A trio of fresh seasonal fruits plays the roll of combining the sweet, savory, and spicy by using a combination of sweet autumnal fruits. Feel free to use what is regional to your area. Choose young, firm fruits and crisp, juicy pears are needed to impart bright flavors! Today, we will also build traditional flavors in the Korean style of using different commonly unused parts to complement the fruity-spices nicely. This kimchi may be use like an Indian chutney…great for meat style entrees. Fermentation: Ready to eat or allow to ferment a couple days. This is a quick ferment.
– 1 lb persimmons, peeled, cored, quartered, then cut into 1/8 inch thick slices
– ½ Asian or Bosc pear, again peeled, cored, quartered, and cut into 1/8 inch slices
– 1 medium apple, peeled, cored, and sliced.
– 12 stems flat-leaf parsley, cut into 1 ½ inch pieces.
– 1 tsp Korean chili pepper flakes
– ½ tsp chopped garlic ½ tsp anchovy sauce
– In a small mixing bowl, combine the fruits and parsley steams.
– Add chili flakes, garlic, and anchovy sauce.
– Mix well until combined.
– Let stand for at least 15 minutes for flavors to combine.
– Serve immediately or refrigerate, covered and consume within a few days.
Happy culturing! Live, grow, and share cultured foods. See our online store for culturing/fermentation items, new culture starters, and more.
Koreans celebrate the first fall Napa cabbage harvest with this style of Kim-chi. It may be eaten right away or aged for a time. This style is enriched with both the land and sea with a base of beef stock and sea foods of oysters, salted shrimp, and anchovy sauce.
Ingredients Needed: Brine…
– To medium heads of fresh Napa cabbage, about 4 to 5 pounds
– 2 tablespoons of sea salt Sweet Rice Porridge…
To make the porridge add 1/3 cup powered sweet rice to enough water to form a thick paste. Simmer this ‘porridge’ over heat to remove the raw flour taste. Allow to cool before adding to the seasoning paste. Seasoning Paste…
– 2 tbsp of salted shrimp
– 1/3 cup of sweet rice porridge
– ¼ cup anchovy sauce
– ¼ cup beef or vegetable stock
– 2 tbsp minced garlic
– 1 tbsp peeled and grated fresh ginger root
– 2 tsp sugar
– 2/3 cup Korean chili pepper flakes
– ½ cup thinly sliced yellow onion
– 4 green onions, green parts, about ½ cup
– 3 oz of chives
– 6 to 8 fresh oysters (optional)Directions:
– Cut cabbage into quarters and then cut ¼ in half lengthwise. Remove cores. End by cutting pieces into 1 inches wide strips and 6 inches long.
– In a large bowl toss cabbage with the salt. Sit aside and allow to brine for at least an hour. Rinse off the salt by running under cold water and allow the cabbage to drain thoroughly.
– To make the seasoning paste… Grind the shrimp and mix in a bowl with the porridge, anchovy paste, stock, garlic, ginger, and sugar. Lastly add the ¼ cup of the chili pepper flakes. Blend well.
– In a large bowl, toss the cabbage, onion, green onions, and chives with the remaining chili flakes. Insure that all the cabbage is coated with the chilies. Add the seasoning paste and oysters and mix well.
– Pack tightly into a 2 quart container, cover, and set aside for 2 to 3 days at room temperature.
Then move to the refrigerator to slow/stop the fermentation. Since the ferment will expand make sure to allow at least a 5% head space to prevent overflow.This style of kim-chi may be eaten directly, allowed to ferment for a short time, or allowed to ferment for a longer amount of times. Enjoy and happy fermenting!
See our web store for many new products, culturing supplies, koji spores, and more:
These days one can buy preserved lemons, however, making them at home brings a rich, clean taste of homemade goodness. Preserved lemons bring a multidimensional freshness and a wonderfully distinct pungency to the lemons. Traditional served in Morocco in salads, soups, or even cocktails as they are alongside the grilled fish. When eating them with grilled sardines only the rind is eaten.
The following recipe only has a few ingredients and only takes a bit of time to make. You’ll be very pleased with the results!
– 6 lemons, try to use Meyer style lemons if possible.
– 2/3 cup kosher sea salt
– 1 to 1 1/2 cups fresh lemon juice (use 5 to 6 extra lemons)
– 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
– 6-cup jar with a tight-fitting lid
1. Wash lemons, then drain. Some boil the lemons for 5 minutes, but this will kill the natural occurring bacteria and wild yeast.
2. Cut each lemon into 8 wedges, discarding seeds. Or the lemons may be left whole and the tops and bottoms deeply sliced 4 times.
3. Toss lemons with kosher salt in a bowl, then pack lemons, along with their salt, tightly into jar.
4. Add enough lemon juice to cover lemons. Seal jar and let lemons stand at room temperature, shaking gently once a day, for 5 days.
