Thursday, June 25, 2009

Homemade Tempeh = Cheap Protein

Money is tight around here lately, and so we are in need of cheap sources of protein. With the highs in the upper 80s now, dumpstering meat is questionable at best. And so we've turned again to tempeh, which we last attempted (with mixed success) in the winter. Tempeh is pretty expensive when you buy it from the store, but the cost of dry soybeans is low and a pack of starter that will process 18lbs of beans runs about $12. We got ours from GEM Cultures after a bad experience with starter from another company. This starter also came with easy to follow instructions.

I haven't eaten any of this tempeh yet, but it looks a lot better than the last batch, which fermented for a little too long and was "overripe" but still edible. We watched this batch carefully, and put it in the fridge when the tempeh was firm and covered in white mycelium, without any darker patches.

I'm not going to give our recipe/process for tempeh here right now, because fermented foods that involve mold are a little trickier than other types. This is mostly due to increased chances of contamination of other molds. When making tempeh or anything with a controlled mold, it's very important to keep everything that comes in contact with the beans very clean.
Other tips if you are interested in making tempeh include use of a meat grinder to dehull the beans (it's way faster than doing it by hand) and making sure to use some kind of incubator. Tristan being technically inclined, he rigged up a thermostat to a lightbulb, which he placed in a cooler with the tempeh. I will try to get him to write up his incubator design, because it's pretty handy in general.

So, here we have tempeh made from 1lb dry beans (haven't weighed it now) that cost us about $4. I'd say that's about 25% or less of the cost from the store.

No comments: