Jalapeño Kasuzuke


Jalapeno Kasuzuke

A master class by Kevin Farley of The Cultured Pickle Shop in Berkeley, California on using sake kasu, or the microbe rich remains after a sake is pressed, to make pickles.

Although there is a tradition of using something like this to ferment or preserve vegetables, fish, meat or even to make condiments throughout Asia, over at least the last 500 years the Japanese have developed an extensive array of pickles (tseukemono) and food preparation techniques that are acclaimed throughout the world.

In a sense, the Japanese have codified the ways in which they make pickles, each type it’s own class. Of course, a specific locality might have a way they make their pickles. What is available after the harvest, or sometimes what can be foraged, often dictates what gets pickled.

But the technique pretty much remains constant. As with all fermentations getting to the appropriate water content of what is being pickled or , usually by using salt or some drying technique, is the paramount concern.

As Kevin explains in this video, if water from a vegetable crashes out into the pickling medium it can change the entire fermentation process. One of the more brilliant techniques used by The Cultured Pickle Shop is to create a type of mirin, a traditional Japanese cooking seasoning, from the kasuzuke brine.

How that is then aged or immediately utilized is discussed, as well as the characteristics of aged kasu itself. This very little known technique of aging sake kasu to be used in a year or two to make pickles based on the taste of the kasu is also explained.

This video was originally created to celebrate the release of Sandor Katz’ Fermentation Journeys, one of Sandor’s many amazing books. In fact, you can pick up a copy when you visit The Cultured Pickle Shop.


Available from Independent Bookstores and other online sources. Coming May 2022

Indian Himalayas: Cheese


Maeshraej Cheese or Kalari is a cheese from the Indian Himalayans. In this video by Anita Tikoo, a longtime friend and contributor to Cultures.Group, she explains the wonders of this cheese. Sometimes they are sun dried and a very tasty fungus grows on them. Most people have no idea of the amazing cheeses made throughout India for thousands of years.

Anita is a practicing Landscape Architect who enjoys cooking with seasonal ingredients. In her terrace garden she grows some of the foods that fuel the ferments in her kitchen. She conducts online Food Workshops where like-minded people join her in the kitchen on weekends to cook with locally sourced seasonal ingredients, and has recently started pop-ups with some great Indian Chefs, Bakers and Brewers.

Anita has been baking sourdough breads at home for years using her lively wild yeast starter and local flours. Anita blogs about food matters at A Mad Tea Party Her Instagram handle is a_madteaparty


According to Kashmiri Life: “Kalari cheese is one of the favorite snacks of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Kalari is a dense cheese and is also called the mozzarella of Kashmir. Like mozzarella, it melts on heating and hardens on cooling. The flavor and taste of Kashmiri cheese are just fingers licking well.

Folklore says Kalari is an authentic traditional cheese of the Dogra dynasty of Jammu and Kashmir. Kalari is indigenous to Ramnagar, a town in Udhampur district of Jammu and Kashmir. As shepherds the Gujjar and Bakarwals are highly dependable on Milk, it is popular among the Gujjar and Bakarwal community of Jammu and Kashmir. This cheese is also called “milk chapatti” or “maish krej” in Kashmiri.

Traditionally Kalari cheese is made from Cow’s or Buffalo’s milk but nowadays people also made Kalaris from Goat’s milk, which is whitish in color. Preparation of Kalaris takes hard labor and the nomadic women of Jammu and Kashmir have proved to be the best in this Task.

Preparation of kalari cheese of Jammu and Kashmir is women power: 

Yes, the women play the most important role in Kalari preparation. It is more like a skill that has been passed on among every Gujjar and Bakarwal women folk in Jammu and Kashmir from generation to generation.


December 19 - Fruit From the Sands 11AM to 1 PM EDT 

With Dr. Robert Spengler III, author of Fruit from the Sands . Co-hosted by Zizinia de Les Flors’ Caspar Hall. The last Zoom event is free, as they all have been over the last 11 years.

Available from Independent Bookstores and other online sources.