5. Add oil to jar and refrigerate. The oil will help to keep unwanted bacteria from turning the lemons bad.
Preserved lemons can be chilled, covered in their juices, up to 1 year.
This is really a salt brine with wanted bacteria and wild yeast.
From the sea salt and correct bacteria the lemons will have a very pleasing taste.Enjoy and Happy Culturing!
Rice wine, also known as mijiu, is an alcoholic drink made from sticky rice, traditionally consumed in East and Southeast Asia, and also South Asia. Rice wine is made from the fermentation of rice starch that has been converted to sugars, which in turn produces alcohol. Microbes are the source of the enzymes that convert
the starches to sugar.
Rice wine typically has an alcohol content of 18%–25% ABV.
Rice wines are used in Asian gastronomy at formal dinners
and banquets, but many types are used in cooking.
They are also used in a religious and ceremonial context.
Best known rice wine types are Japanese mirin, mageolli a milky traditional wine from Korea, and of course Japanese sake. Sake is the most widely known type of rice wine in North America because of its ubiquitous appearance in Japanese restaurants.
There are many other types of wines produced from rice with each country and area having it’s own style of wine. Many types come from China and lesser known traditional styles are from Korea, Philippines, India, and smaller tribes from Asia.
We offer three types of rice wine starter kits. Easy to make and enjoy for the holidays. Most starters make 1L of wine and takes about a week to produce. Happy Brewing!
The hot summer months are one of the best times to ‘drink your cultures’! With the warm days and abundance of fresh seasonal fruits the wild and cultured yeasts are in their element. Many traditions throughout the world have fermented drinks some more alcoholic than others. Most are very easy to make by the addition of fruits and sugar.
Today the focus will be fruit waters or ‘fresh waters’, otherwise known as aguas frescas in Mexico.
For the following recipes the basics are all the same. To produce a beverage, a starter culture strain, such as water kefir grains, will be needed or the available wild yeast may be used.
Tepache de Pina: Mexican Homemade Pineapple Brew
Fermented/Cultured – Vegan – RAW
A classic aguas frescas commonly sold by street vendors throughout Mexico. The drinks are prepared with a combination of sugar, grains, and cut or pulped fruits. The flavors range from Tepache, Papaya, Watermelon, Cantaloupe, Lemon, horchata (hibiscus flower), fruits like oranges, banana, mango, and even jamaica or cucumbers.
1 Pineapple – Ripe or canned, diced or pulped.
Hint: Save some of the pineapple for a garnish when serving
1 cup or large cone of Piloncillo, cut in pieces, or use an organic sugar/molasses combination, or dark brown sugar.
2 quarts of filtered water Optional:
1 stick of cinnamon
Easy for wild fermentation. Combine all ingredients into a large pitcher or ceramic pot. Cover with plastic wrap or several layers of cheese cloth. Allow to set for 12 to 24 hours. Remove any white foam that may have formed. Cover again and allow the Tepache to set for 12 to 20 more hours, or until taste is correct. Adjust the sugar level if needed. Dilute the finished beverage with water, if the taste is to strong/sweet. Strain and Chill.
Serve by the glass garnished with a slice of pineapple.
If using water kefir to culture the beverage, combine the water, fruit, and sugar allowing it to set for 12 to 20 hrs. Remove the kefir grains from the mix and add in the optional ingredients if desired. Allow beverage to set another 12 to 20 hours, until taste is to one’s liking. Finish as above.
Notes: DO NOT let it ferment longer unless you need pineapple vinegar which is used to flavor other condiments pickled chipotle peppers.
Mexican Strawberry Water (Aguas de Frescas)
Fermented/Cultured – Vegan – RAW
Another simple Tepache, this one made with strawberries, mint leaves, and lime. A very refreshing summertime beverage, this frescas brings the cooling properties of mint and the tartness of lime.
4 cups strawberries, quartered
1 cup cane sugar or any sugar
8 cup cold water or cultured water kefir
1 lime, cut into 8 wedges (optional)
Mint leaves, fresh (optional)
Mix strawberries, sugar, and 2 cups water in a bowl. Cover and allow it to set for 4 hours. This will help to remove the juice from the berries.
Take the strawberry mixture and pour into a blender. Add some of the fresh mint and lime, if desired. Blend on high until smooth. Pour the blended berry mixture through a wire mesh strainer set over a large mixing bowl; discard the pulp and seeds if desired.
Add the remaining 7 cups cold water to the pureed strawberries and mix well. Place the Aqua de Frescas in the refrigerator to chill for several hours or pour over ice and serve immediately.
Garnish with lime slices and/or mint leaves.
If using water kefir in this recipe the strawberries may be added when making the kefir. Then the whole amount is blended after removal of the water kefir grains. Fresh berries may be added when blending if the sugar content has dropped to low.
