Beijing Design Week is officially underway. The event is a platform for up and coming designers to show their skills and crafts. There is a large representation from the creatives in Beijing; you will find everything from fashion to installations being exhibited. For more information about Beijing Design Week, you can find more information at their website: http://www.bjdw.org
July 24, 2012 in DIY
Last weekend, we attended a trading fair at Wao Bao, where we held a station teaching people about worm composting. We began by introducing the idea of modern composting and how it is a much efficient way to treat your daily food waste than simply throw it in the trash. Then, we invited our audience to our worm composting DIY station, where we taught them how to make their own worm compost. It is actually very easy, and even you can follow these simple steps bellow to start limiting your waste!
First, you drill a couple of holes on the bottle of any empty plastic bottle. These holes allow the excess moisture from the compost to come out. Second, using tape that is non-see through, tape the entire bottle. Worms enjoys living in the dark, so make them feel at home! Also, you can leave a tiny slip untapped, so you can watch the worms grow and wiggle around. Third, using a knife or scissors, cut the round part of the bottle off, leaving a cylinder plastic container. Now on to layering the compost, and what you need is newspaper soaked in water, and soil. Alternate between the two until the container is near full, adding the worms somewhere in the middle of the layers. Lastly, find a piece of thin cloth and cover the top. Use a rubber band to ensure the cloth stays in place, and poke a small hole at the top to allow the worms to breathe. And with these simple steps you have your own worm compost!
Now what do you do with this? It’s very simple. Using your regular kitchen food waste, such as juicing scraps and unused parts of vegetables, put the waste into the compost. In time, the worms will process the waste and a brown liquid will flow out from the bottom of the bottle. This liquid is a very rich fertilizer, and by adding a bit of water to it and use it to water your plants, it greatly enhances plant growth and also acts as a natural pesticide! Modern composting is a very easy and efficient waste to deal with your own daily waste, so start making your own now!
Creating a yeast starter for your home brewing escapades can help speed up the main fermenting process of your home brew. Home Brewing beer in China is difficult because all the supplies are Chinafied. With help of this post, we hope that we can share an interesting experience for home brewing beer and to help you develop a yeast starter with Chinese supplies.
The yeast starter takes about 1 hour to complete and ready to use in a few days for your home brew.
- Two Quart Size Mason Jars
- Tyvek Material (Can be bought on Taobao.com)
- Dry Malt Extract – 5 ounces (140 Grams)
- Water for the Wort (1500 ml of water, roughly under 2 quarts)
- Warm Water for activating the yeast (1 cup)
- Boiling pot
- Spray bottle
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Yeast from Great Leap Brewery
(Can be bought at Taobao.com or Great Leap Brewery)
(Chinese Pharmacy or Hospital)
Step 1: Cleanse and sanitize anything that will come into contact with the wort. We used a spray bottle with 50% Hydrogen Peroxide and 50% sterilized water. We sprayed everything used in the process of brewing this yeast starter.
Step Two: Boil the water and add the dry malt extract into the pot. Make sure that the wort gets to boiling point for 20 minutes. Don’t over-boil the wort because it will create a sticky mess. Once it boils, let it simmer. The temperature of the wort should not exceed 185 degrees Fahrenheit (85 Celsius), but not fall below 170 degrees Fahrenheit (77 Celsius).
Step Three: Use 1 cup of warm water to add with the yeast to activate it. Mix with a fork for about 5 minutes or until the consistency is equally distributed.
Step Four: Cool the wort by adding ice and water into your kitchen sink. The temperature needs to drop to 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius). After it reaches that temperature, add the wort to the mason jars by using a ladle. Don’t fill the jars all the way to the top. The yeast needs room to breath. Fill about 80-85%
Step Five: Add the yeast water to the mason jars and stir lightly until the jar’s medium is consistent. Put in the fridge for three days or leave it out if you plan to use it the next day. The yeast starter can be saved for up to a week in your fridge. When your ready to use the yeast start, you will notice a nice thick yeast cake developed on the bottom of your starter vessel aka Mason Jars. You will have much more yeast then what you started with. This is the whole point of making a yeast starter. When you use the yeast starter make sure to mix lightly and evenly distribute the yeast before using it for your home brew.
Last year, we had a white fly problem that infected and killed a lot of our plants. I was doing a little research about how to deal with this problem without the use of chemical pesticides. I then discovered worm poop A.K.A vermicompost! Worm castings increases the amount of a particular enzyme in the plant. This enzyme acts as a natural deterrent for certain pests such as whiteflies.
