How to Ferment; Kimchi

Kimchi is a traditional Korean ferment. There are hundreds of variations using cabbage, radish, scallion or cucumber as the main ingredient. The paste can contain a variety of ingredients. There may be more than 187 different varieties, all from different regions of Korea. Traditional ingredients will may use garlic, ginger, red pepper, some also add sugar, vinegar, fish sauce or paste to add to their recipe. Families will pass on their different seasonal varieties and they are traditionally buried in the ground to ferment.

Traditionally made by brining the vegetables and then mixing in a paste before packing it into a fermentation vessel to become full of probiotic bacteria and flavour.Kimchi Loula Natural

Fermented cabbage has a long history of providing benefits for many different health conditions (see my sauerkraut here and a flavoured version here). The fermentation process produces the living probiotic microorganisms that are beneficial to the digestive and immune system, plus making nutrients in the foods being fermented come to life and are more accessible.

The fermentation process increases the bioavailability of nutrients rendering Kimchi even more nutritious than the original starting points.Brining Kimchi Loula Natural

Salt is one of the most amazing natural products. Hugely beneficial to the body when consumed in the right way. I am often asked which salt to use- these are my salts of choice:

Sea salt – originates from drying the sea water in the sun, salt lakes or other methods. This is what I prefer and generally prefer those from Wales, France or Scotland. Sea salt nutrients can vary and may contain up to 80 or more minerals than table salt (which is refined down to one or two) it will hugely depend on where the sea salt was obtained.  In addition to sodium and chlorine, you are likely to find potassium, phosphorus, calcium, sulfur. Trace minerals in sea salt can include iron, iodine, manganese, zinc, bromine, boron, copper. 

Pink Himalayan salt – this salt is traditionally harvested in the Pakistan  side of the Himalayan mountain range and the pink colour may be due to the salt containing iron oxide. Harvested from caves of ocean salt settled into geological pockets. It is an unrefined, unprocessed raw mineral, mainly mined by hand. The salt can be up to 250 million years old, which is pretty cool! Its nutrient content is similar to sea salt (since they both originated from the sea). 

I use these two salts in fermenting, in cooking, in the bath, as a scrub, as salt lamps and also on the carpets to help deep clean them. 

Kimchi
This is a basic Kimchi recipe. There are around 187 different variations of Kimchi, this one uses Chinese cabbage, daikon radish and carrot. I have made this one sugar free and suitable for vegans and vegetarians as it is also seafood free.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 head of Chinese cabbage thinly sliced
  2. 1 daikon radish thinly sliced
  3. 2 carrots thinly sliced
  4. 1.5% weight sea salt/ pink Himalayan salt
  5. 10 garlic cloves
  6. 1 ½ inches fresh ginger
  7. 1 ½ tbsp. Korean red pepper
  8. 1tsp coconut sugar (optional)
  9. 1tsp Fish sauce or water
  10. 1tsp fish paste (you can also use seaweed)
Instructions
  1. Weigh cabbage, radish and carrot to work out how much salt is needed.
  2. Try and retain one of the out side leaves for later. Add the thinly sliced cabbage to a non reactive bowl (plastic or ceramic)..
  3. Weigh and add the salt to the vegetable in water. Mix into the cabbage with your hands to massage and work in the salt. Leave for 1-8 hours.
  4. Make the paste by adding the remaining ingredients to a mini chopper and pulsing until a paste.
  5. Drain the vegetables from the brine, taste to determine saltiness. (note the saltiness will mellow). Rinse if necessary.
  6. Wearing gloves, mix in the paste, massaging the vegetables.
  7. Add to your fido jar pushing the vegetables down with a wooden spoon, potato masher or fingers. You will notice the brine being created and rising up to the top of the cabbage.
  8. When all the vegetables are in the jar then you place the retained cabbage leaf on the top- this will ensure all the stray bits remain under the brine. You may weigh down the cabbage with either ceramic baking beads, marbles, rocks or a shot glass. This step is not compulsory but does help the first few days of fermenting as it makes it easy to continue to push the kraut down to keep the cabbage in the brine.
  9. Leave for 1-2 weeks on the counter and taste, depending on the temperature and humidity levels of your fermenting spot- leave for up to 28 days. Ferment to taste so continue to taste and then refrigerate when you like it!
Notes
  1. It is optional to use 1tsp fish paste, you can also use seaweed in the paste.
Loula Natural http://loulanatural.com/
 Mixing in paste Loula Natural

Here is my video on how to make the paste to add to your vegetables:

When it comes to flavoring your Kimchi the only limitations are what you have available!

You can add anything. Play with other root vegetables, using vinegar, fish sauce and other spices in your paste (like turmeric, cumin or coriander).

Kimchi is added to most foods, soups, noodles, stews, pancakes and so on. It is really nice mixed in to sauces like BBQ, mayo and ketchup. Kimchi is also delicious with cheese and also eggs…

Kimchi Cheese on toast Loula Natural

Christmas Kraut

 

Untitled designChristmas Kraut Loula Natural fi

Christmas Kraut Loula Natural fb

This spicy, tart and juicy Christmas Kraut is a match made in heaven for your plate, throughout the holiday season.

