The first bits of food scraps were added to the Bucket last month, around 12th February. It is taking ages to fill the bucket (perhaps we have subconsciously started to cook/prepare less food and not so much is going to waste).
When I opened the bucket on Monday to add more stuff, I was greeted with a “pear drop” smell. Remembering some school chemistry, pear drop smell is an ester which is made by the reaction of alcohol with acid. Alcohol is a product of fermentation, and if left in the air, turns to acid (wine turns to vinegar..). I am not sure if the presence of these esters is a good thing. Having googled, I came across forums at www.downsizer.net which has a thread about Bokashi. A link from the thread led to a page about the use of microbial fertilisers in Japan. They say, “Although anaerobic fermentation usually generates an unpleasant odor, EM products were claimed to suppress any bad smells by producing lactic acid” – ok, so, as well as alcohol from fermentation, an acid is produced so perhaps its the reaction of alcohol with the lactic acid that produces the “pear drops” smell.
The thread on Downsizer mentioned tea bags. The leaflet I received with the Bokashi system said that no more than 5 tea bags was to be put in. One respondent to the thread mentioned that tea is slightly antibacterial and can stall the growth of bacteria.
Have already drained the liquid several times. Some has been diluted and applied in the garden. The rest went down the sink. I try to drain daily (or at least whenever I add to the bucket). The liquid doesn’t have a strong smell, though after a quick sniff, does have an aroma – with a hint of alcohol (wheat-beer-ish?) but not unpleasant.