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Nocturnal Inclination

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When I saw the Lemonayo Kickstarter Campaign I knew I had to dig out the mason jar again and get back to fermenting. Being the dark-bread-and-cream-cheese kind of guy, I'm always looking for alternative spreads, and this lemon thing got me hooked.

Watching the campaign video over and over again, I tried to figure out how she does it. In the end I ended up with this recipe, it's still fermenting, so I'll discuss results when it's done.


  • 1 red onion (130g)
  • 2 full heads of garlic (65g)
  • 6 lemons (500g)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp sea salt
  • water
  • olive oil

First I peeled the onion and cut it into sixteenths (1/16) and separated the different layers. Then I peeled the garlic and cut each clove in half.

For the lemons I chopped off the ends, cut them into quarters and removed the pips as I want to just blend everything later without having to worry about picking them out of the fermented matter. Using the quarters I squeezed out the juice and separated the flesh from the rind, as at that point I thought I didn't want to blend the rind and still wanted some lemon parts in the finished product.

I packed all the veggies into the mason jar, added the salt and gave it a good stir to have the different ingredients distributed evenly in the jar. My rationale was to improve the extraction of the different flavors by not having them all in bulk, so their concentration in the medium is as even as possible. That should help with osmosis.

As a finishing touch I added the bay leaves and cinnamon stick in the same manner as seen in the video. I filled the glass with water around a centimeter below the rim and topped it off with olive oil. Since the creator mentioned adding olive oil later in the process I thought that shouldn't hurt and from another fermentation experiment I had kept in mind that such a layer seals the fermentation matter from germs during the process.

This is to sit in my closet, away from direct sunlight, for 30 days. Inspired by the spices visible in the "secret ingredients" section of the video, I also bought some vanilla pods and plan to add cardamom, but I'll probably skip the anise, as I personally don't like the taste at all.

A couple of days after I prepared everything, I stumbled upon a very similar recipe on the website of the Kickstarter campaign creator. Here she just cuts into the lemons instead of fully slicing them and fills them with salt water. Yet this is different from what is shown in the video. Also she only uses water, no sealing layer of olive oil so I guess that's optional. She also advisese to blend the whole lemons, especially the rind, so I guess I'll try two different preparations and see if the rind really makes it too bitter. I can still combine them afterwards.

Update from 2018-09-22 (day 3)

The red onion started to diffuse its color all over the jar, I can see small bubbles accumulating and bubbling to the top everywhere and the cinnamon stick unrolled a bit. Looks like the fermentation process is going full throttle :]

Tarragon Balsamic Mustard

Since we started growing a lot of herbs on our balcony, I had to do something with all that tarragon. Being rather strong in flavor I had a hard time finding something I could see it in. Reading through this German article, the idea of tarragon mustard intrigued me. Strong hot mustard might be the right thing to confront the tarragon with.

Tarragon Balsamic Mustard

For 75g

  • 100g mustard seeds
  • 4.5 stems (6.5g) tarragon (finely chopped)
  • 6cl balsamic vinegar
  • 5cl water
  • 1tsp black pepper (roughly ground in mortar)
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1tsp sugar

The first step is to grind the mustard seeds into a fine powder. Originally planning on doing that with a mortar, I swiftly abandoned this idea.

I then tried the blender add-on for my hand mixer, but it didn't really work that well. Some seeds would be broken down, but the hole body of seeds wouldn't be mixed enough to break down the seeds evenly. In the end, the magic wand add-on worked best. At that point I had already added some water and balsamic, because I thought that might improve the even grinding of the seeds, but in retrospect I'm not so sure about this anymore

Even though the "recipe" called for white vinegar, I used balsamic. Mainly because that was the only one I had at home at that point, but also because I wanted to add some more flavor and color.

While blending everything I continually added more water, balsamic and spices to get the texture I wanted to and in adjustment to taste. Here I give only the combined total amounts and I think the best way to do it is: 1. Blend the seeds dry 2. Add the balsamic and spices to taste 3. Add water to get the texture right

I filled the mustard into a cleaned jar and put it in the fridge. Judging by the hotness of the mustard I doubt that it will go bad any time soon. It took a day or two until the full flavor of the tarragon had developed.

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