I made my first batch of kimchi two years ago after reading about it’s incredible health benefits. Not only is it full of goodness derived from garlic, ginger, chili, cabbage, and onions, but it’s also fermented. Fermenting foods infuses them with powerful immune boosting probiotics and makes them more digestible which allows our bodies to derive more nutrition from the ingredients included, along with other foods consumed with them.
From what I’ve read, making Kimchi is a BIG deal in Korea. Every fall the women gather to make big batches which were traditionally stored in buried earthenware jars. There are also over a hundred different varieties of kimchi, featuring everything from daikon radishes to cabbage. I’ve only made this type of basic kimchi, but look forward to trying more recipes when I can get enough of the ingredients to make them. This year I even grew my own Korean peppers just for kimchi, perhaps I’ll add daikon radishes to the garden next year so I can make that type of kimchi.
BASIC CABBAGE KIMCHI
(recipe adapted from The The Joy of Pickling)
I always double or triple this recipe when I’m making it.
3 Tablespoons of sea salt
6 cups filtered water
2 pounds of organic napa cabbage, cut into 1 inch strips or squares
6 green onions, cut into 4 inch long strips and thinly sliced lengthwise
(you can substitute regular onions if you don’t have green onions)
1 1/2 Tablespoons of grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 Tablespoons of minced fresh garlic
2 Tablespoons ground Korean pepper or lesser amount of other pepper
1 teaspoon of organic sugar or rapadura
1 teaspoon of sea salt
Dissolve 3 Tablespoons of sea salt in 6 cups of water in a large bowl or glass container. Put the cut cabbage in bowl and submerge, weigh down with plate if needed. Let stand at room temperature for 12 hours or overnight.
Scoop cabbage out of brine with slotted spoon and transfer large bowl, reserve brine. Mix in remaining ingredients (onion, ginger, garlic). Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of sugar on top and mix thoroughly.
Transfer to half gallon canning jar (or other jar of appropriate size). Pour enough reserved brine to cover cabbage in jar. Place smaller glass jar in opening of large jar to keep cabbage submerged. Let kimchi ferment in a cool place, around 60-65 degrees, for 3-6 days or until it’s as sour as you like. Seal jar with lid and store in refrigerator, it will keep for many months.
Essentially, making kimchi is a lot like making sauerkraut or other fermented vegetables. Once you start you’ll be looking for ways to ferment everything!
What’s your favorite fermented food?