Fermentation has been around fooorrrevvverrr. Like, actually.. It's an ancient technique that is still working very well and being used today. You probably eat fermented food more than you think.. sourdough, cheese, cider, kombucha, yogurt, chocolate. So what exactly IS fermentation? It's a process of using yeast or bacteria to convert sugar into organic acids, gases or alcohol. And this is what gives fermented food that tangy taste and aroma.
Ps. I'm no scientist, so if you want more information on the complete break down of each kind of fermentation and how it works.. there are tons of books at the library and resources online. I'm just here simplifying it for you.
The benefits of fermented food are wild. It aids in the digestion of your food. Fermented food is also loaded with healthy bacteria that helps the balance of your gut. The beneficial compounds produced during the fermentation process can play a positive role in balanced blood health, immunity and nerve function. Mind you, this always depends on what is actually being fermented. Nonetheless, fermentation is interesting, easy and will definitely expand your palate!
Fermentation is not only great for your body, but it is an incredible, healthy way to preserve food. It increases the nutritional value of raw produce. Especially for all those gardeners and homesteaders out there, ferment your excess veg! They make great snacks, gifts, additives to dishes, and more!
My only tip for fermenting is to shop organic. Inorganic produce has been treated in a way that can hinder the fermentation process.
Sooo, what do you think? Interested? Well, if you are, we can do it together. It's a cheap and fun way to eat with tons of benefits. And, a tiny science experiment in your home is always a good time ammmiiiiright?!
Alriiiiight, here's my kimchi recipe.
Rubber gloves are optional, but recommended!
1 Napa cabbage, quartered
1/4 c salt
1 cup water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon sweet rice flour or all purpose flour
1-2 inch piece of ginger
15-20 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons fish sauce or kelp powder
2 tablespoons Gochujang paste
or, for more traditional version, 1/3 cup Korean chili flakes
1 tablespoon chili powder or paprika, omit if using Korean chili flakes
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1-2 carrot, julienned
1 daikon radish, julienned
3 green onion, sliced - optional
1. Quarter the cabbage and place in a large bowl with salt. You can cut the core out and chop the cabbage into smaller pieces or leave it whole. This is totally up to you! Massage the salt into the cabbage. Let it sit for 2 hours flipping every 30 minutes. This will release all of the moisture in the cabbage. Prepare the carrot and radish and set aside.
2. Rinse the cabbage thoroughly under cold water and let it drain while you make the paste. If you do not rinse well, your kimchi will be way too salty.
3. To make the paste, bring the water to a boil, kill the heat then add sugar + flour and mix until thickened. In a blender or food processor add ginger, onion, garlic, fish sauce, gochujang, chili powder/paprika (if using), honey, vinegar and blend. Add in the water, sugar and flour mixture and mix until a thick paste. Place the cabbage, radish and carrot together and add the paste. Using your hands, preferably with gloves, work the paste into the vegetables until they are thoroughly coated. Pack into a 1 quart jar. Once full, press down until the brine is over the top of the vegetables. Keep packing in until there's about 1 inch of head space in the jar. Seal and leave out on counter for 4-5 days. Transfer to the refrigerator. Eat right away or enjoy in a couple of weeks for ultimate flavor!