I don’t know if you guys know this about me or not, but I tend to be a bit of a foodie.
As I confessed in a recent post, I almost always make simple meals, but I love experimenting in the kitchen.
I truly appreciate local quality ingredients, and will go out of my way for such, on the regular.
A 20 minute drive every week to pick up raw milk from a local dairy, a one hour trek north to an Amish community to buy raw honey by the gallon, and homemade raw butter, frequent trips to the farmer’s market…
I wouldn’t have it any other way. Good food interests me.
My husband and I studied a book on Missouri Mushrooms, so we could safely forage several varieties of native mushrooms.
Black trumpets, chanterelles, morels, cinnabars, blue milk mushrooms….
Plentiful, delicious, and free for the takin! And as an added bonus, it takes a family hike to get them.
I was giddy the other day when going down a Pinterest rabbit hole led me to the idea of Moroccan preserved lemons. Why have I never heard of these before?!
Oh the culinary possibilities!
I have been experimenting around with fermented vegetables for a while now, but I never ventured into the fermented Korean staple that is kimchi.
“Kimchi is a side dish made from salted and fermented vegetables, most commonly Napa cabbage and Korean radishes, with a wide variety of seasonings including chili powder, scallions, garlic, ginger and fish sauce.” source: Wikipedia
If you are new to the idea of fermenting vegetables, you can read up on all the benefits HERE.
I first heard of kimchi at a Korean-Mexican fusion burrito restaurant, called Seoul Taco, that we have locally. AKA The Best Thing You Ever Put in Your Mouth EVER. I kid you not.
Ever since we first tried it, the obsession with making kimchi, and anything that could slightly resemble a burrito from Seoul Taco, began.
I looked up several versions online and adapted my recipe from those. There definitely isn’t one single way to make kimchi.
Start with these ingredients:
2 heads Napa cabbage, chopped
3 tablespoons sea salt
2 teaspoons organic brown sugar
2 teaspoons grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 green onions, chopped
6 tablespoons Korean chile flakes
Optional: 1 tablespoon fish sauce
Optional: 4 carrots, grated
Reserve a few outside cabbage leaves to use for pushing the kimchi below the brine. More on that later.
Chop and grate all the vegetables and add them, with the rest of the ingredients, to a big bowl.
Its basically the exact same method for all fermented vegetables.
For a quick primer…
When salt is added to vegetables, bad bacteria is prevented from growing. Left in a salty, oxygen deprived, environment for a long period of time, at room temperature, only the good bacteria has an opportunity to grow, and thus, fermented vegetables are created.
For vegetables that have a high water content, enough brine is released from the vegetables when the salt is added.
For vegetables like carrots, cucumbers and butternut squash, you need to actually create a brine with salt and water.
So basically, add vegetables to salty water or salty brine, deprive concoction of oxygen by submerging below said brine, and allow to sit out.
What other fun ingredients you want to add/experiment with is up to you!
Back to the kimchi…
Massage the ingredients together, so that the salt causes the cabbage to sweat, and make a brine.
Let it all sit for a few minutes.
You want everything to get nice and juicy.
Pack the mixture tightly into mason jars.
This particular recipe fits perfectly into three pint size jars.
Fold up a cabbage leave, that you saved earlier, and use it to keep all the veggies down below the brine.
You will also need some kind of extra weight to keep it down.
I keep a couple of nice rocks on hand for this.
I just put the rock in a ziplock bag to keep it from actually touching the food.
I always like to top of my ferments with just a little bit of water to make sure everything is good and submerged.
I usually like to use these mason tops Pickle Pipes as lids, but they were already in use with my other ferments that were going.
So, instead, I just covered them with a little plastic wrap and a canning ring.
Since the cabbage leaf is separating the plastic from the kimchi you will be eating, don’t worry about the BPA and all that junk.
Let it sit out for about five days.
Take the rings, plastic wrap, weight and folded up cabbage leaf out. Replace with the regular mason jar lids, and store in the refrigerator.
I would have taken a picture of all three jars, but we already finished one before I had a chance to write this tutorial.
Safe to say we enjoyed it!
Serve homemade kimchi with sautéed beef, grilled chicken, or even fried eggs, for an extra zip.
Bonus points for making Bulgogi.
Yeah I haven’t done that yet.
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