We have had a few glorious days of winter this last weekend.

You may notice that the deer have been pawing under the rose hedge. And they have made it a temporary sleeping place.

They seem to feel safe and secure close to us.

The koji looks pretty good after 2 days of growing.

This year I’m using tane koji starter from Higuchi. It’s the one they call ‘barley yellow koji’. This one sporulates yellow while the one I used last year from Gem Cultures sporulates green and more profusely. That will probably make this years barley miso a lighter color and perhaps a slightly different flavor. It will be interesting to watch it develop over the next two years. But first I have to dry the koji for later use.

Yesterday we got a mini snowstorm – high winds and it snowed all day.

I was worried, but the dome didn’t blow away.

I got my skis out and tried skiing, but it’s not yet enough snow for good cross country skiing.

It’s supposed to snow all day today and a little tomorrow and then get cold, so I can hope to get some skiing in this year.

And it is wonderful when everything is white!

Koji season has started.

I’m using the fresh barley from Stora Hällsta and the tane koji starter from Higuchi Shoten, Osaka.

Yesterday I was out at Stora Hällsta, the organic farm where I buy my barley and rye for koji making, as well as other farm products.

They have a full battery of milling machines, including a huller for hulling barley. When I order whole grains for koji making, I have them run through the huller i little extra, so that the koji mold grows better. That goes for the rye too, even tho it does’t need hulling.

I had about 3 kilos of rice koji left, so I’m off to a good start with this new year of miso making.

For the last several days it’s been below freezing, and it looks like it’s going the stay cold for the rest of winter.

I’m not quite done with the garden digging, but I’ll have to call it quits now. I lost ten days travelling to Japan and have almost gotten caught up, so I’m satisfied.

I even got all the raking done, leaf coverings on all the dug up areas, hedge trees planted and another bed of garlic in before the ground got frozen hard. This year it’s later than usual but more done.

Now all I need is a bunch of snow for skiing.

I got some broad beans from a fermentation friend last fall to try out for making miso, so for the first miso of this year I’ll make some.

They came peeled and dryed.

The cooking time is much shorter than for soybeans, and I cooked them a little too long and managed to turn it into a slurry.

No problem! I mix in the standard amount of rice koji and salt…

grind it a bit, put it into jars, let it ferment 2 years, and hope the flavors develop satisfactorily.

The broad bean (or fava bean, or åkerböna) has a high protein content, almost as good as in soybean. The most important factor is that it is very easy to grow in this northern climate, while the soybean is almost imposible. Now if the flavor is good that’s great, but I will undoubtedly continue to make traditional soybean miso.

Many years ago I successfully made pea miso using local peas, but the flavor was not good enough, so I don’t make it any more. I still make good chickpea miso, but the chickpeas are imported, and I would like to make a miso with local ingredients as far as possible.

Quickly, before the end of the year, I have to make another miso – a sweet white miso. This time I make it with already cooked eco soybeans, a greater proportion of rice koji and a lesser amount of salt, so that it will ferment faster and be ready after about 6 months.

The result – soon to be consumed.

Various cabbage greens gathered from the winter garden for our Christmas dinner.

Brussel sprouts, green and black kale, broccoli, chinese cabbage and some regular old young cabbage.