Looking for something different to drink this summer…try our some traditional fermented beverages…Enjoy!
Traditional Lactose-Fermented Beverages…
Bouza (Egypt): An opaque drink made of wheat, water, and sourdough yeast starter.. Gv-No-He-Nv (Cherokee, Native American): A thick, milky drink with the sweet flavors of corn accented by a mild sourness. T’ej (Ethiopian): A simple honey type wine/mead. Braga (Middle Europe): A fermented gruel or sour porridge. Chicha (South America): A clear, bubbly beverage made with corn. Balls of cooked corn mush are chewed and inoculated with saliva, then added to water and allowed to ferment. The taste is similar to kombucha. Kiesel (Russia and Poland): An important grain-based lacto-fermented drink. Kvass (Russia and Ukraine): A lacto-fermented drink usually made from stale rye bread. Another version is made with beets. Mead (Europe): Made from honey, water, and wild yeast. Some methods produced a lacto-fermented drink, very low in alcohol or bottled and aged for more alcohol content. Munkoyo (Africa): A low alcohol lacto-fermented brew made from millet or sorghum. Also called sorghum beer, consumed in large quantities by field workers and at celebrations. Given to babies to protect them against infection and diarrhea. The missionaries to Africa discouraged its use because it contains alcohol in very small amounts. Tesguino (Mexico): A low-alcohol beer made with sprouted corn. Chicha (Andean, Peru): Chewed corn beer having a light, delicious corn flavor. Pulque (Mexico): A lacto-fermented drink made from the juice of the agavé cactus. With time, it goes alcoholic. Palm Wine (Africa): The lacto-fermented sap of the palm tree, consumed in tropical areas of Africa and Asia. Rice Beers (Asia and India): These were traditionally very low in alcohol, and mostly lactose-fermented. In Japan, koji rice mold is used for making sake, amasaké, and simple grog’s.
Ran across this and thought I would share…
This recipe idea is great for areas with wild leeks and other wild crafted plants
What is Needed…
– Tub of unpasteurized Red miso or Mugi miso, organic or make your own, which can take 6 months to a year in most cases. Hint: You can do a mix a sweet miso & hearty miso, too! The amount of miso used will determine the amount of the other ingredients.
– Fresh Spring Wild Leeks (Allium tricoccum, some know them as Ramps). The leeks can have a strong taste if harvested at the right time, so adjust accordingly. About a 1/8th of the volume of miso, you want the flavor, but, not to overpower the miso.
– Dandelion Greens. Young leaves are best as they are not as bitter as older leaf. Harvest before flowering. Same amount/ratio as the leeks. Some stores sell the greens, too
– Fresh or Dried Stinging Nettles (Uritica dioica). Here in Michigan you should be able to harvest at the same time as the leeks. I have a spot that has both growing together!
– Optional Sea Veggies. Like kombu or wakamé seaweed.
Since wild ingredients can very in taste and flavour during the season, I suggest mixing up a small tester batch and adjust ingredients as needed and to your liking.
Since the miso is already made, click here on how to make your own misos , we will start with the other ingredients.
Once you have collected or purchased all the items needed you ready to go!
– Start by cleaning the Leeks: Removing the leaves and roots, leaving the clean bulbs
– Dandelion greens: Remove the centre steam keeping the green part of the leaf,
– Nettle leaf: Cut off any steams. Hint: you can remove the ‘stinging’ aspect by blanching or steaming the leaf for a few seconds
– Soak the sea vegetables if dried.
Now cut all ingredients into small pieces and mix together.
Add greens and sea veggies to the miso paste.
Taste and adjust. Add salt if needed, however, the miso will have a lot of salt already.
The miso blend will ferment the other items and flavour will improve over time. Suggest allowing the miso mix to set in the refrigerator for 3 to 6 months, if you can wait that long.
~ Fermented Garlic Scapes ~
Here is another quick recipe for use of all the garlic scapes, if you grow garlic you will know what I mean!
Use fermented garlic scapes in any recipe to add a delicious mild garlic flavour! Fermented garlic scapes enhance your recipes without overpowering other more delicate flavours.
What is Needed…
– Fresh organic garlic scapes, cleaned and diced into small pieces or use a food processor. Do not overwork and turn scapes into a paste. Leave it a bit chunky.
– Organic sunflower oil, cold pressed. 1 to 2 tbsp per 8oz of diced scapes.
– Lactic starter or use wild yeast fermentation
– Salt to taste
Mix the diced garlic scapes with the oil and salt.
Add the lactic starter (This can come from other ferments liquids, like kraut or just use wild yeast fermentation.)
– Once fermentation is to your liking, about 5 to 10 days or more. If you like the taste, finish with 1 to 2 teaspoons of organic apple cider vinegar or to taste.
Once the fermentation process is finished, pack into jars and store in the refrigerator. Hint: Smaller jars will keep the FGS fresher.
Use as a spread or garnish for your favorite snacks, with fresh bread, or even on pizza.
~ Pickled Wild Leek Relish ~
One of my favorite ways to use and preserve leeks for use all season long! The relish condiment works as a topping, great with fresh bread, or added during plating a dish.
Quick and easy, and so good!
What is Needed…
As the leeks are very strong in taste and flavor, you will use more white onions vs. leeks. If you were to use only wild leeks, it will be much too strong. I found this out on the first try with only leeks and vinegar…to much! – White onions, organic, peeled and diced into very small pieces or use a food processor (do not overwork)
– Smaller amount of fresh leek bulbs, wild crafted, depending on flavour.
– A red bell pepper, organic
– White vinegar or rice wine vinegar, organic
– Salt to taste
– Peel and dice white onions into very small pieces.
– Clean and peel wild leeks. Remove tops and roots, leaving nice
clean white bulbs
– Depending on the size; use about a ¼ of the red bell pepper,
The bell pepper is more to give a bit of colour over flavor.
– Mix the three together in a ratio of 80% white onion, 15% wild
leeks, & 4% bell pepper.
Taste the mixture and adjust the amount of leeks to onions until you have a flavor you like. Add salt and vinegar (About 1% of mixture) to taste. As with any pickled foods, the product should have a vinegar bite, but not to much to over power the other flavors. The acid content should read at pH 4.5 or a little lower. The correct range test strip can be purchased here. Allow to set at room temperature for a few days, taste again and adjust ingredients to your liking.
Once complete pack into jars, cap, and place in refrigerator.
Enjoy! and Happy Fermenting… Live, Grow, Share Cultured Foods
Now that you have made a fresh batch or purchased your koji rice, the next step is what to do with it. Many people use koji-kin to make saké, amasaké, or miso. However, what other ways are there to turn koji rice into something extraordinary? Here are a few recipes to get you started…
Basic Amazaké Ferment
Used in Japan as a sweetener, beverage, or a simple alcoholic drink. Amazake is one of the best known cultured and fermented items from Japan. There are several recipes for amazake that have been used for hundreds of years. By a popular recipe, kōji is added to cooled whole grain rice causing enzymes to break down the carbohydrates into simpler unrefined sugars. As the mixture incubates, sweetness develops naturally.
By another popular recipe, sake kasu is simply mixed with water, but usually sugar is added. In this recipe, amazake becomes low-alcohol beverage if given time.
Amazake can be used as a dessert, snack, natural sweetening agent, baby food, added in salad dressing or smoothies. The traditional drink (prepared by combining amazake and water, heated to a simmer, and often topped with a pinch of finely grated ginger) was popular with street vendors, and it is still served at inns, tea houses, and at festivals. Many Shinto shrines in Japan provide or sell it during the New Year!
What is needed…
3- cups cooked brown rice
1- cup light koji rice
Yield: 4 cups of fermented rice to use as a sweetener or 3 quarts Amazaké drink
Incubation Temperature: 120-140 F (50-60C)
Start by cooking the brown rice and allowing it to cool to at least 140 F (60C). Once cooled, stir in the koji rice and mix well. Place mixture into a glass or stainless steel container that will allow an inch of “headroom” to allow for expansion during the fermentation process. Cover container and incubate, stirring every couple of hours to prevent heat build up. The finished product can take as little as 6 hours with quality, fresh (not dried) koji-kin at optimum temperatures, after 6 hours start tasting the ferment to see if the cycle is complete.
When finished the ferment should thicken like porridge with a mild sweet taste. The sweetness will increase up to a point after which it will change and start to become sour. Once the taste is to your liking, place into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 3 to 5 min., stirring frequently. Boiling will stop the fermentation process keeping the amazaké sweet. For a smother amazaké consistency purée the mixture in a blender until smooth. Refrigerate any ferment not used right away. If not, the amazaké will become very sour.
Amazaké Sweetener: Use ¼-cup ferment for each tbsp of sweetener called for in your favorite recipes and reducing the cooking liquid by 3 Tbsp. Baked goods will be rich and moist with a more subtle sweetness.
Amazaké Drink: For HOT amazaké, heat one part ferment and two parts very hot water. Add a dash of shoyu and a grating of fresh ginger root. Serve blended mix in heated mugs. For a cold drink, blend 1 part amazaké ferment and 2 part fruit, fruit juices, soymilk water and/or flavoring of your choice.
Doburoku: For simple “grog”, leave the amazaké ferment in the incubator for several days, stirring and tasting occasionally, until it develops a heady, alcoholic aroma. Blend as above, traditionally served in Japan as a thick and creamy drink or dilute to taste.
Mellow Pickled Cabbage
In Japan, pickled vegetables come with many meals, as a condiment or side dish. In Japan it is called ‘Kyabetsu no asazuke’. Unlike normal pickles this recipe is a fermented pickled delight. Like German style sauerkraut, pickled veggies are uncomplicated to make into a fermented snack or condiment!
What is needed…
1 – pound organic cabbage of your choice or a mix of green and reds. Use American style or Napa/Chinese styles
2 – Tbsp non-iodized salt (Kosher or sea salt)
¼-cup koji rice
¼-cup warm water
½ tsp honey or other sweetener
A Japanese tsukemono pickle press
Start by removing the center core and shred the cabbage coarsely. Mix well with the salt and pack into a glass bowl. Put a small enough plate to fit inside the bowl and weight it down with water filled glass jar or non-metal container.
Refrigerate for 3 days.
After 3 days, draw off the liquid from the cabbage but do not rinse.
TIP: Save the liquid brine for other uses. Dissolve the honey/sweetener in the warm water and add the koji rice. Set aside until the koji has dissolved the liquid and softened.
Next, mix the soaked koji and cabbage, mixing well. Pack contents into a straight-sided container, Add a plate and weight to keep everything under the liquid. Submerging the cabbage keeps the mixture from contamination with unwanted bacteria. Allow 4 to 5 days for the flavor to develop then refrigerate. Use within a week or two.
For those who do not wish to mess with jar and weights, a Japanese pickle fermenter is a great investment. Visit our shop to purchase the Japanese tsukemono pickle press. See photos for recommended styles.
Koji Rice Pickled Sea & Root Vegetable Condiment
Here is another great recipe for using your fresh made koji-kin rice. It is a mix of seaweed and root vegetables
with a lot of umami flavor and health.
What is needed…
– ¼ cup of fresh light koji-kin rice
– ½ oz dry kombu, wakamé, or sea palm. Should yield about ½ cup after soaking
– 1 to 1 ½ cups daikon, baby burdock root, or carrot. We enjoy a combination of all three. Try using any type of herbal roots, too.
– ¼ cup naturally fermented soy sauce, shoyu, or tamari
– ¼ cup mild vinegar, plain or flavored
– ¼ cup mirin or saké. Mirin imparts a sweet component to the mix and saké a dry alternative, extremely recommended!
Start by soaking the Kombu and/or other sea vegetable for 10 to 20 min. in just enough water to cover, soak until softened. Reserve ¼ cup of the soaking water and cut the sea vegetables into slivers or short ribbons. Next, scrub the root vegetables to remove any soil and cut them into thin slivers. Place the root vegetables, sea vegetables, and reserved soaking liquid into a saucepan and bring to a low boil. Add soy sauce and vinegar and return to a low boil. Cover and remove from heat. This step kills of any unwanted bacteria or wild yeast.
