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BernardSmith

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I am curious. What do folk on this forum do with all their used corks? Apart from making a cork board and perhaps floaters for wicks for oil fueled candles is there anything we can make from corks that would uptake them from being viewed as garbage? Thanks.
 

BernardSmith

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To make a garbage can from them or to toss them in the garbage? I guess I am trying to find a use for them... I ferment left over whey from my cheese making and make a wine from that waste product , though in my opinion, it can take four years or more for that wine to be pleasantly drinkable*. Just wondering if there is any way to up-cycle used corks.

* I make cheese using kefir to culture and ripen the milk so the curds are what are called "sweet". When I make fresh cheese using vinegar and/or lemon juice (the curds then are called "acidic") the wine is ready to drink in a few weeks. For anyone interested, whey from sweet curd cheese needs (IMO) to be pasteurized in order to prevent the bacteria from creating too much lactic acid from the whey. And note that wine or beer yeast (C. saccharomyces) cannot ferment lactose unless you add lactase enzymes or you have access to Y. lactis (a yeast that can, apparently, ferment lactose. They say that B. claussennii can but I have never had any success with that yeast).
 

Old Corker

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We stopped saving them some time ago. We have a couple of big jar-fulls but never do anything with them. I've been using synthetic corks for a while and never had the desire to keep them. Incidentally, I am moving away from the Nomocorc and back to natural. There is an old thread here about them not being recommended by Italian floor corker manufacturers. After reading that I started paying more attention and could see the crease the corker was forming on many of the corks. Then, about two weeks ago I noticed a slight drip forming from a cork that had been in the bottle for right at 1 year. I wiped the drip off before I opened it but this is what the cork looked like after opening. So when I ordered corks for some bottling we did this past weekend I ordered some good quality natural corks. One leaker out of hundreds of corks is not bad but the crease does bother my some.
IMG_6812.jpg
 

Sailor323

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I've been to a couple of wineries in the Finger Lakes region that have collection bins and they recycle them.
 

sour_grapes

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If I knew of a way to get mine into the hands of someone making cork flooring, I would gladly do it. As I do not know of a way to do this, I just throw them away.
 

mbrssmd

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If you have a fireplace, a couple of them work well tossed in with whatever other kindling you use to get that winter morning fire started.
 

MHSKIBUM

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I heard adding corks when boiling octopus and squid supposedly makes the flesh more tender. Another tactic was to pound the hell out of them. The jury's still out on the corks. The pounding worked somewhat but the leggy creatures were often not much to look at afterward.
I do neither now that I've got a sous vide cooker. I can now specify my calamari's exact tenderness.
As for what I do with corks now, I split them lengthwise and stick them flat side down on a thin sheet of plywood with white carpenter's glue. Voila, corkboards of various sizes.
I framed a few and gave them away as gifts but lately I just use a different pattern to form the border and nobody objects.
The trick is to split the corks evenly. I tried to glue them as whole corks but a few kept coming off after a period of use.
I clamp the cork and use a high-quality, sharp kitchen knife to chop the cork in half. The key here is to swipe the knife a couple times on a sharpening steel before cutting. Make a scoring mark as a guide on the top of cork and then cut through in one strong downward, sawing movement. Caution: Be careful to cut cork and not fingers.
Still, I get many off-centre cuts. I level the crooked cuts with a belt sander and save the thinner ones for a separate project where, if need be, I can match the depth. I should probably create a wood form by drilling a hole the size of a cork and a cut for the knife to slip through
Easiest and most useful? I nail a split cork every foot or so to the edge of workshop shelves to serve as a mini pinboard for messages to myself, recipes, wine instructions, or shelf labels.
cork pinup.jpg
 

WinoDon

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I have three yard sale carboys I filled with corks, my wife said "no more" so now I garbage them . The kindling idea intrigues me so will try that now.
 

MHSKIBUM

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So let me make sure I've got this. The next time I'm boiling octopus over an open cork fire I should throw a couple of the corks into the pot. Got it!
So the wife's tale goes. Not sure the yarn has legs or tentacles.
 

sour_grapes

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I do neither now that I've got a sous vide cooker. I can now specify my calamari's exact tenderness.
Mother of all threadjacks: What time and temp do you use? I have some octopus (and a sous vide getup), and I really should use up the octopus.
 

MHSKIBUM

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Mother of all threadjacks: What time and temp do you use? I have some octopus (and a sous vide getup), and I really should use up the octopus.
According to chef steps for octopus:
• 140 °F / 60 °C for 24 hours: Pretty tender, but still structured—great in seafood stews and soups
• 171 °F / 77 °C for 5 hours: Silky and tender—make it the star of any appetizer
• 185 °F / 85 °C for 24 hours: Really quite tender—try it chilled, in a salad
I like some chew to my octopus so I went for 140 °F for 16 hours before tossing in on bbq for 10 minutes. This is not for tiny octopus packs which will turn to mush if cooked that long.
I've only used packaged squid tubes and found they cook much quicker, 45 minutes at 137 F rather than the recommended two hours before a quick fry or bbq with salt, butter and garlic for flavour.
 

balatonwine

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Apart from making a cork board and perhaps floaters for wicks for oil fueled candles is there anything we can make from corks that would uptake them from being viewed as garbage? Thanks.
Well, if you like crafting... 23 ways to use corks.


And 43 more:


But for me, not much a crafter, they go into the wood stove, or chopped up into the compost. Compost is best. They get reused to grow more plants (including grape vines). Hope this helps.
 
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