It’s that time again! Fermentation Friday!
This week features a ferment that has no brine. It does not happen in a jar and it is not airtight. I know, it is surprising to me and I still am pondering the science behind it. It is a type of tsukemono (Japanese pickle) called Nukazuke (rice bran pickles). I have had cucumber and daikon as a child when I lived in Japan. I have seen Nukazuke packaged here in the US at some Asian stores but usually they are in some kind of preservative or Ajinomoto (MSG). I still don’t know where I stand on MSG as glutamates naturally occur in some foods like seaweed, soy sauce, yeast extracts. I’ve even seen flavored and spiced rice bran for making nukazuke that had MSG in it. Since MSG is a manufactured product, I’ll stick to kombu to bring in some of the yummy umami that everyone wants.
Back to Nukazuke….
I have a cookbook called Quick & Easy Tsukemono: Japanese Pickling Recipes that I really enjoy. It’s not completely veg, but the majority of the recipes are. There is a very good description of how to make the rice bran pickles. I also got more visual help from Garden Betty’s blog on how to make a Nukadoko. Her instruction is thorough as are her tips if something weird happens. With it being hot in Texas, my ferments seem to happen faster than other places.
So here’s my Nukadoko! Isn’t it adorable! It’s a vintage Pyrex 2 1/2 quart casserole with the Friendship Bird print. I usually use it to store soups and stew leftovers, but this will be its main use for now. I also have the lid but since the Nukadoko needs adequate aeration, I just keep it covered with a linen napkin.
What’s in my nukadoko:
small piece of sourdough bread (blended with the ginger in a food processor until crumbly)
1 red jalapeno from my garden
I let it rest for about 3 days before the first aeration. Then about twice a day, I have been aerating the bed. It’s really fun and like playing in the sand. You wash your hands very well and dry them on a clean towel (no dirty kitchen towels please!), and then just break it all apart with your fingers. I let my daughter do it and I could tell she enjoyed feeling the softness of the bran and also finding the strips of kombu. I think this would be a great thing to do for sensory integration. After you mix it around, you pat it all down again.
Here’s my mini Instagram video:
I first put in some red cabbage as my starter veggie. My daughter and I ate it with a salad but it was just salty and not fermented. Last night we put a Japanese cucumber and 3 radishes to sleep in their little rice bran bed. They woke up pickled! It’s the neatest thing! The colors are brighter and the veggies taste wonderful.
You can have a nukadoko for a long time. If you follow a good aerating schedule and feed it veggies, you could even pass down your bed to family as an heirloom. I’m hoping to have one for a while, but maybe not that long!
My husband will be back from a business trip and we’ll see how my apple and pear ciders turn out. That will be my post for next Friday! But come visit me again on Monday. I won a fun little community blogging award!0