I'm back after a long vacation away in Northern Canuckistan and I'm devouring Sandor Katz' paean to pickling: The Art of Fermentation. I've just today gone out to Salcedo Market to get some farm-fresh ginger root and turmeric root, and grabbed some red ginger from the local Rustan's. Also, with the availability of Muscovado sugar (from raw cane juice), I couldn't help but liberate a couple kilos for my nefarious purposes.
Using instructions from the book, I've put together a ginger bug and a turmeric bug: these things are simply fermentation starters made from water, sugar, and shredded roots (with skin). Each day, you add a little more shredded root and sugar. It can take about three days for a good vigourous ferment to get going, but once the ferment starts to work, it's going to be time to make ginger beer! I'll also make turmeric beer and if I can find galangal, I'll do that one, too.
In other news, I have been able to clone the reishi mushroom from my front yard using a rather unorthodox method. Thanks to the fact my wife was away, I was able to do this. I took a bunch of wood chips and stuck them in a couple jars. I then topped the jars with water and stuck them in the microwave for five minutes. It made the room smell interesting, but the water-infused wood (and the jars) were well and truly sterilised. I sealed the jars and let them cool. Once cooled overnight, I plopped a few bits of wood chips from my tree stump into them, and left them about four weeks. This is what I now have:
Thoroughly mycelially - enhanced wood chips with no apparent source of contamination.
I also colonised some pure coir just to prove it could be done. This was done in conjunction with my spawndry basket. News on the spawndry basket front: It flushed!!!!!
And then it deliquesced because I wasn't at home to see the mushrooms flush (see above note on me being in Northern Canuckistan on long holiday). I've since put the basket out in the rain where it will keep wet and hopefully flush again. The mushrooms had grown only at the bottom of the bucket (close to the only source of moisture) due to lack of water, in my reckoning. If I can infuse the whole thing with moisture, I hope that I can get a better second flush.
Projects, projects, projects... at least I am on the right track with the ginger beer, my wife is highly supportive of any activity that provides her with yummy and nutritious ginger beer!