New on the boat

by Michael Bom Frost. Meet Josh Evans, the newest member of our team. Josh came to work with us in June after graduating from Yale in May, where he studied literature, philosophy, and sustainable agriculture. While enrolled as a student he worked with the Yale Sustainable Food Project. We’re looking forward to collaborating with them in the future. Josh has dived right into life at the lab, playing around with Ben in the kitchen, furthering our insect and innovation research with Mark, and preparing for events during the busy summer season. As we settle into the fall he will be continuing our work on wild edible plants, and starting some new projects, including a deeper look into the technique and fermentation of teas. And you will notice him posting updates on our blog as well. He will be with us for the next year or so. The ranks grow.

Submarine kraut

posted by Josh Evans We are always looking to our environment to explore an ingredient or process further. So given we work on a boat, it was only a matter of time before we took a project underwater. A simple sauerkraut was a good place to start. We figured the lower temperature would slow the lactic fermentation; what we knew less was whether and how pressure would influence flavour. Every ten metres of water equals one atmosphere of pressure – not an insignificant amount. Apparently some winemakers will age certain bottles on the ocean floor so there must be a reason. Two identical batches to start: equal parts white and red cabbage packed with 2% salt. One kept on our counter, the other vacuum-packed, weighted, and thrown overboard. We hauled it up after three weeks. All of it stained purple, with tiny bubbles and a bag no longer vacuum-tight. Definitely … Read more

Conserva cruda

  posted by Josh Evans A couple weeks back we found a recipe in Sandor Katz’ The Art of Fermentation for ‘Conserva Cruda di Pomodoro’, a type of raw tomato paste that is preserved through moulding instead of cooking. Now, tomatoes aren’t the most Nordic thing in the world (though you can find them here if you try), but we were interested to see how it works and if the technique could be adapted to other substrates. We squeezed 4kg of tomatoes into a bucket, covered it with a cloth and left it out to ferment. The recipe told us we’d start to get some bubbling, and then after a few days a white mould would start to form on the surface. Twice a day we stirred the mould back into the liquid/pulp mixture, until the bubbling subsided and it had a nice ripe smell. the question is, is this tomato still, strictly … Read more

Bee larvae granola

posted by Josh Evans Bee larvae have been on the roster since the summer, when urban beekeeping initiative Bybi began supplying us with their surplus. Keeping beehives involves removing some of the larvae early in the season, so that there will be an excess of honey later on to harvest. [NB: Actually the larvae removal has nothing to do with honey – it is a strategy devised to manage Varroa mite populations in the hive] Traditionally, these combs were eaten whole – larvae, pupae, honey and all – and in that form they are one of nature’s most nutritionally complete foods. The sorting is a labour-intensive process. First we blast-freeze the whole combs to solidify the larvae and harden the wax. Then we break the combs down by shaking them in a large bucket. We have many loose larvae and small chunks of wax. Now comes the process of going through by … Read more