When the mixture has cooled to 110F (45C) (warm, but not too hot to touch) transfer to a glass bowl and stir in the koji-kin, mirin, and saké. Let the mixture mature for 4 hours at a cool to moderate room temperature, covered, stirring occasionally from time to time.
The pickled vegetables are ready to consume now or pack into quart mason jars and refrigerate the unused portion, which will continue to mellow and enhance the flavors even more over time. But first enjoy a bowl with your favorite grains!
This is close to a traditional Kimchi…there are many types of kimchi, but when people in Korea say kimchi, they mean this style.
Recipe? I never really follow one. But here goes…
– 2 large heads of Nappa cabbage. Quarter and soak in a heavy salt brine for an hour or more to pull off some liquid, rinse salt, then chop to desired size
– daikon or normal radish julienned
– carrots julienned
– any sea vegetables or other veggies you like
– sesame seeds, black is nice for contrast
– Garlic, ginger, and scallions or green onion
– tbsp or more rice flour, depending on the batch size
– Sugar 1/8 c, or to your liking, optional
– Korean chili flakes (eBay or Amazon) to taste, also gives the nice red colour
– fish sauce to taste, recommend a good Thai FS (has salt, too, so adjust)
– dried anchovies or fermented shrimp paste as needed, not to many though
– soy sauce or salt to make the brine
The F.S. and anchovies brings the deep umami flavor!
Heat the flour with some water and make a thin paste. Cook until it thickens, but not burnt. Raw flour will give an off taste. This is used to thicken the liquid and make it stick to the cabbage.
In a large bowl, mix flour paste with the chili, F.S., anchovies, and soy sauce. Then add veggies and sesame seeds, mix.
Add the cabbage last, mix.
Keep mixture under the brine like you would kraut. If not enough liquid at first, no worries, it will form as the weights press down. Should only take an hour or so for this to happen. You can add some extra salt brine if needed, but make sure
to mix it all up again.
I use a 3L Japanese Pickle Press…for no fuss, no weights, no problems. We have them at our web store if needed.
After liquid covers, taste and add more salt and/or chili as needed.
Allow to ferment for 3 to 5 days, or more.
Then pack into jars and place in fridge.
This is a great condiment that is used on the tantric burgers during summer solstice. Easy to make. Use it during any meal for a spicy, tangy fermented sauce to bring some heat to any dish…Enjoy!
What is Needed…
3 large onions, chopped and/or diced
¼ cup dried crushed red chilies
8 ounces tamarind concentrate
16 ounces hot water
1 ½ cups sesame oil
1 tablespoon turmeric
10 whole small dried red chilies
2 cups apple cider vinegar
Put the onions in a large bowl.
Sprinkle with the crushed chilies.
Melt tamarind concentrate in hot water.
Add sesame oil and diluted tamarind to onions.
Sprinkle with the turmeric.
Add the whole chilies and vinegar.
Stir and cover.
– Let sit overnight or several days for the fullest flavor and mild fermentation.
– After the sauce is to your liking, in taste and flavor, store in the refrigerator.
– The sauce will keep a long time and gets better with age.
Yields about 2 quarts.
Use on veggies burgers or as a fermented condiment!
For us here in the land of culture, we always look for ways to enhance dishes by adding a healthy dash of pro-biotics and natural umami flavors (a savory taste)
One taste of this chilled gazpacho instantly transports you to a land of whitewashed walls, red-tiled roofs, and the golden sun…of Spain. Try this twist on a traditional recipe that is great for a cool thirst-quenching summer drink!
Makes 4 servings
• 10 oz of old or dried white or wheat bread
• 2 lbs of fresh tomatoes, chopped, save some for a garnish
• 2 cloves of garlic
• 2 white onions diced
• 2 red or green peppers, chopped
• 1 cucumber (optional)
• 7 tablespoons of oil
• 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
• 1 1/2 tablespoon of very cold water
• Salt to taste
• Cumin (optional)
• Small amount of raw miso paste for a stronger taste (optional)
To make this traditional recipe fermented, premix the tomatoes, onions, and a few tablespoons of liquid from a culture of either a ginger brew/bug or a water kefir starter. Ferment for a day or two until fermentation starts. For extra pro-biotics, soak the bread over night in some water to make a Kvass type ferment (Find recipes online). When you are ready to make the gazpacho, squeeze the moisture out of the bread.
