink you bag in fresh cold water and change the water every half hour – repeat until there is no more bitterness.
To dry the mush into flour, spread it out in a thin layer on cooking sheets and let it dry in the hot sun, in a food dehydrator, or in a low oven (200 degrees F) for a few hours, stirring once in a while for even drying. Once the flour is completely dry, break up the clumps with your fingers or run it through a coffee or grain grinder again if you want to grind the bigger chunks of acorn into a fine flour—though if you’ll be reconstituting into mush, the larger chunks are actually kind of nice. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
Mix 2 cups acorn flour +2 cups cattail or white flour +3 teaspoons baking powder + 1/3 cup maple syrup or sugar + 1 egg + 1/2 cup milk + 3 tablespoons olive oil
Bake in pan for 30 minutes or until done at 400 degrees
Apple Cider Vinegar from Scrap
- Fill a glass jar ¾ of the way with apple peels and cores.
- Stir the sugar (1 tablespoon per one cup of water) into the water until it’s mostly dissolved, and pour over the apple scraps until they are completely covered. (Leave a few inches of room at the top of the jar.)
- Cover loosely (I recommend a coffee filter or fabric scrap secured with a rubber band) and set in a warm, dark place for around two weeks. You can give it a stir every few days, if you like. If any brownish/greyish scum develops on the top, simply skim it off.
- Once two weeks has passed, strain the scraps from the liquid. At this point, my vinegar usually has a pleasantly sweet apple cider smell, but is still missing that lovely tang.
- Discard the scraps (or feed them to your chickens!), and set the strained liquid aside for another 2-4 weeks. You’ll know your apple cider vinegar is complete once it has that unmistakable vinegary smell and taste. If it’s not quite there yet, simply allow it to sit a while longer.Once you are happy with the taste of your vinegar, simply cap and store in the fridge as long as you like. It won’t go bad.
- If a gelatinous blob develops on the top of your vinegar, congratulations! You have created a vinegar “mother”. This mother can be use to jump-start future vinegar batches. You can remove it and store it separately, but I usually just allow mine to float around in the vinegar as I store it.
Extracting oil from coconuts
A method the older generation used to extract the oil by grating the fresh coconut, extracting the coconut milk, and then letting the coconut milk stand in a covered container for about 24 hours. After about 24 hours, the oil naturally separates from the water producing a crystal clear oil that retains the full scent and taste of coconuts. So we started making our coconut oil that way and using it for our cooking needs. We couldn’t believe how wonderful it tasted, and how great we felt.
You can also cook the coconut milk at low heat until the water evaporates and the oil swims at the surface; just squeeze it through a cloth to filter out the oil.