Ferment! Day 1

Colin and Sophie are our lab technicians, here to help and guide us during our stay. With Sean coming later in the week to set up the bulk of our scientific exploration of fermentation, Colin and I spent some time taking initial photographs of kimchi and fish sauce. We hope to get a decent microbial photograph later in our residency, but for now you can see images through a wide lens Zeiss microscope and a basic, compound microscope.

You’ll have to bear with me and my non-existent scientific knowledge, but it was interesting to see how much oil there was from the chillis in kimchi, as well as the sharper geometry in the fish sauce. The fish sauce was made by my nan, a few years ago and has been sitting patiently in my fridge. It is murky, unrefined and super punchy.

We set up the simple lactic ferments and put them on display. As something you can do with just salt, water and a clean jar, it seems like a good ferment to explore and share with the public. Last week we pulled out a lot of herbs at Newlina Eco-Garden. The hot summer meant they had lasted much longer than normal. I decided to put a load away in simple 2% brines and see how they turn out.

The lovage seems to be changing very little and is not so active.
The wild chive flower buds are the most active in comparison, needing burping twice a day and smelling super strong.
The basil is less active but there is definitely a delicious change in its aroma.
The horseradish is completely inactive, and we hope to investigate its effects in inhibiting microbial activity. I will be transferring some to a larger vat of brine, hopefully to lessen the concentration of its inhibitory qualities.