Monday, August 29, 2011

First Egg!

Smallish, but, here it is!
Think it's Snowball's since she's older and was broodier with it.

Friday, August 19, 2011

How to Make Black Garlic - Asberry Acres Permaculture Forest Farm

The Process
The process is very simple, but does require diligence in keeping the temperature in the proper range (and patience waiting to get at those tasty treats!)
  1. Find a cooker that can cook at the (low) temperatures of between 130°-150° F. Make sure that it doesn't have an automatic shut-off timer. This was actually the most difficult step in the process... most cookers, even on the 'low' setting are at 180°-200° F. I found a small fryer that had a low temp of 180° F but had a bit of dial play between 'on' and 180°.
  2. Buy enough garlic that will just fit the container you put in the cooker. Make sure there is a bit of room between the container and the cooker.
  3. Do not  remove the 'skin'.
  4. Put the garlic and an oven thermometer in the container and wrap the container in aluminum foil. Make sure the thermometer head is visible. My cooker had a glass lid which made it very easy read the temperature without letting any heat out since I didn't have to take the lid off.
  5. Put the container in the cooker and turn the cooker on! Estimate where 130° F is on the cooker.
  6. Wait 40 days.
Lessons Learned
Since the temperature changes slowly (Newton's Law of Heating), keep a close eye on the temperature the first day or two. Be careful not to let it get too hot. If it gets too hot or cold, adjust the cooker in very small increments and remember that it takes several hours for the adjustment to be reflected in the temperature. When it got too hot for me, I took the container out of the cooker to let it cool for a couple minutes which helped the temperature adjust much more quickly - about an hour or so.

I would also recommend that the fermenting be done outside of the house. I put the cooker in the mud/laundry room. The garlic smell the first week or two can be intense. Needless to say, the vampires stayed at least a mile away from our house!

The cooker had absolutely no insulation. The next batch I think I'll put the cooker(s) in a box which I'll heavily insulate.

I'll also run electricity out to the shed and build a shelf for the new setup. Makes room and eliminates the smell from the house.

P.S. Here's how my first batch turned out!

Today's Workout - Interesting

On my non-weights workout days I will typically do 30-45 minutes on the elliptical machine. Today I had time for a 30 minute workout so I climbed on and got started. I normally take 5 to 10 minutes to warm-up before I increase the intensity to a heart rate between 132-140 bpm but today, it actually felt good and I kicked it all the way up to 132 bpm. About 15 minutes in, the muscle soreness wore off and I continued to increase my heart rate to 145 bpm. With 5 minutes left, I was feeling awesome so I took my heart rate all the way up to 166 bpm -- the point just below where I could feel it over-stressing my heart. Normally after a workout like that it takes a good nights sleep to recover. At this point (2 hours later), I feel excellent!

What I'm wondering is... did I get this burst of energy by eating 1/3 of a bulb of black garlic last night??

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Black Garlic is Done and...

Here's a picture of my first bulb out of the pot:

And, oh my, is it delicious! It has a fig-like texture, is molasses-sweet, and has an Asian food smell with just a tiny hint of garlic.

Definitely making more of this!!!