Fermenting food is one of the oldest forms of food preparation and preservation. Refrigeration is realtively recent, and humans have been using other methods of preserving foods for thousands of years to ensure adequate supply of food during the long winter when they would not be able to harvest.
Fermentation is not only used as food preservatition but also it turns food into enzymes and probiotics that have a huge spectrum of benfits to our heath. It helps our digestion, brain, mood, immune system, it detoxifies, help increase alkalinity in the body by re-establishing pH levels, etc. One of my favorite fermented dishes is the Korean Kimchi. Colorful, heathy and delicious.
- Cabbage - 1/2 head
- 1 carrot julienned
- 1 bell pepper
- 1/2 cup bell pepper
- 1 tablespoon of fresh garlic
- 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon of (green) onion
- Dried chilli flakes as preferred
- 2 teaspoons agave
- 1 teaspoon salt
1. Wash the cabbage leaves and cut them into desired size and shape. Sprinkle them with salt, massage the salt into the leaves. This will help cabbage release the water that will from brine, essential for your fermentation process. While cabbage sits, prepare the seasoning plate.
2. Seasoning paste is made of ingredients: bell pepper, garlic, onion, ginger, chilli flakes and some salt. I use a small food processor, but you can use a mortar and pestle, if preferred.
3. Hands must be clean, washed or wearing gloves, rub the seasoning paste evenly into the cabbage leaves. Salt will draw even more moisture out of the leaves and create brine.
4. Once cabbage is covered with paste, and a good amount of water has been released, the remianing vegetables can be added and combined. Place them in a jar, press them with your clean hands down, as this will also release some more water. Transfer any liquid that has been released during the process inot the jar, as this is the kimchi brine. The brine should cover the cabbage completely.
5. Leave some room at the top of the jar before closing it tightly with a lid, as your Kimchi will expand and the gas will build up as it ferments. The fermentation will take up to 2-3 days at the room temperature, not the fridge, as the refrigerator will stall the growth of good bacteria and fermentation. Make sure you open at least once a day your jar and allow your Kimchi to burp the built up gas and do its work.
6. Once your Kimchi is ready, you can store it in the fridge. The fermentation process will continue slowly, becoming more sour and flavorful. Always make sure to use clean utensils when taking your Kimchi.
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