Anita Tikoo’s Kalari Cheese Sandwich

Rice as Medicine and Food


“Like the millets, Asian rice first evolved in eastern China but eventually became prized in cuisines far to the West. Rice is indispensable in Arabic and Turkic cuisines today, and it was a significant part of the diet, at least as far as back as the medieval period. Persian, Arabic, and Islamic cuisines cook rice in oil or steam it and serve it with a wide variety of vegetables, spices, and meats. Rice also featured in the diet in other ways: It was an important component of medieval Arabic desserts, rice flour was used to make breads, rice was fermented into beer and vinegar, and it was used medicinally. However, among most Central Asian cuisines today it’s starring role is in pilaf.” from Fruits from the Sands by Robert Spengler III.

“Long grain basmati and short grain rice . Anyone who has eaten rice with curry at an Indian restaurant and the sticky rice in sushi rolls knows that rice grains vary in  shape. Although there are many varieties of domesticated rice, they fall mainly into two well defined clades, or branches: O. sativa ssp. indica and O. sativa ssp. japonica- or Indian and Chinese rice. Indica Rice is generally long-grained: the claimed is exemplified by the well known basmati rice. Japonica is usually short-grained and is sometimes referred to as pearl rice. Many locally grown Asian varieties are intermediate in size between indica and japonica. Many japonica grains become sticky, or glutinous, with cooking, although there are glutinous and nonglutinous forms of both japonica and indica. Some varieties of both clades have traits that make them suitable for growing in wet paddies, other forms are adapted to grow on drained land.” from Fruits from the Sands by Robert Spengler III.


December 19 - Fruit From the Sands 11AM to 1 PM EDT 

With Dr. Robert Spengler III, author of Fruit from the Sands . Co-hosted by Zizinia de Les Flors’ Caspar Hall. The last Zoom event is free, as they all have been over the last 11 years.

Available from Independent Bookstores and other online sources.


Koji Idlys



Idlys are usually a steamed soft bread made from fermented rice. In this case, Maya used basmati rice koji. Maya Seetharaman is a globally trained designer, passionate cook, and fermenter, with a passion to enhance meaning, equity, and quality in people’s lives, through research, food, and human-centered design. Maya has lived and worked across multiple cultural contexts, and spends most of her time – when not covered in flour, oil, or Koji spores – observing and unearthing socio-cultural insights for fortune 500 companies, that can drive innovation, sustainability, and cross-cultural empathy.


InRetrospect

There are now 3 ways to register for InRetrospect  or to  get on our mailing list. Either follow us on Instagram at cultures.group and DM with your email address and name, or use https://paypal.me/FermentsandCultures or Venmo: @Ken-Fornataro.


December 19 - Fruit From the Sands 11AM to 1 PM EDT 

With Dr. Robert Spengler III, author of Fruit from the Sands . Co-hosted by Zizinia de Les Flors’ Caspar Hall. The last Zoom event is free, as they all have been over the last 11 years. But we’re moving on.

Available from Independent Bookstores and other online sources.

Corn Misos and Corn Koji



Alan Callaham began his career hitchhiking around the west coast, volunteering on small farms and working in kitchens. He found beauty in the intersection of these two worlds and set off on a journey to explore connections between agriculture, restaurants, and local food traditions. In pursuit of this he has managed market and kitchen gardens, cooked in Michelin-starred restaurants, established preservation programs for kitchens, and worked on food-related projects in Sri Lanka, Turkey, Denmark, and Norway. He currently resides in his home state of Massachusetts. Currently with Food Preservation Lab at @bluehillfarm / @stonebarns


Sweet Corn Miso

There are hundreds more videos like this, and hundreds more on the way! There are now two ways to register for InRetrospect or to get on our mailing list. Either follow us and DM at  https://www.instagram.com/cultures.group/ with your email address or PayPal: https://paypal.me/FermentsandCultures

Follow us here at Vimeo https://vimeo.com/culturesgroup and you get to watch a whole lot of them as they are created for free, and decide if you want to watch lots of them by subscribing.

Again, if you made videos in the past and want access to them all you have to contact us and let us know. It’s that simple. DM us on Instagram. 

