Pocket City Farms

I’m currently in Sydney helping to teach a permaculture design course with Milkwood – it’s always a pleasure working with these committed legends. This week we took the students on a tour of some projects and homes we think are downright awesome – like Pocket City Farms. 

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Once a bowling green, it’s now a flourishing restaurant, playground, yoga space, food forest and market garden that’s transformed 1200m2 of grass into food.

IMG_1777Image from Pocket City Farms

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Pocket City Farms consists of a team of five and is a “new” project. New in the sense that their first crops are only 7 weeks old, but not so new in the sense that they’ve been working on bringing this dream to life for around six years – good things take time and *really* good people to see it all through.

20160720_154759Zag, answering our million questions

As someone who grew up on a city farm in Brisbane and helped get the Hobart City Farm up and running, seeing other similar projects kicking arse is more than heart warming, I’m a firm believer that this is world saving stuff. Seriously, in the face of climate change, peak oil, peak soil (yes, that’s right soil), food sovereignty and crazy politics – addressing unsustainable food production by countering it with regenerative food and community cultivation practices is where it’s at.

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Thanks Zag, Emma, Luke, Karen, Adrian and Pepe (the charming farm dog) for being dreamers and doers, for seeing the problems and being part of the solution. Meeting folks like you make me feel like everything’s going to be ok.

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You can stay in touch with the Pocket City Farms by joining their newsletter here. 

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Holistic Management Decision Making with Dan Palmer

We recently interviewed Dan Palmer from Very Edible Gardens all about holistic management decision making (HMDM) – what it is, why it works and what it’s got to do with permaculture. Read on my friends to get acquainted with this life changing framework!

What exactly is holistic management and holistic management decision making?

Holistic management (HM) is a framework for making deeply sound decisions. Deeply sound in the tangible sense of honouring the whole situation, minimising unintended negative consequences, and taking you where you want to go. There are three key pieces to its practice:

  1. Clarify that thing. This thing is what you are managing or making decisions about. This could be anything. Your life as a whole, your family, a business, a project, a day. Whatever. Who is involved? What support is available?
  2. Aim that thing. This involves tuning into what the key people involved most deeply want from the thing being managed – the destination, how you’d like to navigate the path toward the destination, and what you depend on if you’ve any chance of getting there
  3. Steer that thing. Make decisions toward the desired destination, act on them, and use feedback to stay on track

It was originated by Allan Savory and is most often applied in a farming context. But it applies to anyone that makes decisions, and part of what I’m doing with my life is sharing how to use it.

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VEG directors Dan Palmer (left) and Adam Grubb (right) with Allan Savory tucked in the middle

How does it link in with permaculture?

Permaculture is weak on decision making, in that when permaculture projects fail it tends to be due to decisions with unintended personal, social or financial consequences. Holistic management is like a plugin that fills this gap and makes permaculture projects more likely to succeed. I would say that adding a liberal dash of holistic management doubles or triples the power of permaculture to affect lasting positive change in the world. I’m at the point where I can’t imagine not using holistic management in my work as a permaculture design consultant. I still think permaculture is awesome, by the way, but if you get to know any approach well enough you’ll find blind spots that some other approach can help address. This is a case of that.

How has it impacted you personally and professionally?


Soon after I learned about HM we used it to save our company (Very Edible Gardens or VEG) from near-certain failure. It was taking over our lives, stressing us out, and losing money hand-over-fist. We were incredibly close to pulling the plug. Seeing HM rapidly transform VEG into something way more sustainable, fun and profitable really got my attention. I next applied it with my wife to our family, which while not in quite as dire a position, was flailing about a bit. We have not looked back and use this tool to make all major family decisions. Next up I used it on myself to the point where it is present inside the fabric of every day for me. Lately I’m using it to sustainably manage something like ten separate projects, many of them businesses. I think you get the point – HM and my life are inseparable and I’m a lot more effective and satisfied in the world as a result.

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 Dan and Adam with team members Carey Priest and Cassie Carter

Who would benefit from learning about HMDM?

Anyone who feels that something is lacking in the way they currently make decisions. Especially if it feels like their current way of making decisions is taking them in circles or compromising how satisfying life is feeling.

