I’ve been making my own kimchee for a few of years now. (I’ve gotten used to the smell that comes out of the kitchen for a week during this process. LOL ). It’s really easy and so incredibly good for you. And did I mention delicious?
The reason this food is so healthy for you comes down to one word, fermentation. In a world where everyone is trying to fight bacteria and sanitize our hands to death we forget one very important thing. Good bacteria, like the kind you find in fermented foods is essential to our digestive system and our heath. Eating processed foods, taking antibiotics and excessively cleaning our hands and homes with antibacterial soap changes your intestinal microflora, which weakens your immune system. Eating fermented foods introduces probiotics (microorganisms made up of bacteria and yeast) back into your gut.
The power of fermented foods –
- Pre-digests food allowing your body to absorb all available nutrients
- Can help remove toxins from foods
- Creates probiotics that contain high levels of B vitamins
- Strengthens your immune system
- Fights inflammation
- Helps you maintain a healthy digestive system
- 1 each Organic Napa cabbage outer floppy leaves removed, cut into 1 in" pieces
- 3 each Organic carrots peeled & sliced thin
- 1 each Organic Daikon radish peeled & sliced thin
- 2 quarts Water
- 1/2 cup Kosher salt
- 1 bunch Organic scallions
- 10 cloves Organic garlic peeled
- 1 - 3 " piece Organic ginger peeled
- 5 1/2 Tablespoon Korean chili flakes Gochugaru
- 2 Tablespoon Fish sauce
- 2 Tablespoon Soy sauce
- Fill up a large ceramic crock with 1 gallon water and 1/2 cup kosher salt. Stir to dissolve. **You can use a glass container if you don't have ceramic.
- Add cabbage, carrots, daikon and half of the scallions, chopped, to the brine solution. Weigh down with weights or a plate so that the vegetables stay completely under the brine. Let sit at room temperature overnight.
- The next day drain the vegetables reserving a cup of brine.
- In a food processor puree the other half of the scallions, garlic, ginger, Korean chili flakes, soy sauce and fish sauce to create a paste.
- Mix the paste thoroughly with the vegetables (use gloves if you have them to protect yourself from the heat) and pack firmly back into your ceramic (or glass) crock. The brine will start oozing back out of the vegetables (this may start right away or later). Weigh down the vegetables so that they stay under the brine like you did before. Cover with lid or cheesecloth. (The next day if there is not enough brine covering the vegetables you can add your reserved brine.
- Store at room temperature for 1 week.
- After a week transfer kimchee to glass jars and store in the refrigerator. Because of the preservation method of fermenting the kimchee it won't go bad, it just keeps getting more sour the longer you store it!
Sarah Burchard is the author of The Healthy Locavore, a natural foods chef and experience host whose writing focuses on cooking, holistic health, supporting community and eating locally grown and made foods.