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How to Make Homemade Kimchi

Kimchi at 1840 FarmI don’t remember when or where I first tasted kimchi.  I do remember how taken I was with the flavor.  As a person who loves sauerkraut and spice, kimchi was the perfect marriage of the flavor and texture that I so enjoy.

The flavors were so interesting and complex that I assumed that making kimchi would be a time-consuming and difficult process.  Then Sasquatch Books sent me a copy of their new cookbook Fresh & Fermented by the founders of Firefly Kitchens.  The book is beautiful and contains a recipe for their famous Firefly Kimchi.  I read the recipe and was surprised to learn that making kimchi was no more complicated than sauerkraut.

In the past few months, we have been making a lot of sauerkraut.  You could easily say that I have a new found obsession with fermentation.  I have been adding our Classic Sauerkraut to everything and making a fresh batch each week to ensure that we always have a steady supply of its bright, crisp flavor in the refrigerator and fermenting away in the pantry.

Fresh and Fermented CookbookAfter making several successful batches of sauerkraut, I felt like I could attempt a batch of kimchi using the recipe in Fresh & Fermented.  The instructions were simple and the method was the same as those required for sauerkraut.  Suddenly, I believed that I might be able to make my own kimchi right here in our farmhouse kitchen.

 I mixed up a batch following the recipe to the letter.  I secured the mixture using my Kraut Source lid system and set it aside to ferment for a few days.  Five days later, I removed the lid to taste our creation.  It was fantastic and every bit as delicious as the kimchi I had first tasted and fallen in love with.

I have made a few minor changes to the recipe since then.  Through a little experimentation, I have discovered that I prefer to use a combination of green cabbage and Napa cabbage.  Using equal parts of the two different types of cabbage results in a kimchi with a lovely combination of textures that I enjoy.  I also love the zing of the fresh ginger, so I triple the amount of minced ginger called for in the original recipe.

This recipe is very adaptable, allowing you to make changes to the seasonings in order to suit your taste.  As long as the ratio of cabbage to salt is constant and the vegetables are kept under the brine as they ferment, the results will be delicious every time.

This kimchi is so delicious that it has inspired me to create meals around it.  Just last week, we enjoyed burgers topped with kimchi and a fresh quick pickle.  That dinner was preceded by an evening’s dinner of dumpling soup filled with delicious fresh vegetables, brimming with flavor, and topped, of course, with our homemade kimchi.

Dumpling Soup with Kimchi at 1840 Farm    Burger topped with Kimchi and Pickles at 1840 Farm

Sriracha Seasoning BlendMy recipe uses one pound of green cabbage along with one pound of Napa cabbage.  I find that a half of a large head of green cabbage and one head of Napa cabbage usually delivers the amount I need.  I experimented with several different types of red pepper and red pepper blends when fine tuning this recipe.  My favorite was a McCormick Gourmet Sriracha Seasoning Blend that I found at our local grocery store.  You can certainly use all of one type of cabbage or a different red pepper to make your kimchi.

I use the remaining green cabbage along with a small head of cabbage to make another batch of sauerkraut.  Yes, I’ve become the person who routinely adds three heads of cabbage to my cart at the grocery store!

I hope that you’ll join me in making your own homemade kimchi.  In minutes, you will have a batch fermenting in your kitchen.  In mere days, you’ll be ready to taste your homemade kimchi.  I’m willing to bet that you’ll take the first bite and wonder why you hadn’t made your own kimchi sooner!

Kimchi
adapted from Firefly Kimchi from Fresh & FermentedIngredients for Kimchi at 1840 Farm

Lacto-fermentation takes advantage of the beneficial bacteria (including Lactobacillus) that are naturally present on the surface of fruits and vegetables. When held at room temperature and submerged in brine, these healthy bacteria convert the natural sugars in the  fruits and vegetables into lactic acid. The lactic acid will naturally preserve the kimchi and inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria.

Much like canning, fermentation requires clean tools and surfaces to safeguard against potentially unsafe bacteria. Simply washing all the tools and equipment along with your hands with soap and hot water before beginning the recipe is sufficient. This will ensure that you have begun the process with the clean environment necessary for successful and safe fermentation.

2 pounds cabbage (I like to use one pound of green cabbage and one pound of Napa cabbage)
1 Tablespoon (15 ml) sea salt
2 green onions, trimmed and sliced thinly
1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced
2 teaspoons McCormick Gourmet Sriracha Blend Seasoning (or cayenne red pepper)
brine as needed (1 teaspoon sea salt dissolved in 1 cup cold, filtered water)

Quart-size Mason jar
Kraut Source Unit or Mason Jar Lid

Rinse the cabbage in cold water. Quarter each cabbage and remove the core before finely shredding. Place the two pounds of shredded cabbage in a large bowl. Add the sea salt, tossing to evenly distribute. Allow the cabbage and salt to rest for 20 minutes.  This rest will allow the salt to begin to draw the moisture out of the cabbage.

