Nuruk Fermented Grain Vinegar

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The traditional vinegars of Korea are usually made from grain such as rice, barley, wheat, millet, glutinous millet, and corn. Production of ogok-type vinegars requires first making nuruk, which is used as the fermentation agent. Nuruk is made by soaking and then grinding rice, shaping into the nuruk form and drying both sides in the sun. It is then ground up two more times.

To then make the ogok vinegar, brown rice and a mixture of five grains are soaked, cooked and cooled. They are then mixed with the rice nuruk and placed into a fermenter for about two weeks at 25°C. After an initial filtration, the mixture is placed into a clay pot for acetic acid fermentation, which takes about two months at 38°C. The entire container is then buried underground for over a year, and then undergoes two further filtrations before being sterilized and packaged. All of these processes are carried out by hand; therefore, there are limitations to mass production. The long period of time required to ferment the vinegar and the process is also labor intensive. That is why the product is not sold in mass quantities in the market.

The use of vinegar of “goju” has been widespread in Korea for centuries. Dating back to the Goryeu Dynasty, it was used both for cooking and as an alcoholic drink, as well as in folk remedies. The production area, Yecheon, in Gyeonbuk (or North Gyeongsang) Province, is located at the foot of the Sobaek Mountains. The terrain is hilly and has no wide plains. The southwest is sloped slightly and fertile, making it an ideal location to raise ogok crops. Cooperative units are formed to raise the crops needed to produce ogok vinegar. However, crop yield is not very high ,and raising the crops requires large amounts of capital. If ogok vinegar is not recognized in the market due to factors such as these, it may be lost in the future.

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StateSouth Korea


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Nominated by:Han Sang Jun - Chosanjung