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Anthony Bonner

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AB^2 has been really focused on starting to ferment stuff. Right now we've got the Sandor Katz Ginger Bug Fermenting, and were going to lay up some Sauerkraut this week.  I feel pretty comfortable with both those things.  But he also wants to do some other things.   Has anyone here played around with rice bran fermenting?  @Orik how are you guys doing the pickles at the resto (that's really what kicked this off for him)

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I maintained a nukadoko for a while but it's a pain in the neck. You can get the same results by adding some hydrated nuka to your lacto ferment, and if you want the real flavor of Kyoto then overwhelm the other LAB with  L. Plantarum (Perhaps a nice side by side is one set started with the probiotic and one without.)

If you have a food saver style vacuum sealer at home then I think the vacuum bag method is the most rewarding to start with - not very wet veggies, 2% salt, spices if you'd like, and depending on your ambient temp, you have very nice pickles 3-7 days later. No mold, no fruit flies, no mess. You can also try some at lower temperature and longer fermentation times. 

A good project right now is parsnip, which develops a far more complex (not to say better) flavor profile - peel, trim, salt, vacuum and time. 

For wet items you either need a chamber vacuum sealer or brine (of course with the salt calculated based on total weight of brine and product) and of course to keep air out, which people achieve by everything from those sturdy pickle buckets you close with a hammer through glass jars you hope won't explode or jars with airlocks and even coca cola 1.5L bottles that are by their nature designed to hold high pressure and acidity - slip baby cukes, spices and brine in, put the cap op and done. There's a chance to experiment with celery leaves, oak leaves, pickling lime, etc.

One non-lacto product that I've made a lot is orange vinegar - since we weren't looking for an award winning clear vinegar this was made from orange juice (you can get unpasteurized, same day squeezed juice if you don't have the machinery for squeezing many oranges), 25% previous batch of vinegar (or Bragg cider vinegar with mother for the first round), 4% alcohol so the mother won't starve until the juice becomes alcoholic. All placed in a large cambro with a lid I drilled out in two places - one for an aquarium pump to push air in, the other for an air lock. About 2 weeks and you've got vinegar you can strain, and likely a sizeable mother. 

Another easy vinegar is wine vinegar - leftover wine diluted down to around 7% alcohol (use previously boiled water to avoid vinegar eels), start with 25% vinegar, cover the top with multiple layers of cheesecloth (tie the sides well, those fruit flies can get in throguh small holes) and in you go. This will take longer (probably 4-5 weeks) without a pump but you get a very nice result. 

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Warm and/or wet ferments are another interesting category - cultured cream is straightforward, and you can turn it into cultured butter. Koji is a bit more tricky but a good opportunity for setting up a chamber with a heater and a humidifier (or a combi oven). Natto is about the same but if you make natto then you'll never be able to use the same chamber for koji again. 

From there on it's all sausage. 

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I made persimmon vinegar last year--was super easy! You just put a whole lot of ripe persimmons in a big jar and let them ferment in the dark for a couple of months, then strain. I washed them, cut then in half, and took off the stem things, but that was all the preparation necessary. I checked once or twice a week to squash everything down and make sure it wasn't getting moldy.

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