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Traditional Christmas foods are naturally rich in fats, nutrients and, of course, sugar! Many of us will also be enjoying a tipple or two at parties over the coming weeks. Adding a fermented aspect to these meals, this Christmas Kraut may help the body to deal with and digest all these excess foods and drinks. Hopefully lessening the fatigue, bloating, hangovers, sugar highs (and lows) and of course the noxious fumes that generally comes with turkey, sprouts et al.

Christmas Kraut star loulanatural

Perfect on the plate at the main event or served with cheese, this Christmas Kraut will totally change some of your Christmas traditions!! It will certainly be on the menu for me for years to come.

christmas kraut made Loula Natural

So simple, if you are in a warmish climate you could ferment this in a week and have it ready for your Christmas table this year.

Christmas kraut collage Loula natural

To find out how to make a basic sauerkraut see here and for my beetroot and ginger flavour see here.

Christmas Kraut
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Ingredients
  1. Ingredients
  2. 1 whole green cabbage thinly sliced
  3. 1 whole red cabbage thinly sliced
  4. 1.5% Salt
  5. 250g of fresh cranberries cut in half
  6. 1 orange (zest and segments cut in 3)
  7. 2tsp Pumpkin pie spice (or use a mix of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger and star anise)
Instructions
  1. Retain 1/2 of the outside cabbage leaves for later.
  2. Make sauerkraut by mixing the cabbage with the salt. Massage the cabbage until it starts to wilt and release water.
  3. Add and combine the cranberries, orange and spices.
  4. Press the mixture into a fido (airtight sealable jar) jar and keep pressing down to release liquid.
  5. When the mixture is all in the jar and there is liquid covering the top, press down the outside cabbage leaves to keep any stray bits of cabbage from floating to the surface of the liquid.
  6. Seal and leave to ferment on the counter for a week-28 days. Keep tasting the kraut every few days.
  7. Put in the fridge for an additional week.
  8. Enjoy, Merry Christmas
Notes
  1. This recipe is especially nice with cheese or an alternative to cranberry sauce.
Adapted from How to Ferment: Sauerkraut
Loula Natural http://loulanatural.com/
Christmas Kraut Loulanatural pin

5 Reasons to Brew Kombucha

5 Reasons to Brew Kombucha

Kombucha is a fermented Tea. It is described as a ‘delicious sour tonic beverage’ slightly sparking and a little like apple cider. It has a tiny about of alcohol in the finished drink. The drink is made with a SCOBY( symbiotic colony obacteria and yeast). Also known as the Mother. It is a bit like a disc which floats on the surface as it ferments;

  1. As a drink Kombucha is very light, vibrant, refreshing, low in sugar (the bacteria consumes it), full of Tea’s antioxidant benefits, simple to make, and full of great health giving properties. To make it you simply need Tea (black, green, white) a SCOBY (should normally be free from the fermenting community), filtered water and sugar (I use coconut). That and a glass jar and some time!Kombucha Ingredients
  2. Kombucha can be brewed to taste. The longer you leave it, the more sour and vinegar like it becomes. It generally needs to be diluted (normally with soda water) as it is very strong in flavour, high in acid and very potent as a digestive aid and liver cleanser. It can have very positive side effects. Mainly in clearing and aiding the digestive system (diarrhoea) and liver cleansing and supporting toxin elimination. However you may also experience headaches, muscle spasms, flare ups of skin conditions and other inflammatory conditions. Of course these are all actually good things- the more side effects you have the more you actually need it. As your body comes back to balance it is worth starting slowly with Kombucha and check in with how you are feeling after every time you take it (I know this from experience- I can now drink it without any ill effects!)Magic Kombucha
  3. It is like Kefir in as much as it will provide probiotic habitation (the good probiotics will be rebalanced in your body and as bacteria outnumbers cells by 9:1in our body- this is a good thing). However Kombucha also contains many healthy acids which all have health giving benefits a little like Apple Cider Vinegar. By providing both, with all the antioxidants in the Tea and other vitamins and minerals contained in the sugar and SCOBY itself it becomes a very powerful supplement for health and vitality.
  4. There have been many reported symptom reductions beyond detoxifying liver and improving digestion. Many have reported a massive reduction in arthritic pain, IBS symptoms, balance ph levels, reduce allergy reactions, increased metabolic rate and thus more energy, decrease in sugar cravings, reduced headaches and migraines, improved skin conditions a reduction in Candida overgrowth symptoms and many more chronic conditions have been reduced. It is even been repudiated to help cancer cells to return to normal cells.second ferments
  5. Lastly creating your own flavours is fun and very simple to do. After the initial ferment and the SCOBY is removed- the world is you oyster in regards to flavour. Herbal teas can be added, fruits, herbs, vegetables all can add flavour and nutrient dimensions to your Kombucha. My favourites are Mango, Raspberry and I love my take on ginger beer (fresh root ginger and ginger sugar added and left for another week). I would love to hear your favourite and please share any recipes in the comments section.

Here is my book all about it with some awesome recipes;

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HKD$150 (Approx USD $19 GBP £12 AUS $20)

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Further reading check out these links;

http://www.happyherbalist.com/analysis_of_kombucha.htm

www.kombuca-research.com

and good old Wiki!! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kombucha#cite_ref-10 (mainly for the links to citations at the bottom!)

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