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No Frustration Egg Deshelling – Making Perfect Eggs Every Time!

February 24, 2016
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Easy peel egg shells.  It's all in the cooking.

Easy peel egg shells. It’s all in the cooking.

If there is anything that could make a free range chicken grin, then it would be this little snippet of time saving information.

You know those occasional boiled eggs you get which have the soul intention of ruining your day?

The eggs you pluck from the hot waters of your saucepan, only to spend the next five minutes fumbling around burning your fingers and separating the tiniest pieces of shell from the diminishing volume of egg left in your hand? Those eggs which …just … won’t … peel!

Well here’s the good news!

We have cracked the secret to cooking the perfect egg every time.

There is no reason to put up with clingy shells and crunchy mouth syndrome with your egg meals any longer! The perfect technique probably only takes a small adjustment to the way you’re cooking eggs already.

Here is what to do!
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Leaves Fall, Frogs Change

November 15, 2015
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Fall Season at HomeDIYStuff

Japanese Tree Frog - Hyla japonica

Japanese Tree Frog – Hyla japonica

Remember the cute, yet exceedingly greedy little terrestrial Japanese Tree Frog, Hyla japonica, we mentioned last Summer? The endemic frog species of Japan which helped scientists give the world more efficient Wi-Fi communication by getting croaks heard in the congestion of mating season airwaves?

They used to be colored a vibrant green. Now they are not!

The gardens and habitats have dried as the air has cooled. As such, most rain frogs have also thrown off their garish Summer tones of green for cooler, more camouflaged grays. Others still can’t yet make up their minds and have chosen to wear splashes of both green and gray as they hop between dried perennials and hide amongst remaining outposts of greenery.

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Making DIY Miso Paste with Soy Beans (Half Year Update)

June 28, 2015
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DIY Miso Paste made from Soy Beans is mixed at six month milestone.

At the six month milestone, DIY Miso paste requires mixing of the blended Soy Bean ingredients to help development of flavor.

Spring SeasonMiso paste is an ancient Japanese preparation with origins dating back almost a thousand years. The pungent fermented food has an acquired taste, but is extremely healthy as an addition to many popular Japanese dishes.

We wrote about making Miso earlier in the year in our blog post here.

We also produced a step-by-step guide to making DIY Miso paste for those interested in having a shot at making it at home themselves.

With our DIY paste having quietly sat in a cool place for almost half a year, it is about to enter a new Summer phase of fermentation. It was therefore time to re-visit our DIY Miso paste to give it a good thorough mixing to help aerate and redistribute the fermentation culture to ensure development of a rich and consistent taste.

Our home Miso paste project was started in late Winter, which we timed so that ingredients and base flavors had a chance to soak together and spread evenly throughout the entire mixture before Summer heat arrived. The next Summer phase however, is when the real added flavor and character of the Miso develops. As the temperature rises, the fermentation culture kicks into overdrive.

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Making Miso from Soy Beans – We’re all go!

January 18, 2015
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Japanese miso paste

Japanese miso paste

winter-seasonA couple of weeks back we announced that we had received a DIY Miso making pack in preparation for our trek back into Japanese tradition and the ancient techniques of preparing this unique Japanese food. (The earlier story is here).

The DIY Miso kit was purchased from a special Miso manufacturing company called “Komego“, located in Fukui, Japan.  (At this stage, the company only supplies the kits to customers within Japan and website and all kit instructions are only written in Japanese.)

A complete step-by-step guide to how we made our Miso paste is provided here. We will update this guide as we continue fermentation and eventually re-mix and finally eat the Miso later in the year.

Japanese are usually very particular about the differing types and tastes of foods as produced by specialist regions of Japan.  Miso products are no different.  Various types of Miso can be produced with the taste depending on the origin of specific ingredients and the specific regional preparation techniques employed to make the paste. Read more »

Making Miso from Soy Beans (Part 1) – Received our DIY kit.

January 10, 2015
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misobucketwinter-seasonToday at HomeDIYStuff.com, we received a project pack for making our own Miso.  Miso is a very healthy, traditional food in Japan.  It is a fermented bean paste that is extremely important in the everyday diets of most Japanese.  A wide variety of miso pastes are used in Miso soup, ramen (noodle) soup, as condiment and in general, in an extremely wide selection of other everyday foods.

Miso paste takes many months to make as it is made from the gradual yeast fermentation of Soy beans.  When prepared and left to to sit over time, the bean paste takes on the consistency of something resembling Peanut Butter … but obviously with a considerably different taste! 

The paste adds a relatively a strong, distinctive Japanese taste and pungent oriental fragrance to dishes. The manufacture of Miso paste is quite an art and flavors can vary greatly depending on the Soy beans used and techniques used to make paste.  It varies from quite a light taste with a soft yellow color, to thick and strong taste with a dark tan color.

