Im having a hard time finding any information about these. particularly the benefits of each particular plant when used in an FPE.
I have found one site only, which is here.
Plants to the Rescue
Does anyone have any informative links about different FPE's , and FPE ingredients.
Looking specifically for information on the makeup of active ingredients in Cilantro for FPE making.
Also, anyone with knowledge , please direct me on ideal temperatures , and or fermenting locations. Is it purely PH based, or Time? Or combination or time , ph and look/smell?
Thanks much !
1. The site that you linked to is a very solid resource for any number of subjects. Highly recommended. Check out their article on Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica
) for example.
2. 90% of the information about using this or that plant is fairly anecdotal with most research having centered around the plants originally promoted by the Biodynamic groups (Demeter International) beginning 90 years ago.
When considering a plant to use for making an FPE there are 2 primary areas to focus on - the elements that it has accumulated and the Secondary Metabolites that a particular plant creates.
Elements are easy to understand, i.e. Calcium, Phosphorus, et al. - those 'elements' that appear on the Periodic Table. 8th grade science.
It's in the area of Secondary Metabolites where things get more difficult to discern whether or not it would be beneficial to use in any form. A working definition for these compounds would be something like this from Wikipedia.com (I'm lazy this morning):
"Secondary metabolites are organic compounds that are not directly involved in the normal growth, development, or reproduction of an organism. Unlike primary metabolites, absence of secondary metabolities does not result in immediate death, but rather in long-term impairment of the organism's survivability, fecundity, or aesthetics, or perhaps in no significant change at all.
Secondary metabolites are often restricted to a narrow set of species within a phylogenetic group. Secondary metabolites often play an important role in plant defense against herbivory and other interspecies defenses. Humans use secondary metabolites as medicines, flavorings, and recreational drugs."
Some examples would be Alginic acid found in kelp or Dodecenal
that you would find in Cilantro for example.
There are 2 basic ways to create an FPE. The popular 'easy' method is to use EM-1 which is 10 or so lactobacillus cultures, some yeasts, etc. It works but it some ways it works too well and I'll explain that in a minute.
The other method is to simply take plant material and place it in water and let the airborne microbes ('indigenous' microbes) which would include native lacto strains, and let them do their work. The plant material itself is covered with microbes like you and I are.
When you use a concentrated formula like EM-1 you're hitting that plant material with massive amounts of lacto cultures - enough to prevent rotting. But this level of anaerobic microbes completely and totally break-down the molecular bonds of the compounds found in that specific plant.
Let's go back to my example of Alginic acid found in kelp. Alginic acid is a anionic polysaccharide found in brown kelp and is distributed throughout the cell walls. Here is structure of the compound (Secondary Metabolite):
Not too complicated is it? Oxygen and Hydrogen in a specific structure. Break those bonds and you're left with what? Elemental Oxygen and Hydrogen - both of which are beneficial elements for your plants but it ain't Alginic acid any longer.
When you use the method of using straight water a lot more is going on other than some very mild fermenting. Anyone who has made nettle or comfrey tea can attest that there isn't much fermenting going on but rather a lot of 'rotting' going on. In this method the compounds (Secondary Metabolites) remain intact and you'll get the benefit of these as well as the basic elements.
There is no repository of information about which plants to use. Most of the plants being studied today are a result of their being used for decades/centuries and are now being evaluated as to the 'why' they've been effective.
Having said that you can use another method to choose a plant. Take kale for example which is promoted for human and animal nutrition, i.e. it's nutrient dense. The elements that make kale nutritious to you or I are the same ones that feed plants - again Calcium, Phosphorus, Potassium and the rest of the 73 elements needed by plants to grow and thrive.
Another way is to look at organic products (legitimate) and see what they contain. An insecticide manufactured in Canada called EcoTrol is a good example. I looked at this product at a horticulture trade show last summer and read through the material they had available at their booth. But of greater interest was 'What's in this?" and it turned out to be rosemary extract and one of the mints - I believe it was either marjoram or oregano but it doesn't matter.
Next up was to look into the history of using rosemary for reasons outside of the culinary arts. By using search engines like Google Scholar or even better, Scirus.com, I was able to collect the names of the compounds in Rosemary and by looking at those individually it was pretty easy to figure out how things were working. Same with lavender flowers.
So here's my methodology - to extract elements use EM-1. It will get you there quickly and completely. If you're wanting to keep the compounds intact then simply brew the plant material in straight water. You don't need or want to add anything else. Rain water is #1 choice followed up with well water and so on.
If you stay away from regular Google for your research and stick with search engines that are oriented towards researchers and scientists you'll find the information you're wanting more quickly. At the very least you won't have to wade through Johnny's blog or a marketing blab from a manufacturer.
BTW - what OS are you running on your desktop/laptop? And are you familiar with using GREP/Regex within the structure of one of the server-side technologies like PHP, Ruby, PERL, Python, MySQL, et al? Searching can be accelerated in major ways if you are.
Edited by LumperDawgz2, 22 June 2011 - 10:30 AM.