Ever heard of kimchi? It’s a very nourishing and traditional fermented side dish made with vegetables. I have my own variation which I hope you’ll enjoy.
What are Fermented Foods?
In fermented foods, such as sauerkraut and kimchi, there are large amounts of enzymes that greatly aid the process of digestion. Our ancestors traditionally fermented their pickles, ketchups and other vegetables. These condiments, when served with their cooked food, provided digestive enzymes to help the body assimilate them.
I learned about fermentation and nutrition over the years by studying it on my own. When I came across Sally Fallon (Morell)’s book, “Nourishing Traditions,” things really fell into place. She is fantastic about telling you what the different vitamins, fats, enzymes, etc. do in the body. Then, she describes—in over 600 pages—how to cook everything. For example, she says about enzymes…
“An important branch of twentieth-century nutritional research, running parallel to and equal in significance to the discovery of vitamins and minerals, has been the discovery of enzymes and their function. Enzymes are complex proteins that act as catalysts in almost every biochemical process that takes place in the body.”
What is Kimchi?
Kimchi is traditionally a fermented Korean dish made of vegetables and seasoning. As I do not have the tastebuds for the super-spicy red pepper in Korean kimchi, have my own variation inspired by the dish. I add carrots in the place of pepper for what I’ll call a “Korean-style kimchee.” Every fall, I ferment a batch or two as follows.
How to Make Korean-Style “Kimchee”
- I take a cabbage from the garden and slice it thin with either my food processor or a mandolin.
- I pull a few carrots, then wash and grate them.
- I then mince a medium onion (very, very small) and put it all into a large stainless steel bowl (the bowl shouldn’t be a favorite as it can get dented).
- Next I add garlic (crushed small) or sometimes I throw in some of my homegrown/homemade paprika.
- To this mix, I add 2 tablespoons salt.
- You can add some homemade whey if you’d like.
- Using a meat pounder, I bang on the mixture, turning the bowl and stirring the ingredients all the while. Liquid begins to issue forth and the veggies get smaller. I do this until there is a lot of liquid in the bowl.
- Then I pack it into a ½-gallon glass jar, pressing it down firmly with a wooden pounder. The veggies should be covered by the liquid and there should be at least ½ inch of air space at the top. In order to keep the veggies under the liquid, I often fill a pint-size Ziploc bag with a small amount of water and place it at the top.
- The lid goes on tight and the jar sits on the counter for 2 or 3 days before being transferred into the root cellar or fridge.
- It can be eaten immediately, but it will also keep for many months.
Now, I’m using this delicious variation of kimchee in recipes. For lunch, I had a reuben….