I write "cabbagey" because that's how Corneilla used to say it. All 4' 9" of her. Powerhouse sensai. Cornellia is my dearly departed teacher from Vega Macrobiotic Center. We have Food Partied! about macro (large) biotics (life) before, and met two of the movements' founders ? Cornellia and Herman Aihara. When I attended their Oroville, CA school in the 90's, one of the things Cornellia taught us was pickle-making, Japanese style.
Because science is discovering how helpful microbes such as Lactobacillus are to our digestion, you may be one of a growing force looking to increase your gut bug diversity (more diversity offers increased strength ? just like in the natural environment). Homemade pickles are a good source. I've been calling in Cornellia's spirit these past ten days, attempting to recreate her famous Daikon Nuka Pickles. Pickling in nuka (cured rice bran) is a relatively unknown technique in the U.S, but one that yields delicious and unique results.
Day One: Toast the nuka and rub in the ingredients. Let sit in crock 3 days, stirring 2-3 times a day.
Day Three: Continue to stir each day and start burying vegetable scraps to assist with the curing. Don't let the vegetables touch!
Day Nine (July 1 for me): Continue adding in new and removing the old vegetables daily. Wash off nuka from some of the scraps and taste the early results.
Tie up some daikon radishes and hang them outside for a few days in prep to be pickled. Cornellia used to say, "Hang them until they look like horse penis."
Sunday night, we'll bury the daikon in the nuka to cure until we slice and sample at Manage your Microbes (pickle-style), a July 9 cook class at French Meadows Summer Camp.
At camp, I'll join a group of 100-plus fellow campers learning, hiking and eating great food cooked over wood fire, in an area of the Tahoe Forest so remote, it's where rangers relocate the trouble-making bears that are eating wedding cakes in Yosemite.
So please, tune back in later this week for more pickle progress pictures (try to say THAT 5X fast), and be sure to return next week when we feature cabbagey in an EZ Sauerkraut recipe.
Cornellia's Famous Nuka Pickles
Adapted from Calendar Cookbook
2.5 # nuka (rice bran), about 12.5 cups - can substitute wheat bran
¾ cup sea salt
2.5 cups water
¼ cup barley miso
Suggested veggies: daikon, carrot, turnip, radishes, celery, watermelon rind, summer squash
Roast nuka in a dry pan till it darkens slightly. Bring water to boil, add salt and let it cool. Place nuka in crock, pour over water and add miso. Mix into a soft paste. Cover with a cloth.
At the start, nuka is salty since the salt and bran have not blended. For a couple days, stir 3 times a day. Also place unused cabbage leaves into paste and discard them every day for three days. After 10 days ? the nuka is ready and "balanced."
Cut daikon in quarters or halves about 6" long. Use celery by the stalk and whole carrots. Bury into the paste and let sit 24 hours or until soft. Watermelon rind takes 5-6 hours, celery 8 - 10 hours, cucumbers 24 hours.
Remove veggies from nuka and wash off. Slice and serve.
As nuka gets too wet, roast 1 cup of new nuka with ½ tablespoon salt. Mix into the old nuka.