What’s one (or some) of the more powerful stories you’ve heard about how HMDM has helped transform people’s lives?

I’ve heard plenty of stories of farmers who turned their farms around financially, socially and ecologically using this tool. Plenty of workshop participants have used it successfully in their life projects. But my experience of using it to transform my own failing business into a success is probably the best example I have yet experienced. If only I had thought to get a before shot!

Want to know more?

Join Dan this October 15-16 in Hobart for our Holistic Management Decision Making workshop – it’s highly likely to change your life for the better.

 

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Our Favourite Sick-Smashing Brew

I’m entering my second week of hanging out in “Sick Land” – the place where sounding intelligent is a little challenging due to the amount of snot in my head that’s slowing my brain down to an embarrassingly slow speed.  So enough chit chat – I would like to share a little sick-smashing brew with you – taught to me by my mum. When us kids were sick, she was known for making her garden medicine which usually worked. She was pretty rad that way, entrenching natural knowledge into our heads and hearts without us even noticing – thanks mum. And yes, I should have started drinking this as soon as I noticed getting sick, but I didn’t, bugger.

The ingredients

These ingredients will be very familiar to a lot of you – ginger, lemon, thyme, sage, garlic and chilli.  I would have also like to include some fresh tumeric, but I don’t have any at the moment. In terms of how much you need of each item it’s really up to you, but I highly recommend you put heaps of everything in there to make it *strong*.

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The method

Cut and smash up the ingredients to help get the flavour and magical healing powers out of them. I use my mortar and pestle the smash up the garlic and ginger until it’s nice and juicy.

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Put it all in a pot of water and bring it to the boil, then let it simmer until the aroma fills your house and even your blocked nose can smell strong wafts of garlic. This should take a minimum of 30 minutes.

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I’ll keep this brew on the stove for at least a couple of days, adding more water and fresh ingredients as I need them – the longer it brews, the stronger (and more effective) it will get.

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It’s going to taste really strong, i.e. it might make your face scrunch up. But that’s a sign it’s good for you and also that you should add honey.
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Curl up on the couch and drink, and keep drinking it a few times a day. Your snot should start dissolving and clear thinking and energy should return shortly :-).

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Cough cough, splutter – that’s enough for me today. Here’s to good health!

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Permaculture Design Course Full Scholarship Available!!

As always, in the spirit of fair share – we’re offering *one full scholarship* to a special someone for our summer Permaculture Design Course (PDC) that’s running from Jan 21 – Feb 3, 2017 in southern Tasmania. Yeah!

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This includes full catering and two weeks of deep permaculture design learning with an amazingly experienced and passionate teaching team (accomodation is free camping on site (byo gear)). You can read all about the course, see the schedule and more here. 

This PDC is being lead by Hannah Moloney with *special* guest, Nick Ritar form Milkwood plus highly talented and skilled local guest teachers.

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We give plenty of time for folks to apply for this scholarship and will be accepting applicants up until December 1st, 2016.

To apply, simply email Hannah at hello@goodlifepermaculture.com.au addressing the following three points.

  1. A little bit about your background (100-200 words).
  2. You need to not be able to financially afford this course, we prioritise giving these places to people who genuinely cannot find the funds to access this educational experience.
  3. How this new knowledge and experience will benefit you *and* your community/work place and/or project.

Please share this far and wide so it gets to the people who need it most – thanks!

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How To Dry Cure Olives In 3 Weeks

Once upon a time I lived in Adelaide where olive trees grow like weeds. Every winter we’d go foraging and preserve a good stash for eating. One year the very awesome Annemarie Brookman from the Food Forest taught me how to dry cure olives and I’ve never looked back. It’s infinitely easier and just as tasty as pickling, in short it’s life changing – here’s how we do it.

You’ll need

  • Salt: All recipes we’ve ever seen specify using non-iodized salt, we use coarse rock salt – but I don’t think it actually matters.
  • Olives: Only use black, fully ripe olives for this method. For 10kg of olives, you’ll need approximately 5kg of salt.
  • A bucket: To put the olives and salt in. We use 10 or 20 litre “food grade” buckets.

