by Carolina Kyvik
How can we we ferment UK pulses in order to obtain a new food product?
How can we create an innovative new regenerative food system around this traditional domestic staple seed?
regenerative food system
About the project
Everything we eat has an impact on the environment and the climate. In the present context of intensifying economic, environmental and climate challenges and crises, we need to enlarge our thinking about food systems change.
Pulses are some of the most nutritious crops on the planet, they offer one of the best investments in your heart and overall health and their cultivation helps reduce greenhouse gases and provides increased carbon sequestration which is good for the planet. In addition, pulses improve soil fertility and nourish crops planted alongside them and they are a low-cost crop for farmers, they flourish in arid lands and have a long shelf life. Pulses have been an essential part of the human diet for centuries, yet their nutritional value is not generally recognized and is frequently under-appreciated. Their per capita consumption has declined in both developed and developing countries due to changes in dietary patterns and consumer preferences.
re-PULSES is a project that rediscovers pulses, it rethinks and redesigns how we process and consume them in the UK, whilst simultaneously creating a new food product within a regenerative food system.
re-PULSES rediscovers species of pulses which are grown in the UK. This part of the project is based on the collaboration with Hodmedods. Hodmedods is an English company that works with farmers in South East England by rescuing ancient UK species of pulses and introducing new species of pulses that grow in the English climate. .
Different species of peas cultivated by Hodmedods.
Location of Hodmedods farms and re-PULSES food system.
re-PULSES rethinks how pulses are processed in the UK. By putting them through a process of fermentation, the pulses become more digestible, nutritious and delicious. Pulses are made of complex carbohydrates and proteins which are hard to break down and are not tasty for us. Aspergillus Oryzae has the capacity of secreting the enzymes protease and amylase which can break down the carbohydrates and proteins of the pulses, converting them into simple sugars and free amino acids. Our palette is able to identify these simple sugars and amino acids, which are characteristic of the fifth flavor “umami” or savoury.
Microscopic picture of mould Aspergillus Oryzae.
Pulses fermenting with mould Aspergillus Oryzae.
Fermentation process of pulses with Aspergillus Oryzae.
Mold growth on petri dish
Mold growth on rice
Mold growth on peas
re-PULSES redesigns how pulses are eaten in the UK. Once the pulses have been fermented, the end product is a flavourful paste that can be easily dehydrated and shaped into any form using a mould. re-PULSES aims to celebrate pulses and the diversity of shapes they come in. Therefore, for the food product, a shape that is recognizable by the consumers has been chosen.
These pulse-shaped balls can be added to any dish to add savoury flavour and increase the nutrition of the dish, and ultimately the consumption of pulses. The packaging of re-PULSES is nature-inspired and developed from the pulses’ natural outer skins made with algae based bioplastic. Finally, re-PULSES regenerates UK soils through it's production, processing and consumption process.
re-PULSES shape of bean.
Different re-PULSES shapes.
Nature- inspired algae based packaging.
I am a Biodesigner interested in the development of future foods and food packaging materials that respect the ecosystem. After finishing my Bachelors degree in Industrial Design Engineering, I was introduced to the biodesign world through a personal exploration of grown biomaterials for food packaging applications. During the MA Biodesign, I have become concerned with food and food systems and their impact on our planet. This led me towards becoming interested in fermentation as a tool for creating regenerative foods and food systems.