Sunday, April 30, 2017

Making Stink

Last week I attended my second class presented by the UCCE Master Food Preservers. Remember the previous class was called "All About Citrus"? This class was "Fantastic Fermentations!". As soon as I walked into the classroom I was hit by a variety of pungent odors. I thought to myself, "Oh hell no, this ain't going to happen."

I've lived with Mr Sensitive Nose, aka The Man, long enough to know there would be no fermentations - fantastic or otherwise - experimented in our home. Let's just say I use teeny-tiny amounts of aromatics in my cooking (if at all) and the rest of the time the garlic and onions are stored, hermetically-sealed, in the refrigerator outside.

As the class progressed my initial thoughts were reinforced by comments bantered about in the classroom: "We had to put the sauerkraut outside under the deck while it cured", "gassed off", "place in a well-ventilated location", "bubbling is good", and my personal favorite, "use cheese cloth instead of a tight-fitting lid otherwise it could explode".

Coincidentally, I was recently introduced to my first Kombucha SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast). My co-worker had killed her "Baby" and her friend had dropped off a new starter for her. I was clueless about the huge brown mushroom-looking thing and curiously poked and fondled it while she talked about Probiotics and making fizzy Kombucha tea. When she got to the part about keeping it fed I lost interest; I don't need any more pets to feed.

At the end of the two-hour class, before we headed back out into the fresh air, we were gifted a gallon-sized glass jar with a glass lid. Very cool. I've always wanted a miniature Hawaiian Cracked Seed jar to fill with leftover bits of sheepy-smelling yarn.

It was an interesting class. Even though I won't be making my own stinky foods I do enjoy the taste of Kim Chee and Sauerkraut. On the way home I stopped at the Asian market and bought one spice packet of Noh's Kim Chee mix, and the already fermented: Aloha Shoyu and Maru-Hi Brand Miso paste. No mess, no smell, easy-peasy.