Tepache is an easy homemade beverage that can vary in taste and what fruits are local and in season. Try making different combinations of fruits like watermelon or blackberries, a batch with wild yeast fermentation, or with a stable culture strain like water kefir.
If water kefir grains are needed we have 5 different strains at our store – store.organic-cultures.com
Nattō (なっとう or 納豆?) is a traditional Japanese food made from soybeans fermented with Bacillus subtilis var. natto. Some eat it as a breakfast food. Nattō may be an acquired taste because of its powerful smell, strong flavor, and slimy texture. In Japan, nattō is most popular in the eastern regions, including Kantō, Tōhoku, and Hokkaido.
Before Making NATTO:
Be sure the entire processing area is cleaned for production. Make sure all utensils, pots, cheesecloth (FUKIN), etc. are as sterile as possible. (Boil utensils for 5 minutes prior to using.)
The packet of NATTO spores comes with a special small spoon; be sure to use the small spoon to measure the appropriate quantity for the recipe.
The fermentation process requires the NATTO be kept at approximately 100°F (37°C) degrees for 24 hours. Ovens with a low temperature setting can be used, an oven w/ light on only, or inoculate in large cube-shaped food dehydrators.
NATTO is quite odorous while fermenting, and you may want to isolate the fermenting NATTO during this time.
Ingredients and Supplies needed for Making NATTO:
2 pounds (900g) soybeans (about 4 cups)
10cc water, boiled for 5 to 10 minutes to sterilize
One spoonful (0.1 g.) NATTO-kin spores (use the special spoon that came with the packet)
Cheesecloth or butter muslin (FUKIN in Japanese)
Non-reactive pot (i.e., stainless steel, enameled, ceramics, etc.) or Pressure cooker
Large stainless steel, wood, or plastic spoon or spatula
3-4 oven-proof glass containers with lids
Instructions for Making NATTO:
– Wash the soybeans using running water to gets rid of tiny dirt or dead skins off the beans.
– Soak with clean water for 9 to 12 hours (longer soaking time recommended during colder months). Be sure to use approximately 3 parts water and 1 part soybeans to allow for expansion. You will end up with 8 to 12 cups of beans.
Drain the beans from the soaking water. Place beans in a large pot with mesh bowl and pour in water. Steam it for 3-4 hours. Or fill with water and boil 5-6 hours. The recommended way is to use a “Pressure cooker”, that can be cooked faster than in a normal pot. Please refer to the pressure cooker instruction manual for operation guidelines.
– Drain the cooked beans and place in a sterilized pot. Dissolve 1/5 special spoonful of NATTO spores (0.1g) into 10cc of sterilized water (or mix by package directions).
– Immediately pour the NATTO spore solution over the beans while the beans are still warm but not hot to the touch. Stir the beans and water mixture together carefully using a sterilized spoon/spatula.
– Place a thin layer of beans in each of the 3 to 4 containers. If at any point during the process some beans are spilled on the counter, etc., discard the spilled beans as they can contaminate the other beans if added back in to the batch.
Place the sterilized cheese cloth over the top of the containers and place the tight-fitting lid over the cheese cloth. Preheat the oven, dehydrator, or KOTATSU Japanese Warmer to 100°F (37°C). Place the covered containers in the oven, dehydrator, or warmer and allow the NATTO to ferment for 24 hours being sure to keep the temperature steady at 100°F (37°C). Check the temperature throughout the day/night.
At the conclusion of the fermentation period, let the NATTO cool for a couple of hours, then remove the lid and the cloth, replace the lid, and store the containers in the refrigerator at least overnight.
NATTO can also be aged in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Smaller portions of finished NATTO can be stored in the freezer and thawed for later use.
Need Natto spores fresh from Japan? We have them in our store with many other types of food culturing spores:
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.
Today we’ll talk about kvass, a traditional beverage from Russia, drunk for good health and to give energy. All classes of people enjoyed this beverage from the czars as well as by peasant folk. Traditional, kvass is sold on the street by vendors with a large tank full of fresh kvass.
In wealthy households, various kinds of kvass contained rye bread and/or currants, raspberries, lemons, apples, pears, cherries, bilberries and loganberries. The possibilities and combinations of breads and fruits are endless!
So What Makes It Kvass?
Kvass starts from stale sourdough rye bread so it was natural for bakeries to make it from the bread that they do not sell.
Bread that has gone past its shelf life is cut into 1-inch cubes, spread on trays and dried out in the bread ovens, set to low temperature. Then the pieces are added to a 200-liter tank filled with good quality water. This brews for 12 hours at room temperature. Yeast and a small amount of sugar is then added and the kvass is left another 12 hours at room temperature.
