Between the binary opposites of fresh and rotten exists a creative space in which some of the most unique and compelling tastes arise. Students from the Royal College of Art explore this creative space through the process of fermentation. They designed The Brinery: a home fermentation vessel to bring the long forgotten art of preserving vegetables back to life.

‘Fermentation has been around since the dawn of civilisation but the techniques and rituals that were cultivated by our ancestors, over millennia are at risk of being lost forever,’ the students write on their website. The Brinery is a modern reinterpretation of a forgotten process, aiming to make fermentation more straightforward. You simply have to place your chopped fruits and vegetables in the inner vessel, add salt and water and put the lid back on to start the process. The dome-shaped cap keeps the container airtight and the food submerged in the brine.

Protest and boost

The Brinery is not only a protest of the homogenization of food flavours that have engulfed our planet — the process of fermentation opens a whole new dimension of complex tastes — but also boosts your immune systems by turning your untouched apples and orange peels into a rich source of probiotic bacteria.

‘The microbiomes of our guts are lacking in diversity because of the large amount of processed, hyper-hygienic foods that define our current food system. In order to minimise the use of antibiotics that can create more lethal strains of harmful bacteria, we need to reintegrate fermentation into our lives,’ says the team of RCA students.

Environmental impact

Stimulating the preservation of leftovers also has an environmental benefit. Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion tonnes — gets lost or wasted, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization.

Fruits and vegetables, plus roots and tubers have the highest wastage rates of any food. The impact of food waste on the environment is bigger than you might think, as you’re not just throwing away the food but all the resources that went into producing it. Tossing an apple is like pouring 25 gallons of water down the drain.

Pop-up restaurant

Enough reason to start fermenting yourself! To overcome any apprehension anyone might still feel concerning the bacteria talk, the Brinery team also designed a pop-up restaurant. Here diners can experience the gustatory and health benefits of fermented food, get familiar with the process of bacteria breaking the food down through informative projection mappings on the vessel, and hopefully be convinced to ferment at home.

Learn more about the Brinery’s ethos on their website, or check out our upcoming WDCD Climate Action Challenge to join us in finding solutions on how to decrease our foot prints and fight climate change.

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