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Step 1

Pick your olives! Choose only the blackest and leave the green ones on the tree to ripen or use them for pickling. Give them a good wash in fresh water to get any dirt/bird poo off them.

Step 2

Get comfy as this step takes a while. You need to break the flesh of each and every olive so it can absorb the salt. If you don’t do this step then it will not work and you’ll cry. Most people recommend using a knife to put a slice in each olive, however we use a fork and prick each olive a few times. This is soooo much quicker than using a knife, plus you can watch a movie at the same time without fear of stabbing yourself.

FYI – your fingers will turn a black/purple colour from the olive juices which will take a few days to fade.

IMG_6266A pricked olive!

Step 3

Once all your olives are nicely punctured, pack them in a jar or bucket with salt. We add the olives gradually, mixing in the salt as we go to ensure it’s spread evenly. We then put a thicker layer on top knowing that it will sink down with gravity.

Once you’ve done this, either pop a lid on top or some cheesecloth to keep the bugs out and leave it to start doing its thing

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Step 4

Check on your olives every few days, they should be literally swimming in their own liquid within one week as seen below. This is a good sign. Strain the liquid off and keep going for another two’ish weeks.

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IMG_6278The excess liquid we strained off our olives after one week in salt. 

Even after only one week you’ll see the olives have shrivelled up considerably, if you want to, you can stat taste testing them now – just wash one in fresh water and taste away to see how they’re evolving.

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Step 5

Once the liquid has been strained off, make sure the original salt is mixed in evenly and let it continue to do its thing. Some people add in fresh salt at this stage if some of the salt was lost in the straining process.

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Step 6

After three -four weeks your olives should be ready. To test, wash some in fresh water and taste them. Once you’re happy with the taste, rinse the whole lot in fresh water. From here you can either let them dry on some cloth towels and store in a jar or, put them in jars of olive oil with rosemary and garlic – the choice is yours. They’ll taste awesome either way.

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What finished dry cured olives look like. Image from here

That’s it folks, you’ll never be scared of preserving olives again!

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Will Borowski + Gourmet Mushroom Cultivation

Will Borowski from Forest Fungi is one of Australia’s leading pioneers and specialists in growing gourmet mushrooms and teaching others to do the same. We caught up with him to find out how he got started, what makes him tick and admire some of his fungi…

r0_89_4000_2338_w1200_h678_fmaxWill with River Cottage Australia host, Paul West eating something mushroomy. Image from here. 

What got you started growing mushrooms?

Back in my Uni days, I started growing fruit and veggies, and like most gardeners, I discovered that fresh, home grown food is so much tastier than anything from the shops. Gardening also allows a glimpse into the incredible nature of life, the inter-connectedness of things, the seasonal cycles.

Naturally, I was fascinated with what appeared in my garden, and the ephemeral mushrooms always intrigued me. I tried growing some button mushrooms from a kit, with limited success. Then one day I discovered that my surname (Borowski) means “forest mushroom”!

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For years I had a recurring dream of picking wild mushrooms in a forest, with women in scarves, but I had no idea why, as I hadn’t been foraging.

I decided to try and grow as many edible mushrooms as I could, but no one in Australia offered supplies or courses. So I taught myself, collected various edible fungi from Asian markets, and within a short time I was growing loads of delicious gourmet mushrooms, at home, with some very basic equipment.

What’s one of your favourite things about growing mushrooms?

Hard to choose one, but eating them is very satisfying.

What types of mushrooms do you grow?

I grow lots of wood loving mushrooms – over 20 species, but there are a few I focus on including:

  • Pholiota nameko – Nameko for the best miso ever,
  • Agrocybe aegerita – Pioppino , my favourite flavoured mushroom,
  • Lentinula edodes – Shiitake, which is very different fresh compared to dried, and
  • Pleurotus eryngii – King oysters, which have the texture of abalone or calamari.

Some species are very easy to grow, such as grey, white, pink, gold and blue oysters of the Pleurotus genus, and although they’re not my favourites, I grow them because other people love them. Some species I’m trying to grow are a bit harder, like mycorrhizal fungi such as birch boletes, truffles and morels.

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Why do you think other people should grow their own mushrooms?

