There is always something brewing in my kitchen. This week it is Kimchi, pickles, grape leaves, and a catmint (not catnip) tincture. There was also a pot of tea but I omitted it from the photo.
If you haven’t tried fermented Kimchi I am here to encourage you. When you make it you can control the level of heat that you put into it. I like it mildly hot but one daughter likes it best without the heat so I make it mild and then sprinkle on extra cayenne pepper when I want it.
Kimchi is made out of a nappa cabbage, a head of bok choy, a small daikon radish (but you can use regular salad radishes), 3 or 4 scallions, a 2 inch chunk of ginger root peeled and grated, 2 or 3 cloves of garlic. Oh yes, and I add 2-3 carrots!! You can omit any of these ingredients but for the best tasting Kimchi use them all. And if you like hot food add in some dried hot peppers, and if you don’t like hot food skip them completely. Kimchi is just as good without the heat.
I chop my nappa cabbage and bok choy up coarsely. Small enough that it will pack in jars comfortably but not shredded like for sauerkraut. After I get every thing chopped up I add 1 TBSP of sea salt (sometimes more if the heads of cabbage and bok choy were large) and 4-6 TBSP of kefir or yogurt whey. And before I stir it all up I take my paparika shaker and give it all a generous sprinkling of paparika. This will give the Kimchi that good red color and enhances the flavor.
After I get everything in the bowl, I toss it all together and allow the bowl to set for an hour or so. This is not necessary but I have found allowing my kraut and kimchi to sit in the bowl for a little while helps the packing process. The salt begins the break down process which makes for easier transfer from bowl to jars.
I pack the Kimchi into the jars, packing the ingredients down with a wooden spoon until the juice rises above the contents. Fill the jar giving yourself about an inch of head space. I set the jars in the little plastic boxes that mushrooms come in to catch any overflow of brine. The kimchi sets out for three days before I transfer it to the fridge.
I often eat Kimchi with a splash of Braggs Amino Acids. Out of all of the fermented foods that I make Kimchi is probably my most favorite. So if you have only made sauerkraut, you might want to give Kimchi a try!!