I have to admit that I am no expert when it comes to fermentation... In the past, I have bought delicious kimchi and sauerkraut at the farmer's market (From Mercedes Brian, Pickled Pink Traditional Food and Drink), rather than making it myself. However, inspired by multiple sources telling me how simple it is, my New Year's resolution this year is to start making my own ferments.
It's hugely centered on health for me. I'm not the biggest fan of sauerkraut or kimchi, but I LOVE the way they make me feel when I consume them regularly. I can save $60 spent on a bottle of probiotics, and keep my gut flora healthy with the cabbage that comes in my CSA share. So, I figure... Why not?
January is greeted by many of us with health resolutions, so much that we in the produce world actually see spikes in demand for things like kale, beets, carrots, et cetera due to a large number of people starting juice fasts or cleanses. Unfortunately, January in Nova Scotia is not the most abundant time of year to be putting copious amounts of green veggies through the juicer... Fresh greens like kale and spinach can be pretty hard to come by. Cabbage, however, is definitely still abundant, and especially healthy when traditionally fermented to make it packed with probiotics. (and don't get me wrong, juicing is great... I just don't have a juicer, and I have more interest in kraut and kimchi for the moment!)
For now I've been starting to delve into the process, and have made one batch of kimchi that is not ready yet, but starting to smell pretty darn good last night when I checked it! Next I may invest in some equipment to make things easier. Amy got this crock on the left for Christmas and I am jealous!
This is the link to the recipe I used for batch #1: Simple Kimchi from The Kitchn
A member passed along this one, that I am going to attempt Sunday:
K. Black – March 2013
Ingredients (for 1 large Napa cabbage)
1 head Napa cabbage (large)
Coarse sea salt
2 T fish sauce
2-3 green onions, chopped
1 small white onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2-3 T white sugar
1 T ground ginger
6-8 T Korean chile powder (vary this depending on how hot you want it)
Plastic gloves (disposable or dish gloves set aside for this purpose)
1. Cut the cabbage in quarters lengthwise. Remove any wilted leaves from the outer layer and trim the ends. Place on a tray or in a large bowl and generously sprinkle coarse sea salt onto the cut faces of the cabbage. Use your hands to rub the salt in to the leaves (and spaces between the leaves). Leave the cabbage to sit at room temperature for about 6 hours.
2. Rinse the salt from the cabbage leaves, drain, and squeeze out any excess liquid. Cut the cabbage quarters into 2 inch sections and place them in a large bowl (e.g. plastic or stainless steel, but not aluminum). Some people use an airtight container, but I don’t. I prefer to use a large bowl and then cover with plastic wrap so that the wrap touches the cabbage. I then put a weight on the top to help seal out air (sort of borrowed from older sauerkraut recipes).
3. Stir in the fish sauce, green onions, white onion, garlic, sugar and ginger.
4. Put on the plastic gloves (do not skip this as your hands sting like crazy if you don’t). Sprinkle the Korean chile powder over the cabbage. Use your hands to rub the chile powder into the cabbage leaves until evenly coated. Vary the amount to suit your taste; my mix usually ends up quite red in color and is quite spicy.
5. Seal the bowl/container and set in a cool dry place. Leave undisturbed for 4 days. This can’t go in the fridge, but somewhere a bit cooler is good.
6. Refrigerate before serving. Usually at this point packing into glass jars is a good idea to make storage easier. The kimchi will last about a month refrigerated. As it gets older, it may taste less fresh when eaten as is, but is still great for stir-fry or soups.
I would LOVE if you have recipes to share (email@example.com). Amy's photo above is the batch she has on the go, and the ingredients. In the absence of daikon radish, she uses kohlrabi, because it's readily available at the moment. She did like I did, and subbed dried cayenne peppers for the Korean chile powder.
We'll have lots of Napa Cabbage this week at the Hammonds Plains Farmer's Market, on special this week for $0.99/lb!