Because nothing beats fresh, home grown food. You can use “waste” products, such as coffee grounds, spent brewery waste, sawdust etc., to grow delicious mushrooms. You can use the spent substrate in your garden, it makes great compost, and you can feed it to livestock – chooks love it!

Do people need a special lab to grow mushrooms in their own home?

No, a clean kitchen will suffice for most aspects. If you want to do tissue culture, your lab can simply be a box! If you want to grow your own spawn, then a pressure cooker is the way to go. If you just buy dowels or spawn, then you can do all your inoculating outside.

10330240_1213173658710812_6085014387933248450_nA collection of homegrown mushroom greatness including pink oyster mushrooms, king oyster mushrooms, nameko, pioppino and shiitake. Image by Will Borowski.

Can people live in tiny units/houses and still grow mushrooms?

Yes, that’s why mushroom growing is now so popular, because you can grow indoors in small spaces, in places without direct sunlight (although they do like some sunshine). Growing and nurturing something, be it plants, animals or fungi, is a good way to connect to something outside of ourselves.

There are some amazing terrariums featuring fungi, so they can be a feature. Long lasting mushrooms, Ganoderma  species such as Reishi (Japanese) or Ling-zhi (Chinese), which can live for decades, are revered for the tea you can brew from them, as well as being decorative works of art.

What should people expect from a one day workshop with you?

I try to pack as much info into a one day workshop as I can. I want people to leave knowing just how easy it can be to grow mushrooms.

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I don’t keep any secrets, and I show people how to grow through all the aspects of mushroom growing – from cloning a mushroom, making a lab, making spawn and then using that spawn to grow mushrooms on eucalyptus logs and pasteurised straw.

Cloning mushrooms and working with petri dishes isn’t for everyone, but it is easy, and once you know how to, you can save money and make your own spawn. Some people prefer the easy way, which is to just buy dowels or spawn. We’ll teach you how to use both, we want more people to grow mushrooms. They can help reduce waste going to landfill, can be grown in recycled containers, are packed with protein and nutrients, can be grown by almost anyone almost anywhere.

I’ll do my best to answer all questions, and demystify the world of mushrooms. You’ll leave with living fungi, some which I’ve had for over a decade.

You can join Will on our How To Grow Mushroom workshop this August 20th in Hobart – it’s going to be awesome!

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With Thanks To Wendell

I’ve been a *big* fan of Wendell Berry and his writing for a solid 10 years or so. As an author, environmental activist and farmer – his words cut deep for me, get straight to what matters – the earth and our place on it.

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Not being a poet, I struggle to communicate the power of his words and how they pull on my heart – warming and hurting it at the same time…. So instead – I just use them.

A much younger me made a screenprint featuring some of his words – they’re so simple, but resonate so strongly with me I think I pretty much screenprinted every t-shirt I had at the time with the following patch…

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They come from one of his poems “Below” which reads like so….

“Above trees and rooftops
is the range of symbols:
banner, cross and star;
air war, the mode of those
who live by symbols; the pure
abstraction of travel by air.
Here a spire holds up
an angel with trump and wings;
he’s in his element.
Another lifts a hand
with forefinger pointing up
to admonish that all’s not here.
All’s not. But I aspire
downward. Flyers embrace
the air, and I’m a man
who needs something to hug.
All my dawns cross the horizon
and rise, from underfoot.
What I stand for
is what I stand on.”

I had forgotten about this screen and only just found it gathering dust under our house this past weekend. While I made it around 10 years ago, the words still have such a deep impact on me, so while our little daughter slept, I printed a small number of them to spread the love.

I hope like crazy our little daughter gets to grow big and strong to enjoy this earth of ours. I hope that my deep worry over climate change, the plight of refugees and politics seemingly concerned only with maintaining an economic system that is built to break is nothing. I hope I’m wrong and that it’s all fine. In the meantime, I say *yes* to living a life which puts the earth (and all living things) first – to me this just translate to living simply, locally and with enormous intent to do good.

Thanks to Wendell for being one of the good ones.

