Eating Acorns and Sharing with Woodpeckers

CreatespaceAcornsAndEat'emFRONTCOVERNature never ceases to amaze me. Did you know that a woodpecker has a tongue that is twice the length of its beak? It is so long, when not in use, it wraps up inside the bird’s head cavity. When it is in use, it drills down ant hills and scoops out the prey. Here’s the sad part. When there aren’t enough acorns, woodpeckers die. And you know the dead trees that are full of holes that are full of acorns? Those are called granaries and they take years to build up and support woodpecker communities.

As more and more people learn to enjoy cooking with acorns, I hope they will not forget the myriad of woodland animals who depend on them for food. It’s that time of year. Let’s gather acorns. But let’s leave an abundance for the birds.Secret Genealogy IV Cover

Suellen Ocean is the author of Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns,–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973 and Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees.




CreatespaceAcornsAndEat'emFRONTCOVERMy freezer stalled on me. Unfortunately, I had bags of shelled acorns that I was saving in there. They got a little moldy so I tossed  them outside. The deer ate every last one. I also had a tupperware dish of leached acorns. They were still good. Poor me, I had to think of some way to use them before they went bad with my refrigeration on the blink. Cookies to the rescue! You’ll find the recipe below. Remember, you must first grind and leach the acorns. To see how it’s done, watch the how-to video, Acorns and Eat’em

There is no added oil in this recipe. Fats in here are in the chocolate chips, walnuts and in the acorns.

Mix with spatula:

1 cup leached & pre-cooked, drained & cooled acorns

½ cup honey

2 egg whites

1 tsp vanilla

Add & mix well:

2 cups whole wheat flour

½ tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

2/3 cup milk

Then add this too & mix well:

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup raisins

1 cup walnut pieces

Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Always watch your cookies, oven temperatures vary.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns. Find it here:–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973

Protecting Your Garden Produce from Mice

AcornMouseCoverMedI’ve posted before, my gardening experience with a terrified, newborn baby mouse but let me tell you what attracted the mouse family in the first place. Compost; eggshells, apple cores, banana peels and watermelon rinds drew them right to my garden. I cover the compost with horse manure but obviously not well enough. When volunteer pumpkins and tomato plants sprang from the pile in early spring, I was delighted and so were the mice. They started in on the tomatoes while they were still green. Ditto with the pumpkins. Further down the garden, I have cantaloupe. They like that too but so far I’ve kept them from eating it. I’ve found that if I place a white plastic tofu container (or the grocery store container that mushrooms come in) upside down on the ground and place the immature fruit on top of it, it keeps the fruit off the ground enough to keep the mice away. It’s necessary to keep an eye on them as sometimes the fruit rolls off. But it’s easy to put it back on the plastic. The plastic tubs help keep other feasting insects away from your produce too and they keep the fruit pristine.Poor Jonny's Cover  Suellen Ocean is the author of many books on diverse topics. Her books are available here:

Acorn Chocolate Cake Cravings… Can’t Wait ‘till the Acorns Drop

CreatespaceAcornsAndEat'emFRONTCOVERI think about acorn chocolate cake way too much. If I made one today, I’d have to throw a party, otherwise I’d eat the whole thing. That’s a good idea! An acorn chocolate cake party. Right at harvest time. We could all go for a walk and gather acorns and then eat cake made from last year’s acorns that I kept in the freezer.

If there’s anything that will catch people’s attention, it’s something made with acorns. They’re so tasty, it’s hard to believe that they’ve not become a commercial success. It’s just as well. The animals go nuts over them. In areas where they’re sparse, they’re eaten in a week or two. The crows and turkey vultures guard over them from above, while mice, birds and squirrels run in, grab them and run off.

I only gather acorns from areas where the harvests are plentiful. I know how important they are to wildlife. They wait for them. I’m waiting for them too. Can’t wait for that chocolate cake.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns. Find it here:–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973

Apricots… a Quick Way to Beautiful Skin

If you want to have beautiful skin, eat apricots. A 100-gram portion contains 2,700 units of vitamin A. That’s a lot. In the summertime they’re plentiful and in season, so they shouldn’t be too expensive. Another summertime source of vitamin A is cantaloupes. I was pleasantly surprised at the high vitamin A content in those sweet, tasty melons. I’ve had pretty good luck growing them in my California garden. Cut into chucks and packed into ziplock bags, they freeze well. In the wintertime, it’s good to have dried apricots on hand. Really, the secret to rosy cheeks and a nice complexion is good old vitamin A. When it’s cold outside and we turn our ovens on, sweet potatoes, yams and pumpkins are the vegetables to bake and make pies with as they contain higher amounts of vitamin A.

