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!
1 teaspoon rice vinegar or 1 teaspoon other vinegar
1 teaspoon oregano
4 -6 Greek pita breads
olive oil (for cooking)
lettuce and tomato Directions…
1. To make gyro “meat” cut tempeh into thin strips 1/2 – 1.5 cm in thickness works well.
2. Next make tempeh marinade with all ingredients listed under “Gyro Tempeh”.
3. Pour the marinade over the tempeh, make sure all surfaces are covered and place in fridge to marinate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
4. Next, make Tzatziki- combine all ingredients listed under Tzatziki. Stir well and also place in fridge to sit for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
5. When you are ready to eat, set the Tzatziki out to warm slightly while you cook the tempeh.
6. Heat a large skillet with 3-4 tbsp olive oil and heat over medium, once heated place tempeh strips in and let them cook until each side is golden brown.
7. Remove tempeh from pan, and one at a time heat the pitas over medium heat until warmed on each side.
8. Then layer your gyro (pita, tzatziki and tempeh) then top with lettuce and tomato.
Looking for a new way to ferment vegetables?
Something quick and easy to make fermented pickles that are a great condiment to any meal. A Nuka bed offers a way to get lactobacillus bacteria and wild yeast, without having to vent
or clean up exploding glass jars!
It makes a great RAW, fermented/cultured, and vegan condiment.
What is a Nuka ‘Bed’?
Nukazuke (糠漬け) are a type of Japanese pickle, made by fermenting vegetables in rice bran (nuka). Almost any edible vegetable may be pickled through this technique, though traditional varieties will include eggplant, Japanese radish (daikon), cabbage, and cucumber. The taste of nuka pickles can vary from pleasantly tangy to very sour, salty and pungent. These pickles also retain their crispness which adds to their popularity.
Fish nukazuke is also common in the northern part of Japan.
Sardines, mackerel, and Japanese horse mackerel are frequently used. Some people pickle meat in nuka-bed, too.
If pickling meats, use a separate nuka bed and not the bed for vegetables.
The nuka-bed is traditionally kept in a wooden crock but ceramic crocks or even plastic buckets are also common. Many Japanese households have their own nukazuke crocks which are faithfully stirred by hand every day. Due to varying methods and recipes, flavors vary considerably, not only from region to region, but also from household to household.
Pickles (tsukemono) are an important staple of Japanese cuisine, and nukazuke are one of the most popular kinds. They are often eaten at the end of a meal and are said to aid in digestion. The lactobacillus in nukazuke pickles may be a beneficial supplement to the intestinal flora. They are also high in vitamin B1.
How to Make Your Own Nukazuke Pickle Bed
RAW – Vegan – Gluten Free
– Rice Bran, no-GMO and/or organic – 20 oz
– Kombu Seaweed – one leaf, cut into very small pieces
– Sea Salt – 1/4 cup or to taste
– Korean Chili Flakes – 1/8th to 1/4 tsp
– Dried Citrus Peel – 2 tbsp
– Dried Bonito Flakes – 1/8 to 1/4 cup – Optional – Fresh lemon or lime juice – enough to cover top of nuka bed – Condiments or veggies of your choice – Keep whole – Also, for a new starter bed add some fresh fruit like apples
– A fermenting vessel – lead free
Note: It needs to be stored under refrigeration after opening to avoid mold. Storage term: 12 month (This usable time is only a guide. If you stir well NUKA-BED with your hand once every 2-3 days, add extra NUKA rice bran and salt as necessary, it can be used semi-permanently.)
If you are using the nuka kit purchased from us, you will receive two packets. The larger pack is the rice bran and flavorings. The smaller packet is the Nuka starter with fresh sliced fruit.
1. Start by opening the large packet or mixing the above ingredients together and adding enough filtered water (no city tap water please) to make a thick paste. Add the water in small amounts until the correct thickness is obtained. The bed should be like a thick paste.
Over time, the addition of the vegetables will add water to the mixture and more fresh rice bran and salt will be needed.
2. Now add the small packet that contains the nuka starter and fresh fruits. If making your own nuka bed, add some slices of fresh cut organic or wild apples (this adds wild yeast and wanted bacteria).
Mix in the nuka starter by hand until well blended. Also, when starting a new nuka bed from scratch, it will take time for the bacteria and yeast to grow through the bed and become 100% active. The lemon juice will help with retarding mold growth. Note: It is important to mix the bed by hand to spread wanted bacteria within the bed mixture.