The kvass is then bottled. Three or four raisins are added to the bottles, which are then capped tightly. The kvass will be ready in about three weeks—foamy and refreshing. However, the shelf life from that point is only about one week (or three weeks refrigerated), after which the kvass turns alcoholic. The short shelf life has left this beverage pretty much untouched and unadulterated by commercial food/beverage companies.
Another type of kvass is made from beets. Not as epicurean as medicinal, although beet kvass is often added to borscht, which is a great cold RAW soup. Traditional Ukrainian homes have it at the ready for a pleasing, sour flavor added to soups and vinaigrette.”
Folk medicine values beets and beet kvass for their liver cleansing properties and beet kvass is widely used in cancer therapy in Europe. Anecdotal reports indicate that beet kvass is an excellent therapy for chronic fatigue, chemical sensitivities, allergies and digestive problems.
Making Kvass at Home…
Kvass made at home requires careful attention to detail, especially to temperatures. To avoid failures and frustration, purchase a thermometer that will measure liquids between 50-175 degrees F. You will also need to find a warm place that stays about 76-78 degrees in your kitchen or in a closet. We use a preheated room for brewing ferments such as these.
Be sure to use bread that is made only with rye flour, and that contains no food additives or preservatives. Kvass made from bread that contains oats or other grains is not used as it turns the fermenting liquid bitter.
Do not worry about using white sugar, as most it will brake down and turn into beneficial acids.
The kvass should be stored in bottles with screw on tops or tops with wire fasteners. This recipe makes about 5 quarts.
– 1 pound rye bread, cut into 1/4-inch slices
– 1 1/2 cups sugar, in all
– 1 package dry active yeast or a fresh sourdough starter if you
– 1 tablespoon unbleached white flour
– Filtered water
– About 1 dozen raisins
Spread the bread on cookie sheets and bake for about 30 minutes at 250 degrees F. When cool, chop into 1/4-inch pieces in a food processor.
Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil and then cool to 175 degrees. Add the bread, stir well, cover with a lid and leave in a warm place (76-78 degrees) for 1 hour. Strain and reserve both the bread and the liquid.
Bring another 2 1/2 quarts of water to a boil, cool down to 175 degrees and add the reserved bread. Cover with a lid and leave in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours. Strain and discard the bread. Combine both batches of liquid.
Next is to make simple syrup: Place 1/4 cup sugar and 1-tablespoon water in a small cast-iron skillet. Stir continuously over heat until the mixture turns golden brown, but do not caramelize. Remove from heat and gradually blend in 1/2 cup of the reserved liquid. Then stir this mixture into the entire batch of liquid.
In a small saucepan, place 1 cup water and the remaining 1 1/4 cups sugar. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, skimming once or twice. Stir this syrup solution into the reserved liquid and allow the mixture to come to room temperature (about 75 degrees).
Mix the yeast with the flour and combine with 1 cup of the liquid. Return this yeast mixture to the pot. Make an X of masking tape across the top of the pot. Cover the pot with two layers of cheesecloth or a clean kitchen towel and leave in a warm place (73-78 degrees) for 8-12 hours or overnight. Cool the kvass to about 50-54 degrees. Transfer to bottles, seal tightly and refrigerate for 24 hours. The kvass will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
In addition to its role as a refreshing drink, kvass is traditional added to a number of typical Russian cold soups containing vegetables, sour cream and fish.
Kvass update on recipe and results…#2
This was the first time making kvass, turned out pretty well.
The beet kvass is very fizzy, however, the traditional kvass has more depth of flavor!!!
Both have their own benefits, so try making both! This is a low cost way to include pro-biotics into your body.
Other 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.
We hope you enjoy this Blog post on Kvass, a simple to make fermented beverage for health and well-being.
Come see our culture store for many new starter cultures and our main page for cultured foods recipes.
Live, Grow, Share Cultured Foods.
Dozens for cultured food starters all freshly package…
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 rice 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 Amasaké Ferment ~
Used in Japan as a sweetener, beverage, or a simple alcoholic drink. Amasake is one of the best known cultured and fermented items from Japan. There are several recipes for amasake 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, amasake becomes low-alcohol beverage if given time.
Amasake can be used as a dessert, snack, natural sweetening agent, baby food, added in salad dressing or smoothies. The traditional drink (prepared by combining amasake 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
If koji rice is needed…order here
Yield: 4 cups of fermented rice to use as a sweetener or 3 quarts Amasaké 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 amasaké sweet. For a smother amasaké consistency purée the mixture in a blender until smooth. Refrigerate any ferment not used right away. If not, the amasaké will become very sour.
Ways to Use Amasake Rice…
Amasaké 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.
Amasaké Drink: For HOT amasaké, 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 amasaké ferment and 2 part fruit, fruit juices, soy milk water and/or flavoring of your choice.
Doburoku: For simple “grog”, leave the amasaké 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 If koji malted rice is needed…order here
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 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 Order koji malted rice here
– 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!