Kimchi

KIMCHI

For thousands of years civilizations used the process of lacto-fermentation as a natural preservative for foods as it inhibits putrefying bacteria.  This is probably the closest I’ll ever get to alchemy, which I’ve been fascinated with as long as I can remember, so this will not be my last fermentation post!  Just think, you can create a superfood in your very home.  Much like a medicine.  It’s pretty exciting stuff!  To see a list of the cultures who’ve embraced this process of preservation please visit my fermentation post here.  It’s also packed with basic information on fermentation including the nutritional benefits.

Kimchi is a fermented condiment of Korea which is present with almost every meal. Traditionally, kimchi was stored in large earthenware clay pots which were placed into the ground for the fermentation process.  This process gives kimchi probiotic benefits packed with good bacteria that helps the body fight off infections and keeps the gut functioning efficiently.  If you’re not yet aware of the importance of gut health please do some research as the health of our GI tract is essential for a healthy body.  An unhealthy gut leads to many issues like autoimmune diseases, depression, autism, degenerative diseases and much more.

 
 

Making kimchi is quite simple.  All it really entails is chopping up the basic ingredients and letting them sit on the counter for 2-4 days while the Lactobacilli bacteria due their part in the process.  The jars should be placed in an area where the temperature is about 72 degrees.  More time is needed if your kitchen is colder, and less if it’s hotter.  It’s also important to be sure you are using the best quality organic vegetables, sea salt and filtered water for lacto-fermentation.  The Lactobacilli need plenty of nutrients to do their work.  Be sure to seal your jars with at least 1 inch of room on the top for the ingredients to expand.  This is a natural occurrence.  You may want to open the jars several times throughout the day as to let out any built up pressure.  Also, be sure that the vegetables and fully submerged in the liquid.  If they are poking out the top use just a little filtered water to top them off as the idea is to keep all oxygen away from them.

KIMCHI

Although fermented foods provide amazing benefits one should not overindulge in one sitting as they are pretty potent.  I recommend just a small side serving per meal.  By small, I mean 1 cup would do.  I hope you enjoy prepping, waiting and eventually enjoying this alchemic experience.

Ingredients:

1 large napa cabbage
1/2 small red cabbage
1 large carrot
1 large daikon radish
1 medium apple
1 large bok choy
5 green onions
5 cloves garlic
1 small piece ginger
1 Tbsp turmeric
1 Tbsp cayenne pepper
1/2 cup sea salt

Instructions:

Clean all vegetables and fruit.  Chop napa and red cabbage, bok choy, and green onion adding them to a large bowl.  Skin carrot, daikon and apple then chop them and add to the bowl.   Mince the garlic and ginger and place them in a mortar and pestle with the turmeric, cayenne pepper and salt.  Blend the ingredients to make a nice paste.  Work the paste into the bowl of veggies using your hands to massage them.  Really work the paste through and be sure to squeeze out the juices to make the marinade.  Place the ingredients in large jars making sure the liquid covers the top of the veggies and leaving 1 inch space from the top of the jar.  Place the jars on your counter sealing them tightly so no oxygen gets in.  Several times a day release the built up pressure.  On the 2nd day check that all looks good and there is no mold and the smell is tolerable.  A little bit of white bubbles are normal and you’ll definitely know if your batch is going rancid because you won’t be able to tolerate the smell.  Around day 3 or 4 place the jars in the refrigerator which will help them keep for several months.