3. Add the vegetables that you wish to pickle. Common choices are roots like burdock and carrots, small eggplant, Japanese radish (daikon), cabbage, and cucumber. We like doing radishes and cucumber!
Rub the vegetables with sea salt then place into the nuka vessel pushing them down to cover with the rice bran mixture. Sprinkle the top of the bed with the lemon juice and more salt.
4. Allow the vegetables to sit in the nuka bed for 3 to 5 days. Culturing time may vary depending on the vegetables used and temperature. The taste will move from tangy to very sour the longer the pickles set in the nuka. Do not ferment at room temperature during the hot summer months or the bed may become contaminated with molds.
Mix by hand each day making sure to replace the vegetables under the rice bran. Salt may be sprinkled over the top to help retard mold growth, too. Once complete and to your liking remove the nuka pickles, slice, and serve. Start a new batch or place fermenting vessel in the refrigerator keeping it mixed to prevent mold growth.
Enjoy this method of making great quick pickles without the mess of multiple jars, airlocks, weights, and other unnecessary items. The taste and flavor of the cultured nuka vegetables is second to none! If you want a premixed nuka bed, we have them available in traditional or vegan, at our web store – store.organic-cultures.com
Sounds like a great recipe for fermentation!
It has yogurt in the mix and you may ferment or use fermented chilli, too! The mangoes could be fermented the day before, too, however cooking will kill off the pro-biotics. Happy Culturing…
Mango –1 Cup Chopped
Curd / Yogurt – 1 cup
Water – As required
Salt – To taste
GRIND to a PASTE…
Fresh Grated Coconut – 1/4 Cup
Green Chilli – 1
Jeera (cumin) – 1/4 teaspoon
Turmeric powder – a pinch
Coconut Oil – 1 tablespoon
Mustard seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
Fenugreek seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
Red Chilli – 2
Curry Leaves – a spring
– Peel and chop mangoes. Heat 1/2 cup water in a wok. Bring to a boil and add in the chopped mango chunks.
– Add in salt to taste and cook until the mango is cooked.
– Add all the ingredients listed under ‘grind and paste’, blending them into a smooth paste, add water if needed.
– Add in turmeric powder. Cook for 2 minutes in low flame.
– Take the thick yogurt curd. Beat until you get a smooth consistency. Add to the mango mixture. Cook for few minutes. Remove from heat.
Heat oil in a tampering pan. Add all the ingredients listed under ‘for tampering’ and saute them.
Add the tampered contents into the ‘gravy’ and mix them slowly.
Delicious Pulissery is ready to eat. Serve hot with steamed white rice. Enjoy!
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:
This sweetened miso and eggplant stir-fry is great with a simple bowl of steamed rice!
A quick and easy dish, that is nice and healthy.
Vegan – Veggie – Cultured
1 cup Dashi of 9 kinds of vegetables, no fish. Start with kombu seaweed, onions/scallions, garlic, carrots, and other veggies to your liking.
1 tbsp organic aka-miso/RED miso
1-2 tbsp organic soy sauce
2 tbsp sake
2 tbsp sugar or mirin
2 tbsp organic sesame oil
1 tbsp grated ginger
1/2 cup radish, daikon, Julienned
5 tbsp vegetable/cooking oil of your choice
4-5 long Japanese eggplant, cut long ways, then into 1 inch pieces
Try to use as many organic ingredients you can buy/find…the taste and flavor will be stronger. Start by combining the miso, soy sauce, sake, and sugar until dissolved and smooth.
Fry the ginger in the sesame oil for a few seconds, just to flavour the pan/wok. Remove and set aside.
Add the vegetable oil and then the eggplant. Fry until soft and golden. Then add the ginger and daikon, stirring for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add the miso mixture, tossing to coat each piece evenly.
If you prefer it saltier or sweeter, simply add more miso or sugar.
Alternatively, eliminate everything but the miso sauce and eggplant. Slice the eggplant into disks and deep fry it, then simply pour the miso sauce over it.
Garnish with finely sliced green onion and serve hot.
These condiment sides are a great way to enhance a meal or dish. Very easy to make and uses only a few ingredients. The Japanese use many of these condiment sides every day and most contain minerals and micro-nutrients that normal
salt and pepper cannot compare.
Seaweed Furikake (Nori Fumi Furikake)
In Japan, Furikake is a popular table seasoning that comes in a variety of flavors.
Nori fumi furikake, meaning seaweed flavored furikake, is a very popular flavor, and for good reason! It’s a classic combination used on plain rice, for a cheap meal. Just a sprinkle gives the perfect boost of flavor for rice, noodles, soup, or other dishes!