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The impact of doing a Permaculture Design Course

Meet Lauren and Oberon Carter (and their three ace little people) who live in Hobart, Tasmania. Oberon is an ecologist who works in conservation, currently working with Tasmanian threatened species. He’s spent time looking at climate change and Tasmanian landscapes and working with landowners. Lauren comes from a design background and runs an online shop called Spiral Garden, selling ethical toys, gifts and homewares – plus she home educates their three children (which is a full-time job in itself). They’ve each completed a Permaculture Design Course (PDC) – Lauren with Milkwood and Oberon with us at Good Life. Today we’re talking to them about permaculture and specifically how completing a PDC has impacted their lives…
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What knowledge did you have on permaculture before you did your PDC?

(Lauren) Before doing our PDCs, we had fairly limited knowledge of what Permaculture was. Oberon’s background in ecology meant he had a deep understanding of natural processes and my practical experience and long-held interest in gardening and sustainable living meant much of it made sense to us when we finally got around to doing our PDCs. We’d been reading the Designers Manual (By Bill Mollison) and talking about doing a PDC since seeing David Holmgren talk in a tent in Daylesford when we were 20 years old (around 15-20 years ago)!
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How did the PDC inform your life choices – personally and professionally?

(Lauren) I had a real A-ha! moment when I did my PDC. We’d been unschooling our children for several years and found that many of the principles and ethics were aligned with how we were raising our kids. It felt like everything fell into place. And I thought I was just there for gardening!
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We began working with my permaculture design for our home and our children were intrigued so I started passing information on to them. Then Oberon decided to do his PDC and had a similar A-ha! moment. We began working with permaculture as a holistic framework for homeschooling our kids and that evolved into the Seedlings Permaculture program. This is an online course we offer that focuses on permaculture for families, bringing permaculture into people’s homes around the world.
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In the meantime, we’ve also been very slowly implementing our design plan for our home and, more recently, focussing on the principle “Produce No Waste”. Our home is now waste-free and we’ve written another e-course, Zero Waste Families, to share that process with other families. Our retail business is now based around permaculture principles and we’re volunteering our time to local groups such as Zero Waste Tasmania and Permaculture Tasmania.
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What would you say to someone who’s thinking about doing a PDC but not sure if it’ll be useful or relevant to them?

(Lauren) Something neither of us expected was the incredible group environment at a PDC and the experience of sharing two weeks with a group of passionate and interesting people from all walks of life. One of us is an extrovert and the other a complete introvert and we both found lots of inspiration and ease within the group setting.
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Without the concentrated effort of the work and conversation at the PDC, we’d most likely still be fumbling along, reading bits here and there. To really understand what permaculture’s all about, a PDC is an absolute must.
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How do you think permaculture can help be the solution to some of our global challenges?

(Oberon) The ethics and principles that underpin the permaculture design system were developed in the context of an increasing awareness of climate change and global development.  With this in mind, permaculture really speaks to the heart of what is needed to solve many of our global challenges – caring more for nature, for each other, and sharing that which is surplus to our needs.
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These ethics appear so simple and straightforward, and yet the behaviour of many modern societies appears contrary to them. I think big in-roads can be made if shifts are made towards more localised and closed-loop food systems, with a culture of sharing within better-connected local communities, whilst challenging the consumptive norms of today. It ain’t gonna be easy, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try! Global challenges aren’t answered in a single paragraph, but I think permaculture concepts would be a beneficial conversation starter when discussing any global problem.
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How is permaculture being part of your solution to living a good life?

(Oberon) I feel that living by the ethics and principles of permaculture (or at least, being mindful of them when we aren’t quite living by them!) helps us to feel more a part of nature, rather than apart from it. It sounds cliche, but to me, this is what living the good life is about – feeling more connected to the earth and to each other.
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But even more than FEELING connected, permaculture has taught us how to ACT in ways that are less harmful to the environment and each other. It’s more than feeling a certain way, its about doing a certain way.
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Getting your hands in the earth, to eventually harvest your own food, to make use of what is nearby, to maintain the good stuff (e.g. biodiversity, healthy soils, water and air) whilst nourishing ourselves. To observe the big picture as well as the small, and find what works for you and your surrounds. A way of life that is founded in good science and practical logic, but which is flexible enough for us to change habits and adapt as the world changes around us!
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  • You can read more about Oberon and Lauren’s journey in zero waste here
  • Our next Permaculture Design Course in this summer running from January 21 – February 3 in Southern Tasmania – it’s shaping up to be more than special.
  • All photos are taken by Oberon and Lauren.
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Vegan Kimchi

13230164_1162222730478637_321146754051828737_nWe’re big fans of the wild ferment and make all sorts of nutritious and delicious veggie and dairy ferments.