Unfortunately, traditional home made Miso paste has gone somewhat like that of DIY jam making in other countries.  Die hards still do make it, but for the vast, busy majority, it is usually cheaper and far more convenient to simply purchase commercially made brands from the supermarket.

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Japanese Miso – DIY Fermentation Project Complete

November 20, 2014
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winter-season

DIY Japanese Miso Cracker Dip

We have completed the fermentation of our DIY Japanese Miso Paste from raw soy beans.  The Miso making was a great success.

Many readers could be forgiven for reacting with an “Eeuuuwwwww!” upon seeing some of the photos of this process, but believe us, the final miso paste product is extremely tasty.  And healthy too!

It has been almost a full year since we started making our paste. The fermentation started in cold Winter months early in the year, soon after when we first discussed home DIY miso making. We later provided a full DIY how-to of miso making guide” when we started the mix, where we showed the ingredients required in the preparation and the techniques used.

Time has flown by. We provided a half year report on the progress of our fermentation project when the soy bean paste received a good mixing just prior to the arrival of Summer’s full heat. At the time, being exposed to only cool temperatures, little had changed in our premature miso paste and there wasn’t even a thread of flavor altering mold to be seen.

Given five extra months of development and an a blast of Japanese Summer heat in between, and that all changed!

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Japanese Tree Frogs – Gettin’ Grubby

July 8, 2014
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Japanese Tree Frog - Hyla japonica

Natural pest control – Four and a half grubs and I ain’t stoppin’ there!

summer-seasonSo just how many green grubs fit inside a standard Japanese Tree Frog anyway?

Well, judging by what we saw in the garden recently, the answer to that question is; at least four.  Or four and a half if we count to the brim!

An impressive effort for something only slightly larger than a thumbnail!

Meet Hyla japonica, the cute little frog which is endemic to Japan and hugely abundant at this time of year. They are known locally as “ama gaeru” (lit: rain frog) due to the males’ loud and constant mating choruses before and after rain. Individuals are only 12-35mm in length, but they are certainly not shy in announcing their presence if there is a mate to be found.

Despite reports of diminishing frog populations across the world, these guys report to rice paddies and home gardens in cavalries during warmer months. They eat only live prey diets consisting of mainly insects, small fish, spiders and … grubs!

Being free roaming frogs, they do not require water close-by for survival. That said, they are very common on the edges of lakes and rivers, as well as around flooded rice paddies in rural areas. They also live in trees and bamboo stands; or amongst grasses, or in the soil. They can survive extended periods without water, even during very cool, dry periods in late Winter.

At various times during the year, it is common to see 10 to 20 individuals within only a few steps in our garden. A stroll along grassed rice paddy banks will also reveal the leaping hoards who usually sit patiently waiting for food to pass by.

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Invisible Messages on Bananas – No Ink Required

January 23, 2014
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Banana Messaging Technology
Here is a fun DIY text messaging technology which any monkey can use. Banana messaging!

The fun part is the message remains near invisible when first written and takes time to develop. So it’s great for cheering up a your partner’s day as they first open the fridge in the morning (with your banana placed inconspicuously, yet stategically the night before), or for packing that extra smile in your childrens’ lunch box to be discovered later in the school day.

All that is required for writing a DIY banana messages is:

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Amazing Swallowtail Caterpillars

June 25, 2013
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Striped CaterpillarStunningly colored green caterpillar in Japan.Spring SeasonThe late wet of the Spring season in Japan brings out a cavalry of creatures wishing to share the morsels of a moist, green garden.

Amongst them are a stunningly beautiful variety of Swallowtail caterpillars – or Ageha as they are known in Japan.

This family of caterpillars usually go through four or five instar stages as they grow.  They metamorphosis into something quite different at each step of development towards being an adult butterfly.

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Mushrooms – Morel or False Morel? (Update)

May 8, 2013
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Morel or False Morel?

Morel or False Morel?

Spring SeasonUPDATE STORY – Do we have delicious edible Morels, or toxic False Morels growing naturally in our garden?  It has been on our minds ever since finding our new residents a little over a week ago, as reported here.

Other than the often mis-leading appearance to tell sponge mushrooms apart, one of the best ways to help identify edible Morels from extremely poisonous False Morels, is to cut them in half longitudinally.

Important: Do not eat natural or unidentified mushrooms without firstly seeking expert opinion for all identifications!

Our specimen mushrooms were quite dry and had a hard, firm body by the time we decided to slice them down the middle a week or two after finding them.  Normally, a generally crusty nature would be an indication that a mushroom might be a False Morel, but in this case we believe the mushroom bodies had simply dried out.

We were able to see a number of important identifying features that indicated ours were likely Morels of the Morchella genus, rather than False morels.

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