How to use furikake besides adding to white rice? Try using Japanese furikake with any recipe that calls for shredded nori on top.
1/4 cup white sesame seeds
1/4 cup black sesame seeds
2 sheets nori seaweed
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon sugar
– Start by grinding the black and white sesame seeds. Add the sea salt and sugar, grind until texture is correct.
– Next, toast the nori over an open flame for a few seconds, if not already toasted.
Cut nori sheet into long thin strips. Now layer several strips and fold over 2 or 3 times. Cut the folded nori into very tiny strips. For better looks, cut the nori into very small pieces vs. grinding/blending them up.
Shichimi Togarashi, Japanese Seven Spice
With the expanding appreciation of Japanese cuisine here in this country, there is a need to incorporate the seasonings needed to create and enhance them as well. This seasoning is popular in Japan and used to add both heat and flavor to dishes such as soba noodles, udon, beef tataki, jasmine rice. The heat of this seasoning, unknown in most Japanese cuisine, is just a little. So there is just a hint. Hand mixed from orange peel, black, white and toasted sesame seeds, cayenne, ginger, Szechwan pepper and nori.
1/8 c – Orange/tangerine peel, dried
1/8 c – Black sesame seeds
½ c – Toasted white sesame seeds(dehulled)
– Toasted nori – 2 sheets
– Japan or Korean chili, to taste
– 1/8 or 1/2 teaspoon – Dried ginger root
– Szechwan pepper, to taste
– Optional, one may add hemp seeds and shiso to the mix
Start by grinding the orange peel, black/white sesame seeds, ginger, pepper, and chilies.
Once your happy with the grind and flavor, next is to add the nori sheets
Toast the nori over an open flame for a few seconds, if not already toasted.
Cut nori sheet into long thin strips. Now layer several strips and fold over 2 or 3 times. Cut the folded nori into very tiny strips. For better looks, cut the nori into very small pieces vs. grinding/blending them up.
Yukari Shiso Salt – Yaki Onigiri
This is very easy and no recipe is really needed… Ingredients…
– Shiso leaf, dried, ground
– High quality sea salt, ground
Mix 1/3c shiso leaf with 2/3c sea salt
Place in sealed container for long term storage
Not really a condiment as it is used as a base, to build other flavors from. Used in many traditional Japanese dishes for that great added layer of flavor, called umami. Simple to make, but it adds a lot of flavor to a dish. Vegans and veggies can just make a seaweed and veggie dashi vs. using the bonito flakes.
– 2 (4-inch) square pieces kombu – 2 1/2 quarts water – 1/2-ounce bonito flakes or katsuobushi, about 2 cups
Note: For vegans make a vegetable broth w/ carrots, onions, seaweeds, garlic, and shiitake mushrooms
Put the kombu in a 4-quart saucepan, cover with the water and soak for 30 minutes.
Set the saucepan over medium heat until the water reaches 150 to 160 degrees F and small bubbles appear around the sides of the pan, 9 to 10 minutes.
Remove the kombu from the pan. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, 5 to 6 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add the bonito flakes. Simmer gently, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes.
Strain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer lined with muslin or several layers of cheesecloth. Reserve the bonito flakes for another use.
For long term storage, place in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Use within 1 week or freeze for up to a month.
Gari – Pickled Ginger
Mostly known for its use as a condiment in sushi dishes, it has a great sweet zingy taste.
So easy to make and will last under refrigeration for a long time.
6 ounces fresh ginger ¼ cup plus 1 Tbsp sugar 1 Tbsp sea salt 6 Tbsp plain unseasoned rice wine vinegar
– Peel ginger and slice very thin, almost see through.
– Put ginger in a bowl with
– ¼ c of sugar and 1 Tbsp salt and mix together and let sit for 30 minutes.
– Boil enough water in a pot to cover the amount of ginger and cook the now marinated ginger slices in it for 45 seconds and drain through a strainer.
– Put hot ginger slices in a jar.
– Boil the rice vinegar and sugar together and pour over the ginger.
– Let sit out on the counter for 24 hours.
– Place jars into the refrigerator and leave at least 1 week before tasting. Taste will improve with time; a month in the fridge does well. It will keep well for 6 months.
We hope you have enjoyed learning some new recipes that will make any meal tastier no matter if you’re a vegan, veggie, or meat eater.
Many of the items can be fermented, if one likes, or ingredients can be cultured, too
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.
Source for Kefir, Kombucha, Koji Spores, Tempeh, & Other Traditional Food Cultures…