Since before written testimony, fermentation has been used in Japanese cuisine to preserve food, transform flavor, and enhance nutrition. It forms a keystone of Japanese cultural identity, and today delicious staples like sake, miso, and soy sauce are well known across the globe. In the US, however, little note is given to one of Japan’s most notable ferments: its pickles. Varied in their flavor, color, ingredients, and preparation, Japanese pickles have a rich history, both practical and artisanal.
You can learn how to make some of the many Japanese pickles at our upcoming workshop on March 25.
In this class we’ll talk about the history of Japanese pickle making, from its roots in agricultural homesteading to its integration in urban cuisine. Then we’ll go over some basic pickle recipes, and you’ll get hands-on experience making a nukadoko – the culturing bed for nukazuke, Japan’s most classic pickle – with a recipe adapted to use local ingredients. A nukadoko is traditionally made using rice bran as the culturing medium, but we’ll be using wheat bran because it’s more widely available in the US and is just as healthy, functional, and delicious.
Pickle making takes a lot of practice and patience, but by the end of the class you will have the tools you need to start making nukazuke and to begin diversifying other home ferments using traditional Japanese pickling techniques.
This course will cover basic aspects of Japanese pickle-making, and you will take home a nukadoko starter of your own. For the nukadoko, please bring a food-safe container (glass or plastic, not metal) with a sealable lid that can hold at least one liter (~4 cups). Rectangular, flat-bottom containers are preferred (something similar to this), but if you only have a mason jar, make sure it’s a wide-mouth version. Also, please wear clothes you’d normally wear while preparing food. We will be inside, so cold-weather clothing is not necessary.
Please note: this class is best suited for people who know they enjoy eating fermented foods. If you like sauerkraut, kimchi, or other vegetable ferments, and want to experience a new world of flavor, then this class is for you!
The workshop will take place at the Low Technology Institute on Mar. 25, 2018, from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. You can reserve your spot by paying the workshop fee of $25 ($20 for members, memberships start at $35/year) at our online store. If the course is sold out, please check out with the $0 “Waitlist” option to be added to the queue.
Patrick Monari is leading the course. He recently received a fellowship from the Japanese government to research international education outreach for Kyoto’s traditional pickle making. He is also the founder and organizer of the Madison Fermentation Collective, a small group in the city dedicated to fermentation education through home-based skill-shares.
Please email us at email@example.com with any questions about the workshop or logistics.