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.
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.
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.
- 1 head of Chinese cabbage thinly sliced
- 1 daikon radish thinly sliced
- 2 carrots thinly sliced
- 1.5% weight sea salt/ pink Himalayan salt
- 10 garlic cloves
- 1 ½ inches fresh ginger
- 1 ½ tbsp. Korean red pepper
- 1tsp coconut sugar (optional)
- 1tsp Fish sauce or water
- 1tsp fish paste (you can also use seaweed)
- Weigh cabbage, radish and carrot to work out how much salt is needed.
- Try and retain one of the out side leaves for later. Add the thinly sliced cabbage to a non reactive bowl (plastic or ceramic)..
- 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.
- Make the paste by adding the remaining ingredients to a mini chopper and pulsing until a paste.
- Drain the vegetables from the brine, taste to determine saltiness. (note the saltiness will mellow). Rinse if necessary.
- Wearing gloves, mix in the paste, massaging the vegetables.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- It is optional to use 1tsp fish paste, you can also use seaweed in the paste.
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…
How To: Ferment Sauerkraut
For my inspiration watch this;
Here is how I have tried to make sauerkraut- without a crock or any kind of fancy equipment! Just what I already have in the house.
Sauerkraut is cabbage that has been fermented. Normally made from finely shredded cabbage and salt. The salt preserves the cabbage for a few days while the probiotic bacteria begin to grow. Raw naturally fermented sauerkraut contains lactic acid and the living probiotic microorganisms that are beneficial to the digestive and immune systems.
Fermented cabbage has a long history of providing benefits for many different health conditions mainly because fermentation process increases the bioavailability of nutrients rendering sauerkraut even more nutritious than the original cabbage.
I have used a mix of half red cabbage and half white cabbage cause I love both. Cabbage is one of the cruciferous vegetables which may have huge benefits on the digestive and hormonal systems. The vibrant colour of red cabbage reflects it concentration of protective phytonutrients, far more than a green cabbage. This enhances the claims to health benefits such as dietary antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients. Fermenting these (and adding a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to potentially further enhance them) make these nutrients a powerful mix of goodness and healing for the body.
Here is the recipe with directions and I have photos to follow
- 1/2 head of red cabbage thinly sliced
- 1/2 head of white cabbage thinly sliced
- 1-2% of cabbage weight in sea salt/ pink Himalayan salt (I generally use 1.5% weight)
- Mason Jar (or litre jar)
- Jar which will fit into the mouth of the mason jar or
- A ceramic crock/ glass fido jar with a wide opening with a plate on top to weigh down the cabbage
- Try and retain one of the outside leaves of the cabbage for later, cut out heart of cabbage
- Weigh the cabbage and times the weight by 0.015 to find out 1.5%. Weigh out that amount in salt.
- Thinly slice your cabbage.
- Add the thinly sliced cabbage to a non reactive bowl (plastic, glass, stainless steel or ceramic).
- Add the salt and get your hands in there to massage and work in the salt. The cabbage will quickly become softer and wilted. You will start to see water collecting in the bottom of the bowl.
- Add to the mason jar/ceramic crock pushing the cabbage down with a wooden spoon, potato masher or your other jar. You can also just use your fingers. You will notice the brine being created and rising up to the top of the cabbage.
- When all the cabbage is in the jar then you place the retained cabbage leaf on the top- this will ensure all the stray bits remain under the brine. Push the smaller jar down and weigh down with either ceramic baking beads, marbles or rocks. 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.
- Leave for 1 week 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!
- Ensure that the cabbage stays under the brine to reduce mold and mildew growth.
Here are the baking beads I use to weigh down the smaller jar
Here is the jar set up again-underneath the jar you can see the whole leaf of cabbage to keep the little bits under the brine.
Thank you to here for the tip about the whole leaf of cabbage. Once the fermentation has been going a few days I will remove the second jar and put a lid on the jar.
If you use a lid be aware you need to release the build up of carbon dioxide which is a product of all fermentation. Depending on the speed of fermentation (which as mentioned before- depends on the temperature and humidity levels in your fermentation spot) this may be daily.
I will post below what it looks like over the next few days and weeks.
Isn’t it pretty!
To make things easier for you, here is my pdf printable notes for you to make it at home! Let me know what you flavour yours with…
If you love fermenting come and check out my collection of inspiration from around the web. Full of drinks, foods and everything bacteria! Let me know if you would like to be a contributor.
I have made countless batchs of this home-made toothpaste now. I started making it because buying fluoride , paraben and other nasty free toothpaste is difficult over here (I bought Aloedent in the UK) and really really expensive. Store bought toothpaste and mouth wash will kill even the good germs and enzymes in your mouth. Making your own is easy. I have to say my teeth definitely feel different and I can see my gums improving. I have very fine chips on the back of my two front teeth I was starting to worry about (it was a ‘Hey Big Spender moment swinging a caribou on a string at Drama School- another story!) They were starting to feel very thin- It feels completely different and the best way to describe it is stronger. 3 weeks on and I can hand on heart say I love this tooth paste!
My 3 year old was also spending a lot of time eating and sucking the toothbrush- now she just gets in there and cleans and spits which makes me happier. She also only complains about it to her Dad who also is wary of it- she just sees me get on with it- and there is no alternative which is sometimes a brilliant way to get kids to just get on with it!! Now she loves it and helps me makes it. Better yet I have no worries giving it to my 15 month old as he is at sucking toothbrush stage now!
I took my inspiration from these blogs;
In a glass Jar
2tbs baking powder (aluminium free)
1tsp salt (I use Pink Himalayan Salt)
8 drops Raspberry Medicine Flowers
10 drops of Mint Medicine Flowers
2tbs Coconut oil
Mix it all together (adding the coconut oil right at the end)with a chopstick and put the lid on the jar!
Done and it lasts ages! (beware it is grey if you use the cal/mag powder) It also leaves a really nice clean and minty taste behind!
I also love oil pulling instead of mouthwash and flossing.
Enjoy- let me know how you get on…