These are corn grits koji. In other words corn grits that have been steamed to pre gelatinize the sytartch, then inouclated with different Aspergillus spores. In this case a combination of spores was used including Aspergillus oryzae and Aspergillus sojae. Made by @kenfornataro


Rosehip and Rye


The North and Rye - November 7, 2021, 1 to 3:00 PM Eastern Time (Live Event), then all November.
Rye Spoons by Katrina Kollegaeva

Dr. Darra Goldstein, Gabriella Gershenson, Zuza Zak, Laura Valli, and Katrina Kollegaeva of Rosehip and Rye will discuss the history and current state of food and drink in Russia, The Baltics (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) and The Caucasus, especially the love of things fermented, sour, and rye. Zuza Zak has recently published her book, Amber and Rye (Kitchen Arts and Letters). Darra’s most recent cookbook is Beyond the North Wind, and she will also give us a preview of her upcoming book, The Kingdom of Rye (pre-order, Amazon). Videos on kama, hemp seed butter, fermented walnuts, walnut shio-koji, kvass, Serbian fermented stuffed peppers, fermented foods for kids, pumpkin-fermented pickles, brined tomatoes, and rye!


Chetvergovaya rye black salt (Четверговаясоль) by Katrina Kollegaeva

Katrina Kollegaeva 
Katrina Kollegaeva is a food anthropologist, cook and writer in the UK. She is the co-founder of Rosehip and Rye @rosehipandrye (www.RosehipAndRye.co.uk)

Sprats, Dill Pickles and Russian Borodinsky Dark Rye Bread

Register for WritersCultures: https://conta.cc/3bplEtj


December 19, 2021, 1 to 3 PM EST Fruit From the Sands

The Silk Road Origins of the Foods we eat. Dr. Robert Spengler III, the author of the book, Fruit from the Sands will discuss the book and field questions. The most fascinating archeobotanical history of the dissemination of food and culture and civilization from Central Asia to the rest of the world through The Silk Road and it’s predecessor.



All Zoom events are free. A subscribers ticket to any event allows you to watch videos until 12/31/21. An InRetrospect ticket provides access to all events (live or prerecorded, although we don’t make actual replay event recordings available), 200+ food, fermentation and culture videos. Includes videos from the last 5 years including never before screened archive interviews and full length videos. Until 3/31/2022. Gets rolled out over a four month period. 


Videos by Sandor Katz (author of the newly released book, Fermentation Journeys), Mara Jane King, Dr. Johnny Drain, Dr. Darra Goldstein, Dr. Robert Spengler III, Dr. Maya Hey, Dr. Esther Miller, Dr.Tejas Sameer, Dr. Julia Skinner, Dr. Maria Jimena Ricatti, Dr. Peiman Khosravi, Dr. Ann Yonetani, Zuza Zak, Jelena Belgrave, Terri Ann Fox, Anne-Marie Bonneau, Zoe Mitchell, Chef Greg Dunmore of The Japanese Pantry, Esteban Yepes Montoya, Danny Berke, Misti Norris, Ann-Marie Bonneau, Alexis Nikole Nelson, Katrina Kollegaeva, Laura Valli, Andrea Billar, Ed Delteil, Cortney Burns, Alan Callaham, Nancy Matsumoto, Kristine Krauss, Jessica Alonzo, Meredith Leigh,  Mallory O’Donnell, Sonoko Sakai, Llewelyn Maire, Mika and Nicholas Repenning of Go-en Fermented Foods, Shinobu Kato of Kato Sake Works, Markus Shimuzu, Pao Yu Liu, Rich Shih, Priyanka Bhuyan, William Rubel, Soirée-Leone, Heidi Nestler, Naomi Duguid, Danny Berke, Will Moffat, Holly Davis, Maria Mantilla, Chef Sean Doherty, Umair Khakoo, Anna Drozdova, Sònia Dguez, Maya Seetharaman, Kirsten Shockey, Zoe Christiansen, Margaret Sevenjhazi, Jae-Sang Choi, Eve Jazmati, Ma!Condimentos, Jennifer Solow, Haruko Uchishiba, Connie Chew, Leda Meredith, Yoko Lamn, Andrea Billar, Kimiko Ito, Christine Krauss, Ellie Markovitch, Jo Webster, Pratap Chahal, Harry Rosenblum, Pascal Baudar, Priya Mani, Melanie McIntosh, Ekta Maheshwari, Laurent Serin, Pork Rhyne, Javier Gutiérrez Carcache, Kartik Sinha, Zizinia de les Flors, Alex Hozven and Kevin Farley of The Cultured Pickle Shop, Sharon Flynn, Riley Henderson, Eiko Takahashi, Jeremy Umansky, Nina Mong, Gabriella Gershenson, Anton Nicola, Eleana Hsu, Kevin Gondo, Amy Kalafa of Cultured and Cured, Taylor Erkkinen, Jenny Bardwell, Joel Orsini, Mark Tan (in formation)


