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"Just be who you are, calm and clear and bright." - Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

Kimchi!

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Making more fermented foods is one of my culinary goals for the year, and I recently got around to making my first batch of kimchi. Kimchi is a Korean side dish or relish, sort of similar to sauerkraut, with a refreshingly spicy-sour flavor. Eat this yummy stuff and do your GI system (not to mention your sinuses, heh) a huge favor.

Zoe Keller of One Beet Wellness gave a demonstration at Herbstalk this past June, and her handout was really helpful. Zoe pointed out that, despite our fears about disease and contamination, most bacteria are beneficial! My sort-of-recipe below is based on hers.

 

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Here’s what I used:

one half a head of white cabbage
one head of fennel (including stalks)
three large carrots
one half a daikon radish
one large apple, peeled
stalks from four onions (you could just use an onion)
cloves from half a head of garlic, minced
two-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
4 tsp. of sea salt (no iodized salt! this is very important)
one skimpy squirt of sriracha (because I don’t do super-spicy)

The method is simple: chop and mix everything up, sprinkle salt, and massage the veg until the salt has drawn the water out. Spoon the mixture into a glass jar or crock, pressing very firmly, pouring the water on top and weighting down the veg with a smaller glass jar. It’s important that the veg not rise above the water line, or you might end up with mold on top.

 

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I put a tea towel over the jar to keep the dust out, but the water kept bubbling up and soaking the towel, so I wound up overturning my iced-tea pitcher and placing that over the jar instead. (The pitcher is plastic, so it totally retained the yummy-bacterial odor. Oops. Hadn’t thought of that! Soaked it in hot water and lemon juice and that did the trick.)

In this summer heat, the mixture got tangy within a few hours. You can leave it to ferment for weeks, but in this case, after four days my jar smelled quite fragrant enough! Once refrigerated, it’ll keep for months.

 

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Next time I’ll use red cabbage to stain the whole thing purple. I also need to buy a mandolin to expedite the chopping.

It may be an acquired taste for some—hard to believe kimchi is not made with vinegar—but it really is so good for you!

 

1 Comment to Kimchi!

  1. Susan Grant's Gravatar Susan Grant
    August 20, 2015 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Looks yummy! Looking forward to trying some!

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Hi! I'm Camille. I only write stories that could never ever happen in real life, though I do believe in real-life magic. If we were in the same room I'd fix you a cup of tea, but for now we'll have to settle for a virtual connection. I'm really glad you're here.