Suellen Ocean is the author of many books on diverse topics. Her books are available here:

Grape Juice is Wonderful… Fermented or Not

I always say, it’s the things we love the most that will bring us down in the end. I hope grape juice is not one of those things. I love grape juice. The unfermented kind. I love everything about it; the color, the tart sweetness as I gulp it down, the sound of ice cubes rattling as I sip it. Even though it’s 100% fruit juice, and contains natural sugar, it is still a sugary drink so I must be careful. Even though I water it down, those calories can add up. Especially on hot days when I want to gulp it down, glass after glass.

Looking at a chart, I see that table grapes are not that high in vitamin A nor vitamin C. (100 units of A and 4 units of C in a 100 gram edible portion.) This is why vitamin C is added to a bottle of grape juice.

Suellen Ocean is the author of many books on diverse topics. Her books are available here:


Gardening… I wish the Mice weren’t so Cute

The Acorn MouseI was watering my small pumpkin patch by hand when I heard squealing. Out ran two baby mice. The blast of cold water on their newborn skins must have been traumatic. One was so distraught he rolled over on his back and stuck his feet in the air as if he believed his life was over. He was so young, he had no fur to speak of, just a dark gray felt. I couldn’t leave him there. He was so tiny and light, I was able to flip him over with a piece of straw. He was then able to run. Quite quickly he ditched back into the leafy pumpkin patch. I harvested all but one of the pumpkins. They had already eaten half of it. Even if they hadn’t, I would have left one.

I really don’t want mice in my garden but darn it… that little guy was so cute… and desperate to survive. Just like the rest of us mammals.

Suellen Ocean is the author of many books on diverse topics. Her books are available here:

Cooking: Salvaging Burnt Beans… LOL

I swear, there are some personality types that never seem to learn. They get distracted and let the beans burn. Because, let’s face it, beans take forever to cook and I mean, who worries about whether you’re going to burn fifty cents worth of beans? I mean… really. My kids are grown and live miles away, but I still worry about them but a pot of beans?

On the other hand, as a vegetarian, beans and legumes are a crucial part of my diet. And I believe they give me stamina. But here’s the deal, you put them on the stove and you forget about them. Yes, I could have set the timer but I didn’t. And when I was upstairs typing away, I heard weird noises coming from down below. Was it the wood stove or was it the rain on the roof? Not a thought to the pot of beans on the kitchen stove, I forgot about those long ago. I didn’t even remember I was cooking them, until I heard the crackling noises of the water being all boiled out and the beans burning. So I dashed down stairs and just like my mother taught me, I picked up the pot (with hot pads) and I stuck the pot in water that was in the sink and I quickly added cold water to the pot. It did the trick. I saved them. And it wasn’t the first time, nor the second, nor even the third time I’ve salvaged burnt beans. So I thought it was a valuable bit of kitchen trivia that should be shared.

Suellen Ocean is the author of the vegetarian cookbook, Poor Jonny’s Cookbook. Available here

Acorn Crackers… It’s About Time!

Those of you who’ve known me for decades, know that I’m the lady who wanders into the forest gathering acorns and shows up at potlucks with a bowl of acorn dip. Back in the late 1970’s I truly believed that I could live off the land and eating acorns was an obvious choice. I knew the Indians leached them but I wasn’t sure how they did that. I went to the library and could find nothing but a few pictures and the fact that they leached them. I received more than my fair share of stomach aches trying to figure out how many days were necessary to leach acorns. Eventually I did and as the years progressed I got pretty fancy with acorns and wrote directions for leaching acorns and all the recipes I created and put them into a how-to cookbook and field guide. One of those recipes I came up with was “Acorn Crunchies.” If you do it just right, acorns can be made into a crunchie treat. Well guess what? Someone has finally brought to market an acorn cracker and though I haven’t tasted it yet the pictures look delicious. The folks who are bringing this to market have asked me if I would share their news. Here is the link to their website where you can see their beautiful, tasty-looking crackers. Good luck folks!

Suellen Ocean is the author of Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns. Find it here:–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973


Authors of Fairy Tales Were Sometimes Plagiarists

Many of our favorite fairy tales were told orally long before they appeared in book form. Travelers heard them and retold them, nannies told them, mothers and fathers told them to their children, we’ve all heard them, and some are thousands of years old. Frequently, authors took the liberty of publishing fairy tales, listing themselves as the author. They were NOT the original author and many of our fairy tales have been plagiarized like this for a variety of reasons, like greed and vanity and the fact that the tales were so old, the original author or authors had long since passed from the earth. The stories changed as they went through different territories, the term for the different versions of the same fairy tale are called variants. Hans Christian Andersen and Lewis Carroll are the original authors of their famous works.  Suellen Ocean is the author of The Acorn Mouse, an illustrated children’s story designed to teach the art of gathering and eating acorns. Available here:

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