In Japenese, Miso means Fermented Bean - which is what is currently fermenting in my crock. I have lost my original photos of the process once again in the black space of the internet, however I hope one day they circle back or the next batch I make I will add to them. So explaining what I did will have to suffice and you can see my miso as it is January 2018.
Miso is different than the other ferments I show in that it is a Fungus. We use Koji Rice which is a mold spore which is what ferments the beans into miso paste. This mold spore brings in the inoculate that will convert the beans into a fermented paste. We make miso in an anaerobic environment like the other ferments . I am excited for this ferment to be ready. I enjoy store bought miso so making it myself I am counting on it being even better . I didn't make my miso with traditional soy, but Adzuki Beans making a red miso paste.
Due to missing my preparation photos (until the black hole returns them) I soaked my Adzuki beans overnight in salt water - which helps make them more digestible. The next day I drained the beans keeping some of the liquid to make a brine with some of the salt. I then boiled them in a pot until they were soft. Once they were soft, I put them through my nutribullet to make a paste, then added the koji and salt. I salted the sides of my crock/jar to help make it less susceptible to any oxygen or bacteria getting in. I placed a piece of wax paper on top, put the lid on the weck jar, labelled it and it has been sitting on my counter slowing fermenting. I tasted it and pulled back the paper in this January 2018 and you can see the results. Miso needs 6 months to ferment so my calendar is marked for May.
Ferment Type: Bean/Fungus
Date : November 24th, 2018
1 Cup dry Adzuki Beans
1 Cup dried koji
4 Tablespoon (60 grams) salt
1 Cup mixing liquid
1 Tablespoon (15 grams) seed miso (live unpasteurized miso starter)
Notes: reading above with my process - I enjoyed making this ferment. It seemed to be flawless and other than losing my photos - changes seem to be slow to the eye.
** January 15th, 2018 - tested the Miso - it has great flavour already. No mold forming, no smell and the texture is starting to be pasty. I think it's going to be a great batch. Roll on May!
Modifications: None other than using Aduzki beans rather than traditional soy
Harvest Date: May 2018
Harvest Details - to date unknown.
I love sour pickles,I am not a fan of sweet or anything that isn't really packed with garlic and punch. So I choose the dill garlic pickles. Being November in Canada, fresh market cucumbers are pretty much nonexistent however I found some great smaller organic ones that did the trick. I was hesitant as I had only canned pickles before but exited to see how fermentation and cucumbers would turn out. Using a brine to create the anaerobic environment to ferment which has a stronger salt content than making kimchi and sauerkraut adds more options to the world of fermenting. I was happy with my experiment. The benefits of probiotics is endless and being able to watch the process happen in my kitchen is incredible. Learning that lactic acid bacteria grows and expands when we ferment and that all the studies show the benefits on gut health is something I want to share.
Ferment Type - Lacto-Ferment - Probiotic Pickles
Date : November 17/2017
(makes 1 quart)
1 Pound small pickling cucumbers
3 Cups pure water
1.5 Tablespoons sea salt (non-iodized)
1 head flowering dill
3-5 cloves garlic
pinch red chili flakes
Grape leaves if you can find them. I couldn't.
I used 1/4 cup of brine from my Sauerkraut to add some acidity .
Notes: Washed up the cucumbers and made a brine with salt and water. Really packed the cucumbers in so that they would stay down and the brine could cover them to prevent mold. Added my garlic and spices and popped on the airlock. You can see my DIY airlock here. First attempt and they worked. I broke a few lids trying to figure out how to make them , got the knack after a couple of tries and have a few to spare.
I had a moment of fear part way through the ferment as the cloudiness and the cucumbers changed colours and what looked like mold was forming, however and I went back and realized it is a normal part of making fermented pickles, I was actually succeeding. The bubbling kept up for 10 -15 days , definitely slower near the end. I found as I tasted them every 5 days you could taste the difference of flavour. I let them ferment for 4 weeks as I wanted to see how things to change over the month. The cloudiness subsided and watching the changes was a fun experience. I am used to canning pickles and this was a whole new experience, I was a bit nervous and I was taught to boil and preserve. Kill the bacteria, not grow it.
Harvest Date : December 14th, 2017
Harvest Details: These pickles had a great taste, just the perfect blend of garlic with a bit of sour. Loved them. I would probably not go 4 weeks next time as they weren't quite as crunchy as they could have been, had I stopped probably a week before, but it didn't stop me from putting them in the fridge and adding them to meals where super crunch wasn't required.