1. In a mortar, grind the cumin, garlic, miso paste, and the soaked bread. Tip: If using the miso paste the amount of salt is reduced.
2. In another bowl, mix the chopped onions, the chopped tomato, olive oil, vinegar, salt and the contents of the mortar.
3. Place in a blender or mash it with the mortar and add very cold water to mix well. Tip: Some like it thicker like a soup or add more cold water for a more drinkable fermented beverage.
4. Add more salt (if needed) and strain it. Keep it in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Serve with the tomato, the cucumber, the pepper and toasted bread cut to dices.
We hope that you will enjoy this great summer time beverage…raw, pro-biotic, and refreshing! Happy Culturing!
Making Pro-biotics Part of Your Daily Life and Health
As we move into the new year, many people strive to make healthier choices through ‘resolutions’. Intake of living foods is vital for great health and proper digestion. Consuming living foods/pro-biotics is an easy resolution anyone can follow to increase health and wellbeing. Ways to obtain living foods can include eating a RAW food diet, fermentation of foods, or by capsule form. Capsule forms of pro-biotic are very expensive over traditional cultured foods and beverages, like live kefir cheese or ginger brew. We believe eating a diet of raw foods is as close to nature and a natural way to ingest the highest degree of nutrients. Adding fermented foods into the diet allows a higher degree of pro-biotics intake over a standard a raw diet, assists in absorption of nutrients, and provides a much greater array of healthy foods. Here at Organic-Cultures, we use a method that insures daily pro-biotic intake. We call it ‘The Cup of Life’! Without beneficial yeast and bacteria, human life would not subsist. This method would fall under fermentation and RAW food choices. Using the ‘Cup’ method is very simple to implement into your daily routine. First, you will need a drinking container, water bottle, etc. A quart size vessel seems to work best. Next, fill your container with your favorite water type cultured food drink. Liquid type cultures work better than dairy culture starters. Your choices range from any type of water kefir grains, kombucha tea or JUN, and ginger brew. One may mix different types/strains of fermented beverage to increase the pro-biotic array
(Be careful not to contaminate your pure culture strains).
Decided on a pro-biotic source(s) and simply add some fresh pieces of fruit and/or juice along with the active cultivated source. One may add pieces of the water kefir grains or other culture, if desired. The next part is where the real action begins! As the cultured beverage sits, the active bacteria and yeast strains will start to consume the sugars within the fruits/juice. As you drink this mixture throughout the day, keep refilling the container with fresh juice and water mixture. At night, loosely cover and in the morning there should be a nice fizzy beverage ready to consume throughout the day. Since the ingredients are cultured, the beverage can stay out for several days with no worries of contamination or refrigeration.
– Keep at room temperature to keep the cultures producing and fermenting
– If stored in a container with lid make sure to open slowly in case of pressure buildup –
or leave your drinking vessel open.
– Cut fruit into larger pieces to prevent a chocking hazard
– Make sure to change out the container from time to time for hygienic reasons
– If you like a colder beverage…just add ice.
Happy Culturing through the New Year. Live, Grow, Share Cultured Foods!
Update on the living cultured drink…10.31.2015
It is been many months of drinking with this same culture sample. It is providing a great fizzy beverage every day without much work. This glass of never ending life filling probiotics is done with the grape kefir grains which are larger then traditional water kefir grains. Just add some fresh juice, cut fruit, water kefir, or even a little kombucha tea. It’s been working for many months and provides a drinkable beverage day or night. If made before going to sleep, the beverage will be fizzy by morning, with a head like beer does. Carry this around throughout the day and people will ask what is floating in your drink. A great way to tell them about living beverages and probiotics!
Source for Kefir, Kombucha, Koji Spores, Tempeh, & Other Traditional Food Cultures…