I recently came by this particularly enormous and beautiful Chinese cabbage at the local markets. It inspired a flurry of kimchi making, plus a photo shoot to capture its glory for all eternity.

The main difference to our kimchi recipe is that it’s and vegan, here’s how we make it…

 

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Traditionally, kimchi includes fish source or products, this provides a distinct ‘kimchi’ flavour which is incredibly popular. Being vegetarian, we simply leave this out – our ‘base’ ingredients are:

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  • Salt – 3 tablespoons
  • Cabbage- 2kg (any type, but chinese cabbage is usually the most desired for kim chi)
  • Ginger (grated)
  • garlic (however much you’d like)
  • chilli (fresh is best, but dried flakes or powder is also great -use as much as you like
  • carrot (we like ours chunky, but you can grate or dice it if you prefer) – use as much as you like
  • **Usually I’ll also add some daikon radish (or other types of radish), but we didn’t have any ready in the garden this time round.

Sometimes we’ll also add additional flavours including mustard seeds, dill seeds, bay leaves – anything that takes our fancy. But we always, always have the above ingredients to form the foundation taste.

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The first step is to roughly chop your cabbage into large chunks. Of course, if you prefer, you can dice it finely – it’s all up to your personal preference.

Place it in a large bowl and add the salt, massaging it roughly with your hands to make sure it’s nicely integrated.

Leave it on your kitchen bench over night to let it ‘sweat’, in the morning you’ll see a nice puddle of brine (salty water) has formed at the bottom. Keep all of this for the following step.

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The brine ‘puddle’

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Chop up all your other ingredients and mix them through your cabbage/brine mix so they’re beautifully integrated.

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Gradually pack your fermentation vessel* with your mix, packing it down as you go. This is an important detail as you need to:

(a) Remove any air pockets, and

(b) Squeeze the brine out of the cabbage so it covers the entire mix.

*We happen to have recently purchased a crock pot from local potters, Zsolt Faludi and Nanna Bayer. Until up last month, we simply used glass jars to make all our kimchi and sauerkraut in – which are more than fine for the task. It was just a bit of a life dream to get a large crock pot (this one’s 4 litres). We like some of its design features which include a large ‘lip’ to catch the sometimes overflowing brine and the purpose made clay weights that fit nicely inside the pot to keep the mix down and the brine covering it.

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Other options to use for a weight are a small plate or a whole cabbage leaf with a clean stone or glass jar of water on top to hold it down.

img_6221After 24 hours the brine will have risen above your weight and started to bubble (as you can see in our photo below right). This is what you’re looking for – the bubbles tell you the fermentation process is well under way. Your kitchen will also smell like kimchi – aka delicious.

Check your kimchi once-twice daily to make sure the brine stays above the weight, if it isn’t either press it down until the brine rises up, or add a small amount of de-chlorinated water. After 2-3 days start tasting it until you’re happy with the flavour. If you like strong kimchi, leave it for longer, if you prefer a more mild taste you might stop the process after a few days. The speed of which your kimchi ferments also depends on your climate, the hotter your climate, the quicker the fermentation process.

IMG_6223How do you “stop” it? Once you’re happy with the flavour, decant it into some small glass jars (or leave it in the jar it’s in), screw the lid on and place it in the fridge or cool pantry. The cold will ‘stop’ the fermentation process, pausing it so you can enjoy the flavour. Of course, nothing ever really stops and it will still mature very, very slowly in the fridge. It will last for months in your fridge, so you can eat through it at your own pace.

Want more?

