There are a number of plants that can be processed into flour aside from grains. Knowing which ones can provide a suitable replacement that opens up many doors of opportunities as you move down the road to self-sufficiency. Let’s take a look at a few plants and nuts that are more readily-available to us, along with how they can be processed.
The part of the cattails that can be converted into flour lies in the roots, not the heads. Pull the stalks from the water, chop off the root sections before cutting them into small pieces. Next, place them in some type of strong bowl or container and add a little bit of water. Start mashing and pounding until the pieces are pulverized and begin to form a paste. Strain in order to remove some of the fibrous material that can not be broken down. Allow the paste to dry before processing.
Take acorns that have already fallen to the ground, and run a few slashes across one side of them with a sharp knife. Place the acorns on a baking sheet and put in a 250 degree oven in order to roast them. You can also use a dutch oven over coals to accomplish the same task. Give them a good toss every 10 minutes or so, and keep roasting until the center of the nuts are dried out. This can take up to an hour depending on the moisture content within the acorns.
Next, crush the nuts until they are broken down into a coarse, gritty powder. Place in a container or bowl and cover with water. Allow the acorns to soak for about 30 minutes before straining and letting them dry out. This step will remove the bitter “bite” that acorns have. Taste a couple of the pieces to see if the bitterness is gone. If not, keep repeating the soaking process to completely remove the tannins that cause the bitterness. Once dry, you can pulverize them into flour.
Almonds are a highly-nutritious nut that make the perfect alternative for those who have problems with digesting gluten. Almond flour is gaining in popularity, but it is expensive. To make your own, take fresh almonds and put them in a stockpot with water. Bring to a boil for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and place on a flat surface. Take a cloth and start rubbing the almonds firmly until the skins are completely peeled off. Allow the almonds to completely dry, either by dehydrating or roasting before pulverizing them into coarse pieces and processing.
You can use store-bought coconut flakes or the meat from a fresh coconut to make flour. If using fresh coconut, cut the meat into thin shavings. Place the coconut in a bowl and soak in water for around 4 hours. Drain, and place the coconut in a blender before adding just enough water to create a paste. Remove the paste and place on a baking sheet or piece of waxed paper and allow to dry completely before processing.
Processing any of the items above is pretty straightforward. All you need to do is take material that has completely dried and either use a mortar and pestle, blender, food processor or coffee grinder to turn it into a fine powder. Process until the finished product is consistent throughout. Next, allow the flour to dry if there are any remnants of moisture before storing in an airtight container.
Vacuum packing the product in Mylar bags, or using mason jars that have a vacuum seal attachment will give you the longest shelf life. However, you can also store them in thick, plastic zipper bags for short-term storage as well. Just remember that air as well as insect or rodent infestations are your primary threats to your stockpile. Make sure that you make whatever storage option you decide to use as impenetrable as possible and you’re good to go.
These are just a few of many different types of plants that you can use as an alternative to flour. You can also use ryegrass, rice, amaranth or curly dock and achieve similar results. Some people also report having success with dandelion as well. Take a closer look into these and other plants in order to be in a position to diversify your stockpile or be able to improvise out in the field during a crisis.