Monday, August 29, 2011

Kitchen Bokashi Series: Part 3 - Making the Inoculated Carrier

Inoculated carrier, bran treated with EM, is used to inoculate food wastes with fermentation organisms (phototropic bacteria, lactic acid bacteria and yeast) that are essential for producing kitchen bokashi.

Left to right: container of EM 1,
2 2-liter plastic bottles containing
extended EM solution, jar of
 Ingredients for a small batch of bokashi carrier (5 kg):
  • 5 kg (11 lb.) of rice bran
  • 20 ml (1.35 tablespoons) EM•1®
  • 20 ml (1.35 tablespoons) molasses
  • 1 liter of water (1.05 quarts)
    Bran moistened with EM solution
  1. To activate and extend an adequate supply of EM microbes to produce 5 kg of inoculated carrier, dissolve 20 ml of molasses into 1 liter of water along with 20 ml of EM•1® (non-chlorinated is usually advised). Keep the culture solution for 5-7 days in a sealed plastic bottle away from direct sunlight. Quickly vent off excess gases once a day (if needed).
  3. Mix the culture solution thoroughly with 5 kg of bran in a bucket, but avoid adding too much solution. To check the moisture content, squeeze some of the bran into a ball. If no liquid can be squeezed out and the bran still holds shape after being released, then the material contains an appropriate amount of moisture. It may not be necessary to add the entire liter of culture solution to moisture 5 kg of bran.
  5. If using a strong plastic bag to ferment the carrier, press the moistened material down to displace any air pockets and then tie the bag tightly after squeezing out excess air. Leave the bag of inoculated carrier undisturbed for two weeks or longer.
  6. After near anaerobic storage for two weeks or longer, the carrier will have a fermented, malt-like smell. It may also have some white mold growing on it, which is fine. However, the presence of undesirable black or green mold probably means that the carrier was exposed to too much air or contaminants or that the inoculated brain was stored too moist. Therefore, do not use the starter mix if it has black or green mold growing on it.
    Fermented bran drying in the sun
  8. Break the moist, fermented carrier apart with your hands and spread it out on a canvas in a sunny location to dry. Every half hour or so, use a rake to spread and respread the treated bran until the material is completely dry.
  9. Use a rolling pin to break apart any clods of bran, both large and small.
    Bokashi carrier ready to use
  11. Store the fine, dry carrier in a sealed plastic bag and/or in an airtight container for long-term storage. Under dry, near anaerobic conditions, the inoculated carrier can be stored for at least several months.
The final blog will discuss how food scraps are collected, fermented and eventually incorporated into garden soils.

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