I was really excited when I saw Kimchi on the list of ferments to make. My daughter and son in law took me to Korean restaurant in their city last year and it was my first exposure to Kimchi. I took it slow as it was a new and unusual taste and texture in my mouth and quite strong, somehow I knew I was going to love it and kept adding it on my plate. I have to say it was easier to make than I expected and had more brine than I could manage. I'm excited to share the experience.
Ferment Type - Lacto- Ferment - Kimchi
Date - November 11, 2017
Napa Cabbage 3/4 pound
1/4 Cup daikon radish
3 Tablespoons chopped onion
1 Tablespoon ginger
1 clove garlic
1 Tablespoon red chili flakes (less or more if desired)
Notes - the smell when you are making this is so powerful and amazing. I really had a lot of brine as I pressed everything down into my jar. I used a Pickl-It Jar with an airlock. Later on I made my own airlocks and used mason jars , it was a fun DIY project with my drill and stoppers. You'll see them later on . I really tried to make all the ferments on a low budget to see if I can encourage others to ferment without adding extra expense and gadgets if they didn't want to and possibly make the thought of fermenting complicated by having to buy more kitchen items. It would be great to have them but it was fun using the basics. I loved the colours of kimchi and how they got richer as they sat on my counter and the end product was amazing. Which I realize I didn't show once I took it out of the fermenting jar. I put it in smaller jars, there was so much I shared it with family and friends and went on to make more!
Modifications: Next batch I will watch how far I filled up the jar as I made it a bit high and the brine pushed up the airlock the 2nd day - so I had to clean it out, remove a bit of brine and reseal it. My photos show the overflow. After making Sauerkraut and feeling like I didn't have enough brine - this made up for it and then some.
Harvest date - November 16th, 2017
Harvest details: It was delicious and smelled amazing, was crunchy and perfect!
Coming from a long line of European descendants I am very familiar with Sauerkraut and as I previously mentioned I would watch my grandmother prepare it in a huge crock. I always liked to add peas to it as a child to make it a bit of sweet and sour mixed taste. I had no idea I was eating something good for me, it was just a staple food. The recipes you can make are endless and changes up the taste. Such a simple yet very healthy food.
I used a basic recipe and jar, covering it with a cloth to keep any bugs out- although it's winter here, but you never know what stays awake indoors. I love sauerkraut and honestly just ate it from the jar when it was harvested.
Turns out the Internet ate my first few photos of my process of making Sauerkraut so I will describe(what happened was I dropped my phone in my Injera batter trying to get a good photo later on and panicked and some of my photos didn't upload) However most were saved.
Ferment Type - Lacto-Ferment - Sauerkraut
Date - November 3rd, 2017
1 head organic cabbage ( 2-5lbs)
Organic Sea Salt (2-4 tbsp)
Crock, Airlock or Glass Jar for fermenting , cloth/elastic band to cover
Notes: Cut up my cabbage it was approx 2lbs, I used 1.5 TBSP salt and massaged it into the cabbage. It was the perfect salty flavour when I gave it the taste test. Used my fist to press into my jar/crock, and I used a quart jar of tomatoes I had canned as my weight, covered it with a cloth and let it ferment on my counter top.
I tasted it after about a week and it was coming along beautifully . I decided to let it ferment a little longer - but I felt like I could have ate it at that point. I choose a simple recipe to start and am exited to add more ingredients like apples and garlic and coloured cabbage. I felt like maybe I didn't have enough brine, however it seemed to have just enough and I made sure I pushed down the weight for the first week to ensure it would stay covered. No mold formed in the entire process.
Harvest Date: November17th, 2017
Harvest Details - it had no mold, I scraped of the top layer and it was a glorious feast. I did share a bit with the family - but it was like traveling back in time for me as I have been buying sauerkraut but those days are done! Too simple not to make my own. That jar only lasted me 3 sittings .
From Summer Bocks Program a brief description better than I can explain on Lacto-Ferments .
"Fermentation happens in an anaerobic environment (without oxygen). An anaerobic environment is created with the salt water brine. Lacto-fermentation is when respiration occurs without oxygen. This also happens in your muscles when you work out. They produce lactic acid as a byproduct of making energy when you run out of oxygen.
Bacteria are responsible for the fermentation of vegetables. Lactobacillus (Lactobacilli) make energy and respire without oxygen in your jar or crock and produce lactic acid as a byproduct.
