Health and autonomy through fermentation - Project

In this project I want to explore fermentation from two different angles:

  1. Which fermented food and recipes can be good for health, and
  2. How fermentation can be used as a way to grow biomaterials, transforming organic matter into useful objects.

In both cases, I want to see how fermentation can help increase autonomy by locally creating our own healthy food as well as our own useful organic objects.

Objectives of the project

  • Summarising the scientific knowledge and ancient skills about fermentation
  • Developing creative recipes relatively easy, very tasty and very healthy!
  • Exploring methods to grow useful objects from organic matter

Method and timeline

In 2018 I started some explorations and experiments on fermentation. From mushrooms grown out of shredded wood, to various kinds of lacto-fermentation, to bean cheese making, and finally to tempeh experiments.

Over the year 2019, we co-founded an initiative with my wife Hsiao and a handful of friends called Ferment the City!, based in Taipei, Taiwan. For about 6 months we explored the concept of fermentation with a lot of freedom, including applying the idea of fermentation at the scale of the society, with the concept of social fermentation.

Now, I have hence potentially many things to share here! But this comes step by step because I work on different projects in parallel.

You can subscribe to my newsletter to stay informed!

Results so far

  • If you are ready to dive into practice, you can have a look at my first article about fermentation: How to Make Okara Tempeh. Okara tempeh needs slightly different growth conditions than tempeh made from full soybeans, and that is what I cover in detail in the associated eBook.
  • You can have a look at my in-depth article about chickpea tempeh.
  • You can also read how to choose the right fermentation container. In this article, I describe the most common fermentation containers with the help of little drawings.
  • If you are interested in the idea of social fermentation, or you would like to ferment your city, then you can have a look at our Ferment the City! Facebook page.

Resources

Here are some good sources of information about fermentation science and practice:

  • Food Forest Lab, from Claire (in French). Claire is a very active and creative co-founder of Ferment the City!, and she is now sharing her experiments about fermentation and food forests, including fermented drinks and bean cheeses.
  • Asian Fungal Fermented Food is a very nice book chapter giving a scientific overview of these specific fermentation techniques using fungus as the ferment, such as for tempeh. Nout, M. J. R., & Aidoo, K. E. (2002). Asian fungal fermented food. In Industrial Applications (pp. 23-47). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.
  • The Noma Guide to Fermentation is an amazing eBook about various fermentation techniques remastered from a Copenhagen perspective. Redzepi, R., & Zilber, D. (2018). The Noma Guide to Fermentation: Including koji, kombuchas, shoyus, misos, vinegars, garums, lacto-ferments, and black fruits and vegetables. Artisan Books.

Would you like to follow my explorations?

Every Sunday, I send Mésange.

Mésange is a ‘popup’ newsletter, a series of 26 letters, that I am writing from October 2022 to March 2023.

Each letter is a short story of 5-10 min read, telling one of my explorations on permaculture, nature, craftsmanship, autonomy, psychology, philosophy, the mysteries of life… I craft each story meticulously to offer inspiration, joy, wisdom!

What will be the story next Sunday? I invite you to subscribe to my newsletter below to discover it… ;-)

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