Who's afraid of HOW's smell? / by Catinca Tilea

I need to debunk some myths: HOW smells much better than you imagine; it's not what you think!

Before we started this research we had a proof-of-concept phase in which we fooled around with different bio-processes just to see what suits this study. Many pre-experiments took their own turn instead of ours (it doesn't always turn up well, ya' know). It was then when I dealt with some funky perfumes, if you know what I mean! And it was also then when I developed what I call “a smell anxiety”. Smell anxiety means that once you know you are (or will be) in front of waste, you already imagine terrible smells and you start to make gross associations. As I bet most of you get smell anxiety as well at least at times when you see and read my posts, I must walk you through the scents palette of our HOW research, step by step.

 

Is fresh HOW all that fresh?!

Fresh HOW means for us HOW that's been gathered no longer than 3-4 days ago. You probably think: but fresh HOW is already old food. Yeah, but when you add 3-4 days to natural decay not that much changes.  And as we chop HOW when it arrives in the lab to speed up fermentation, all its inner juices come out. Remember, decaying still only happens on the outer layers at this time. So chopped HOW smells more like greens, fruit, veggie... whatever you have in there. Fresh HOW smells quite fresh I must say!

Fresh HOW means for us HOW that's been gathered no longer than 3-4 days ago. You probably think: but fresh HOW is already old food. Yeah, but when you add 3-4 days to natural decay not that much changes.

And as we chop HOW when it arrives in the lab to speed up fermentation, all its inner juices come out. Remember, decaying still only happens on the outer layers at this time. So chopped HOW smells more like greens, fruit, veggie... whatever you have in there. Fresh HOW smells quite fresh I must say!

Where's that smell of pickles coming from?

If you ever fermented HOW with bokashi starter you already know it. The garbage juice that gets released through this anaerobic fermentation is also a great natural fertiliser and non-chemical sewage declogger. But most importantly, fermented HOW and its garbage juice smell like pickles. That's right, like augurkens.

If you ever fermented HOW with bokashi starter you already know it. The garbage juice that gets released through this anaerobic fermentation is also a great natural fertiliser and non-chemical sewage declogger. But most importantly, fermented HOW and its garbage juice smell like pickles. That's right, like augurkens.

Fibre got baked

Imagine you take something pickled and you cook it in the oven. Or imagine the smell of dried and seasoned fruit peel, like mango peel for instance. Imagine its sweetness, baked. And now imagine its been also pickled and baked. That's what incubated HOW smells like. And if you think of it, it is all sorts of peels dried, pickled and baked.

Imagine you take something pickled and you cook it in the oven. Or imagine the smell of dried and seasoned fruit peel, like mango peel for instance. Imagine its sweetness, baked. And now imagine its been also pickled and baked. That's what incubated HOW smells like. And if you think of it, it is all sorts of peels dried, pickled and baked.

Wet leaves on the forest floor after the rain

If you close your eyes and remember the last time you took a walk in the woods after the rain, then you got it, it's that smell: a bit moist and mouldy. When we put deactivated HOW to bind with mycelium, we moisturise it a bit because moulds like to grow in wet environments. The smell that comes out in this mix is really just like that of the forest floor, but then in the lab ;)

If you close your eyes and remember the last time you took a walk in the woods after the rain, then you got it, it's that smell: a bit moist and mouldy. When we put deactivated HOW to bind with mycelium, we moisturise it a bit because moulds like to grow in wet environments. The smell that comes out in this mix is really just like that of the forest floor, but then in the lab ;)