We consume a lot of vegetables/fruit and we always end up with a lot of waste after cooking/eating. I always feel bad for throwing everything in the garbage, when these materials can be composted. Living in an apartment, it is impossible to start a composting pile.
We experimented with the worm castings, which we bought on-line and found it actually helped deter the white flies. Not only is it a an excelling natural pesticide, worm castings also make an excellent natural fertilizer. After feeding our plants worm castings, everyone seemed so much healthier, greener, and stronger.
We decided to develop an infrastructure in our house, to accommodate our need for worms castings and to also solve our waste problem.
We found the perfect storage container set at Ikea for this project. You can easily stack three containers high because it has frame to support the containers.
I had to insert holes at the bottom of the top two containers. The holes allow excess water to drip down into the bottom holding container. The excess liquid collected can be used as a concentrated liquid fertilizer, that can be fed to your plants after it has been diluted.
The plastic was quite thick, so I had to heat a screw driver to poke it through the plastic.
To make the bedding for the worms, we used shredded up paper which we soaked in water for about an hour. After putting the soaked paper in the container, we also added about 5 cups of soil. After everything was ready to go, we put all of food waste in the container.
Food Preparation for the Worms
Worms don’t like eating everything! They don’t like eating:
Citrus & Onions
When feeding your worms, be sure to cut the food waste into small pieces. The smaller the better!
Worms like moisture, so make sure your worm bin is always nice and moist. We keep a soaked towel on the top of our bin the keep moisture in without over soaking the bin.
We have been vermicomposting for a couple of months and we now successfully dispose our vegetable/fruit waste in a sustainable matter.
I recently learned how to make Jam, so we have been going to the Sihuan Market more regularly. Fruit is very cheap here and most variety of fruit is usually readily available. When our friend, Sarah, first moved to Beijing she lived in a Hutong in the area.
Last week, we found this Chinese man selling Ginseng at the Sihuan Market (四环综合市场). He had different types, some were super expensive while others were affordable. We bought two Ginseng roots for about 40 RMB ($6). I like taking Ginseng for the energy effect. If you grade some of the root into a cup and seep it in hot water, you can make a potent energy tonic. Our friend Sun said that if you take too much wild Ginseng, you can get sick or die. I was reading earlier and found that Ginseng contains saponins, which can be toxic in high quantities. I guess she was right after all. I am pretty sure that the Ginseng we bought was farmed and not wild, so I am not too worried.
Making Chinese dumplings is fairly easy to do and doesn’t require too many ingredients. Chinese dumplings can be stored in the freezer and saved for a quick meal when you don’t feel like cooking. The preparation time for making Chinese dumplings can be a little demanding, that is why we recommend making 200 pieces each time. Dumplings are a great snack to have when you don’t have too much time to cook.
(This serving makes about 80-100 dumplings)
1. Ground Pork – 2 lbs or 1kg
2. Chinese Cabbage (Napa Cabbage): 1 lbs chopped into small pieces
3. Sesame Oil – 1 Tablespoon
4. Fresh Ginger – ¼ cup finely chopped
5. Salt – a few pinches
6. Pepper – a few pinches
7. Flour – 4 cups
8. Warm Water – 1 to 2 cups
Add the ground pork, sesame oil, salt, pepper and ginger into a large bowl and mix together for about 5 minutes. You will know you are finished mixing everything together because the consistency is distributed equally.
Add the Chinese cabbage and mix well.
In a large bowl, add the flour. Slowly add the water into the bowl, but make sure to mix as well. Knead the dough until it is ready.
Take a baseball size piece of dough in your hand. Flatten the dough and roll it into a long & thin strip. After the dough is quite thin, take a cup and press it into the dough creating palm size pieces.
Take one of the pieces and put a small spoonful of the pork mixture into center of the dough piece. Make sure to have a bowl of water next to you so that you can wet the tip of your finger. After you wet your finger, touch the edges of the dough and seal them together by folding the dough circle in half. Press the edges together to create a dumpling that is in the shape of a moon. Place the finished dumpling on a plate with flour sprinkled over it to keep it from sticking.
There are two ways to cook dumplings. You can either pan fry or boil them. If you boil them, it usually takes about 5-7 minutes to finish cooking. My favorite way is to pan fry them. You can pan fry them by adding some olive oil/vegetable oil and setting the heat to high. Cook the dumplings on each side until the skins are golden brown. It usually takes about 5-7 minutes to finish.
Enjoy your dumplings with Chinese vinegar and a little bit of chili!