TEST KITCHEN – watermelonji’

Next ad hoc test to try. Only because my brother in law left a small cube of watermelon in the fridge a couple of days ago… i though it could be interesting. And bingo!

So if u follow me probably remember that i started to macerate some cheese pieces in a mixture of black koji kin and my dad’s palinka. That experiment is going on still – the cheese cubes (normal and lacto free) are sitting in the marinade peacefully and on paper still have about 10 days to go (for a month altogether). I did try a small piece – and remembering only that it was a very boring semi-hard cheese with hardly any flavour – it def has got some deeper – developed umami flavour. So promising.

Anyway i was stealing a bit of this black marinade to cure my small watermelon peace. Was not sure what to expect – but we all know the old’school way of making ‘vodka melon’ by injecting booze under the skin of the fruit right? Was thinking that i can capture some sort of boozyness but had no clue about the flavours.

Considering the freshness and the high water contant of the fruit – was planning to macerate only for 24 hours – to try and see whats happening. After a couple of hours was already visible a big amount of water being released by the watermelon – guess when the enzymes started to kick.

After a 24 hours curing proccess at a room temperature (to be far its a very hot summer here so room temperature means approx 26-28 degrees) i washed off the black paste and was time to try. To clear my mind and palette off from other flavours – i tasted it with some normal freshly sliced watermelon bits.

IT BLEW MY MIND AWAY. Not really for its boozy style – but more for its high umami flavour. To tell you as simply as i can…. my piece of watermelon tasted like a slightly fermented mature tomato with its own acidity balanced out with a salty sweetness. F*CKING CRAZY. (would be interesting to see whats happening in a longer period of time but more moderate temperature)

The texture turned bit softy on the surface and changed the color into much more red. Inside still crunchy and holds the shape. Very interesting. I am truly happy with the result. Wondering what would it taste like if i use white spores not awamori ones. Worth a try next time.

I made a dish with this piece of watermelon – it works like a nice juicy ‘tomato bite’. Gathered some wild bits from the field* to create an aromatic salad. Got so much potential – try it.

* mint, sage, lemon balm, thyme, sorrel, oxalis, lambs quarter, borage. Dressed it with yarrow flower vinegar, wild garlic capers, olive oil and a couple of black ants.

Open up your mouth…!

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