5 Things to Do With Koji Rice – From Amazake to Miso

Koji is an amazing culinary product rich in enzymes that transform food textures and flavors.

Traditionally used in Japan to make miso, sake, and myriad other traditional Japanese ferments, koji has seen a recent growth in popularity in Western kitchens, resulting in lots of creative new uses for koji.

Here we outline some traditional and not-so-traditional ways to use koji in your home kitchen, including a brief primer on what koji is and how to source it.

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Tempeh Recipe – How to Ferment Tempeh at Home

Tempeh is one of those foods that may elicit polarizing reactions- on one hand, it's white and fuzzy and doesn't seem like something you should be ingesting. But once you take your first bite of homemade tempeh, I guarantee you will be hooked: it's hauntingly floral, nutty, umami, and just plain delicious.

Tempeh can be really hard to find in grocery stores, and if you do find it, it tends to be quite pricey. It's cheaper to make tempeh yourself, with the added benefit that you can experiment with flavors and substrates. Whether you love tempeh or have never tried it but love fermented foods, we urge you to try your hand at making your own tempeh at home using our guide!

Note: This article shares our process on how to ferment tempeh at home; however, the exact proportions of spores-to-soybeans (or other substrates) and other ingredients (like vinegar) are typically outlined on your spore package and should be followed accordingly. As such, treat this article as more of a general process and follow your spore package recommendations above all others.

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5 Ways to Preserve Fruits and Vegetables at Home

If you garden at all, chances are you've been overwhelmed at one time or another with the volume of produce your garden has produced. Or perhaps you participate in a CSA and just can't figure out what to do with those five-pound zucchinis they keep giving you. Or maybe you've just been a little too ambitious with your farmer's market purchases.

We've all been there. However you got there, you've ended up with too many fruits, veggies, or herbs, and there's no way you'll be able to cook with them all before they go bad.

We've been in this position numerous times, and while it used to stress us out trying to figure out how to eat kale for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, we've come to realize that there are so many ways to preserve summer's bounty for future enjoyment.

In this one, we dive into an overview of five of our favorite ways to preserve fruits and vegetables- what they are, what equipment you'll need to get started, and some basic ideas to spark your creativity.

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How to Brew Kombucha – Easy Steps to Follow at Home

Kombucha is a delicious beverage that's made with sweetened tea fermented with a mixed culture of bacteria and yeast. Although it's widely available in grocery stores these days, making kombucha yourself at home is a really fun and easy fermentation project that can save you money and allow you to customize the flavor and ingredients.

Kombucha was one of the first ferments that I dove into – I like to think of it as a gateway ferment. Requiring nothing more than water, sugar, tea, and a starter culture, it also has a pretty short fermentation time so you can enjoy the fruits of your labor relatively quickly.

We're going to walk you through everything you need to make kombucha and outline the steps to brew this zippy fermented drink.

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How to Make Koji – A Step-by-Step Guide for Home Incubation

Koji is an enchanting fungus that is the secret superpower behind many delicious fermented foods worldwide. It's been used for centuries in different cultures to create products like miso and shoyu.

What exactly is koji and how is it used? Well, the word koji can refer to both the actual mold spores (Aspergillus Oryzae), as well as the final product that you get when you grow koji spores on a substrate. The basic premise is that you inoculate a cooked substrate (rice, barley, and soybeans are some of the most common) with koji spores and incubate for about two days. As koji reproduces, it generates enzymes like proteases and amylases.

The power of these enzymes can then be realized in a second fermentation step by combining the rice koji (or barley koji, soybean koji, etc.) with other ingredients (like soybeans to create miso, for example). In this second fermentation, the proteases and amylases break down carbohydrates and proteins in the fermenting product into their smaller building blocks. These smaller building blocks give the final product a sweeter and/or more umami flavor depending on what you're fermenting and can really do wonders to improve the taste of a meal!

So, if you are looking to make koji at home, you will want to follow these step-by-step procedures to get started.

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How to Build a Homemade Incubator for Fermentation

If you're thinking about diving into the world of fermentation, one of the most important things to plan out is how you will maintain specific temperatures for your ferments during incubation. Provide too much heat, and the organisms will die. Provide too little heat, and they may not reproduce as they should.

Of course, not all ferments require elevated temperatures – lacto ferments like sauerkraut and pickles, for example, are simply done at room temperature. But if you want to explore the worlds of koji, tempeh, miso, yogurt, sourdough, and more, you'll need to maintain elevated temperature ranges that can be quite narrow.

So in this one, we wanted to share how we built our own homemade incubator for fermentation projects as it ended up being rather easy!

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