The North and Rye – WritersCultures


Dr. Darra Goldstein, Gabriella Gershenson, Zuza Zak, Laura Valli, and Katrina Kollegaeva of Rosehip and Rye will discuss the history and current state of food and drink in Russia, The Baltics (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) and The Caucasus, especially the love of things fermented, sour, and rye. Zuza Zak has recently published her book, Amber and Rye (Kitchen Arts and Letters). Darra’s most recent cookbook is Beyond the North Wind, and she will also give us a preview of her upcoming book, The Kingdom of Rye (pre-order, Amazon). Videos on kama, hemp seed butter, fermented walnuts, walnut shio-koji, kvass, Serbian fermented stuffed peppers, fermented foods for kids, pumpkin-fermented pickles, brined tomatoes, and rye!


Rye Bread and Chocolate Mousse from Amber and Rye, by Zuza Zak. Photo Ola O. Smit @olaosmit

Zuza Zak calls herself a Storyteller-Cook and her aim is to inspire the world to cook and eat more food from Eastern Europe. Zuza was born in Communist Poland and spent her childhood watching her grandmothers cook (and often queue for hours). Zuza’s interest lies in the culture and history of food and as such she uses storytelling as a medium for delving into another cuisine and through it, into another culture. Both in her writing and her food-focussed PhD at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies (UCL), Zuza explores food as a cultural anthropologist, in the context of identity, society and culture. She is the author of Polska, Amber and Rye, and is currently working on a new book and her PhD.


Zuza Zak and her daughter from Amber and Rye, recalling her Baltic Journey. Photo by Yasin Salazar


Fermentation Journeys by Sandor Katz is now available – inscribed however you like by Sandor from Short Mountain Cultures  in Tennessee. It’s also available from our good friends at The Cultured Pickle Shop in Berkeley, California. They sell the most amazing pickles, some packaged for pick up orders. If you are lucky enough to have an actual hard copy in hand you know what all the fuss is about.


Kevin Farley of The Cultured Pickle Shop. Alex Hozven and Kevin created a great video for our WritersCultures event celebrating Sandor Katz and the International Fermentation Community. It’s running for the entire month of November in our Vimeo showcases. have you registered yet?


December 19, 2021, 11 to 1 PM EST Fruit From the Sands

Fruit From the Sands

The Silk Road Origins of the Foods we eat. Dr. Robert Spengler III, the author of the book, Fruit from the Sands will discuss the book and field questions. The most fascinating archeobotanical history of the dissemination of food and culture and civilization from Central Asia to the rest of the world through The Silk Road and it’s predecessor.


“The foods we eat have a deep and often surprising past. From almonds and apples to tea and rice, many foods that we consume today have histories that can be traced out of prehistoric Central Asia along the tracks of the Silk Road to kitchens in Europe, America, China, and elsewhere in East Asia. The exchange of goods, ideas, cultural practices, and genes along these ancient routes extends back five thousand years, and organized trade along the Silk Road dates to at least Han Dynasty China in the second century BC. Balancing a broad array of archaeological, botanical, and historical evidence, Fruit from the Sands presents the fascinating story of the origins and spread of agriculture across Inner Asia and into Europe and East Asia. Through the preserved remains of plants found in archaeological sites, Robert N. Spengler III identifies the regions where our most familiar crops were domesticated and follows their routes as people carried them around the world. With vivid examples, Fruit from the Sands explores how the foods we eat have shaped the course of human history and transformed cuisines all over the globe.”
University of California Press

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