Archive for Lacto-fermenting

Lacto-fermented Kimchi

Kimchi is a Korean sauerkraut and my first taste of it brought tears to my eyes….literally!!  My California friend and neighbor, Sun, would eat tons of the stuff but she liked it very spicy!!   A few months ago, I bought a jar of kimchi from the refrigerator section at Wal-Mart.  It was pretty pricey but since I knew how good it was for me, I wanted to try it again.  When I opened the jar it started fizzing and bubbling over the sides!  I wasn’t expecting that, but fortunately, the jar had an “explanation” of the fizzing that occurs when you open the jar!!  I liked the taste of this kimchi better than my first experience.  It does have a pretty strong taste that I wasn’t sure if I liked at first, but I now crave the stuff!!  As with most things healthy in Wal-Mart, it was only available for a short time so I had to go to plan B…making it myself!

Kimchi is easy to make.  I use a combination of  several different recipes that I’ve found in books and on the internet.  Here is the basic recipe of what I do, although I usually end up changing or trying something different every time.

  • 1 head napa cabbage
  • 1/2 to 1 head bok choi
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 2 to 3 carrots, grated
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger, fresh
  • 3 to 5 cloves garlic, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 tsp dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp celtic sea salt
  • 1/4 cup whey

Core and shred the napa cabbage and bok choi. (I do this by hand.  I tried using the food processor the first time and it only made 1 quart jar instead of the 2 it should have.)  I also slice the greem onions by hand.  I use the food processor for the carrots, ginger and garlic.  Put everything in a big bowl and mix up really well.  I do this with my (very clean) hands.

Pound with whatever you have that works.  I use a wooden pounder that I got from an estate auction.  I don’t know exactly what it really is, but it works great for this.  I also have a wooden rolling pin with no handles that would work just as well.  You pound the veggies to release the juices.   As you pound, you will notice more liquid and the cabbages will start to wilt and pack down some. 

Put the kimchi into two quart-size jars (wide-mouth is best) and pour the liquid over the veggies.  The veggies need to be at least an inch from the top…this is important, trust me!!!  Pack the kimchi down in the jar with your pounder so that the juice comes up to the top.  If there isn’t enough liquid to cover the top, you can add a little water.  Cover tightly with a lid and let set on your counter at room temperature for three days.  At the end of your three days, put in the refrigerator.  

If the veggies float up to the top during your three days on the counter, you can open the jar and push them back down into the liquid.  Some people will tell you that as long as the veggies still look wet, not to worry about pushing them back down, but I usually put them back under.

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