Lactic acid bacteria proliferate in an ecological succession as the pH changes over time. A common example of ecological succession is the regeneration of a forest after a fire. In this system, the pH of the soil changes over a period of time, influencing the ecology and the order in which plant and animal life are able to survive and proliferate. At first, the forest floor will regenerate, then flowers and shrubs will start to grow. As the pH changes, influenced by new life, trees will grow and the balance of the forest returns."
I am super excited to share the tip of the iceberg on what I've learned enrolling in Summer Bock's Fermentation Program. I have taken my written fermentation log and am formatting into a blog to be able to share and keep in a digital format.
I became a Health Coach back in 2014 , studying at the IIN - I remember sitting in my seat in NYC and having one of the Dr's say - Microbiome - Pay Attention! This is about to be the biggest world to come out in the future of healing. We are just beginning to understand the microbiome and its part in disease and healing.
And more and more people can attest to that! Summer Bock's Program caught my attention as part of my own healing was through the use of fermented foods - when I looked at the program I knew this was opening up more doors to my understanding of what fermented foods can do for our bodies.
I am blessed to have grown up on fresh garden foods and had a grandmother whose family immigrated to Canada from Europe and taught me all how to make sauerkraut in the enormous stone containers - and how to can foods and make things from scratch. You didn't buy bread - you made sourdough at home. Lucky me! I want to make sure the legacy of keeping foods and eating ferments stay around - this program has allowed me to make foods Í had only heard of and never attempted to make or eat before. Thanks Summer!
What is Fermentation?
Fermentation is a metabolic process in which an organism converts a carb, such as starch or a sugar , into an alcohol or an acid. What's really cool is fermentation is used in the making of such things as beer, wine, yogurt, cheese, the amazing foods we create using mainly anaerobic environments - where we steal the oxygen so the microbes can have an environment to thrive in and ph level changes allowing the foods to become very nutrient rich and easily digestible. Yay for those of us with digestion issues ! Bread and even things like sewage treatments use fermentation - my brother in law has been at that his entire career - but I'll stick to more pleasant topics.
How have I incorporated fermented foods into my life.
About 6 years ago I was in a healthy restaurant in a different city , they had a yoga studio in the basment and on the menu was this drink called Kombucha, I was curious and she asked if we wanted effervescence in it ? Not wanting to look uneducated I said sure. I have suffered with IBS my entire life and that day was no different. Cautiously putting food into my body has always been my MO. You never knew how it would go after it hit the digestive track. I took a sip of this Kombucha and nearly spit it out. What the heck was that? Kind of sour and not terribly pleasing to my tastebuds. I paid a good price for it so I wasn't about to let it sit full. I kept eating and sipping a bit more - finding it a little less harsh with every sip. By the end of the meal - my stomach felt 'different' in a good way. I probably repeated that for the next few hours. I didn't leave that restaurant without buying the a book the size of war and peace on the art of fermentation. I was sold!
As I started to look more and more into this world of ferments I made my own kombucha, tried kefir and for someone who can't touch milk products I was amazed. The doors swung open and I was bolting through. The healing that has occurred has been remarkable ! I eat a variety of ferments daily and now my list has expanded.
What is the driving factor?
Sharing the healing qualities of ferments with my family before they get sick. Helping friends and clients understand their benefit and how to slowly start with ferments and healing my own body.
What are the challenges I currently face when I start a new ferment?
I love a challenge and I love to make the challenge more of a challenge . I have been trying to make things without the buying extra gadgets and making things in the least costly way so when I share this information - cost is never a prohibitive factor for anyone wanting to make these. I even watched a video from a youtube redneck person on how to make your own lids . I had my drill bits out and made my own lids for fermenting.
What benefits do you experience from fermented foods?
As previously mentioned - my IBS has been my thorn in my side since I was a young child. Eating was usually painful, filled with regret and just never exciting or enjoyable as it usually didn't end well. Ferments have increased how my body digests food - it actually tries to now. I believe my body is storing more nutrients and helping my immune system improve . It's been a huge turn around.
Why do I not recommend fermented foods to clients, co-workers, family and friends?
I do recommend them ! Of course with background information - cautions for allergies, candida ,sibo and always knowing things like histamine intolerance etc. Get me started on sharing ferments and it's hard to stop me! Sharing what I know and use I always advise people and having them speak with their practitioners first. That applies to anything I share regarding their health . What works for one - doesn't mean its safe for all and education and caution are always key before you put anything in your body.