  • Get to know Sandor Katz’s and his work.
  • This November 26th (2016), we’re running our annual Fermentation Fest where we’ll teach you how to make your own kimchi, tempeh, yoghurt and so much more. CLICK HERE for more information and to register.
  • We make our own eduction tea towels – including one about how to make sauerkraut – you can check it out HERE. 
  • You can contact Zsolt Faludi and Nanna Bayer to order your own crock pot (and other great fermenting vessels) here: zsolt.faludi@utas.edu.au.
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Ten Tasmanian Bush Food Plants

Tasmania is home to a large range of bush food plants, however most of us walk straight by them or grow them in our gardens without realising they we can actually eat parts of them. So here’s ten hardy, nutritious and delicious native plants of Tasmania you can sink your teeth into…

karkalla_3Pig face (Carpobrotus Rossii): This succulent ground creeper can be found along the coast growing in sand dunes. They have a purple/pink fruit which is *delicious* (salty and sweet), you just have to suck out the small seed pulp of the fruit. This is by far my favourite bush tucker, you can also eat its green leaves in salads, apply ‘pig face juice’ to sandfly bites and make a poultice of crushed leaves to help ease pain from burns – image from here.

 

kennedia-prostrata-running-postman-1-kirsner-1Running Postman (Kennedia Prostrata): This plant’s beautiful red flowers can be added to water where they’ll realise a delicious nectar. The leaves can be infused in hot water for tea and apparently you can use the stems as a strong twine. This ground cover is naturally found in coastal regions but can thrive in a home garden in a well drained, sunny location, image from here.

 

Richea_pandanifoliaDragon-leaf Richea (Richea Dracophylla): A popular plant you’ll see on any good Tassie bush walk. The large flower heads are full of nectar, you just have to remove the ‘gum nut like’ cap cap from each one and suck out the nectar. This plant will grow up to 3m at higher altitudes, but can also live in a pot in a moist, shady spot – image from here.

 

Rubus_parv_xNative Raspberry (Rubus Parvifolius): Similar to raspberries, only with a smaller berry. Eat them fresh, in jams or other preserves. This plant will climb to 1.5m and have spiky thorns, adding to the harvest challenge – image from here.

 

 

 

lomandra-longifolia-a-6500-700Sagg (Lomandra Longifolia): This is a popular landscaping plant that sometimes get overlooked as a bush food. Its young, white shoots can be eaten raw and taste a bit nutty – they can also be baked. This clumping grass can grow in dry or wet conditions up to around 1m high – image from here.

 

MPberries_readyNative Pepper (Tasmannia Lanceolata): Definitely Tasmania’s most popular bush food used by cooks across the world in place of common pepper. You can harvest and use the pepper berries fresh, or dry them and use at a later date. It grows as an understory shrub and prefers cool, moist areas – you can also grow them in large pots as well – image from here.

 

nativemintRiver Mint (Mentha Australia): You’ll find this strong tasting mint herb growing along water ways in northern Tasmania. Use it just like you’d use common garden mint, in drinks, salads and cooked meals. Some people write you shouldn’t eat this while pregnant – so please be careful, image from here.

 

kunzea-ambigua-2Sweet-scented Kunzea (Kunzea Ambigua): Use the leaves as a tasty tea or as a strong flavour in cooking. People say this is the best native plant to add to dishes like roast meat and veggies. Kunzea will grow to 3m on average soils and can be pruned easily to keep it smaller – image from here.

 

 

 

Water_Ribbons_02Water Ribbons (Triglochin Procera): You can eat Water Ribbon’s thick, tuberous roots. To prepare them pan fry or roast them. These tubers were a major food food indigenous folks in Tassie and the mainland.  They grow best in slow moving or still water up to 50cm deep or in really damp ground – image from here.

Eucalyptus_gunni_flowersCider Gum (Eucalyptus Gunnii): The Cider Gum’s sap can be collected and used as a syrup, similar to how maple syrup is used. It’s said that indigenous Tasmanians made an alcoholic drink from it. To harvest the sap you need to make a wound in the tree’s trunk – we suggest only doing this for trees on your own (or friend’s land) and not out in the bush – image from here.

 

A really important thing to remember when identifying bush foods out in the wild is to be careful – if there is any doubt at all simply don’t eat it. If you’d like to find out about more about these plants and many more we recommend getting in touch with Plants of Tasmania near Hobart. They have a wealth of knowledge including a booklet you can buy called “Tasmanian Bush Food” for only $5!

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