Massage the sea salt vigorously into the cabbage for about 5 minutes. Working the sea salt with the shredded cabbage will help to draw more liquid out of the cabbage and begin the process of breaking down the fibrous nature of the cabbage.  As you are working the cabbage, it will begin to shrink and release more of its liquid.  At the end of the 5 minutes, mix in the onions, ginger, garlic, and red pepper to the cabbage, stirring to work them into the cabbage mixture.

KrautSourcePack the cabbage into a clean quart-size, wide mouth Mason jar. Use a pounder or wooden spoon to really press down and pack the cabbage in to remove any air pockets . The top of the mixture should be even to the shoulder of the jar. If there isn’t enough liquid to cover the cabbage by one inch, add enough brine to cover.

Secure your Kraut Source unit or lid on the jar. Take care not to tighten the lid too tightly. As the cabbage ferments, carbon dioxide will be released. If the carbon dioxide is not allowed to safely escape the jar, it can cause the jar to break or the lid to be forced off of the jar.

The innovative Kraut Source unit contains a spring and a press to hold the cabbage underneath the surface of the liquid while allowing the carbon dioxide to escape. If you are using a standard lid, a piece of the cabbage’s core or a small weight can be used to keep the sliced cabbage below the liquid .

The lid can be removed every few days and replaced to adequately vent the excess carbon dioxide. During fermentation, the cabbage must be completely submerged in the liquid to prevent spoilage. Additional brine can be added as needed to completely cover the submerged cabbage.

Allow the kimchi to ferment at room temperature out of direct sunlight for 5-7 days or until it develops the desired flavor. After 5 days, begin tasting the kimchi every few days to determine if the flavor is to your liking. When the taste is agreeable, transfer the covered jar to the refrigerator. Any lid, weight, or cabbage core used to keep the kimchi submerged can be removed and discarded at this point.  Kimchi can be stored in the refrigerator for up to six months.

How to Make Homemade Kimchi at 1840 Farm


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Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2015/04/kimchi/

Classic Sauerkraut

Classic Sauerkraut at 1840 FarmI enjoy the tangy flavor of sauerkraut paired with many dishes and also served on its own. For years, we have been purchasing a local kraut. Each time we served it at our family table, I wondered if we could make a homemade version.

The process of fermentation seemed a bit daunting. The recipes all made the technique seem so simple that I doubted it would be so easy. A few weeks ago, I finally decided to take the plunge and try it for myself.

As I searched for a foolproof recipe and advice to ensure success, I discovered Kraut Source’s blog and innovative lid system. They were kind enough to lead me through the process of making our first batch of kraut step by step. They shared their recipe for classic sauerkraut which I adapted further to include only three ingredients: green cabbage, sea salt, and filtered water.

After a week’s time on the kitchen counter, the humble shredded cabbage my daughter and I had packed so tightly into the Mason jar had been transformed into a delicious, tangy sauerkraut. I was equally amazed at how simple it had been to make and how amazingly flavorful it was. It was so delicious that weKrautSource made a second batch, doubling the recipe to ensure that we never run out of this delicious, homemade classic sauerkraut.

With gardening season fast approaching, we’ll be planting a few heirloom cabbage varieties so that we can make our own kraut using cabbage fresh from our organic garden. We hope that you’ll join in and try your hand at fermenting a batch of sauerkraut using the classic recipe adapted from Kraut Source below.

Visit Kraut Source’s blog, Facebook page, and Instagram feed to learn more about the art of creating cultured and fermented foods in your kitchen. They fill my newsfeed with a steady stream of delicious recipes and helpful tips. I know that you’ll enjoy following them as much as I do!

Classic Sauerkraut
adapted from Kraut Source’s Classic Sauerkraut Recipe

Shredded Cabbage for Sauerkraut

Lacto-fermentation takes advantage of the beneficial bacteria (including Lactobacillus) that are naturally present on the surface of fruits and vegetables including the cabbage called for in this recipe. When held at room temperature and submerged in brine, these healthy bacteria convert the natural sugars in the cabbage into lactic acid. The lactic acid will naturally preserve the kraut and inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria.

Much like canning, fermentation requires clean tools and surfaces to safeguard against potentially unsafe bacteria. Simply washing all the tools and equipment and your hands with soap and hot water before beginning the recipe is sufficient. This will ensure that you have begun the process with the clean environment necessary for successful and safe fermentation.

1 1/2 pounds (675 g) green cabbage
1 Tablespoon (15 ml) sea salt
brine as needed (1 teaspoon sea salt dissolved in 1 cup cold, filtered water)

Quart-size Mason jar
Kraut Source Unit or Mason Jar Lid

Rinse the head of cabbage in cold water. Quarter the cabbage, removing the core before finely shredding each quarter. Place shredded cabbage in a large bowl. Add the sea salt, tossing to evenly distribute. Allow the cabbage and salt to rest for 10 minutes.

Massage the sea salt vigorously into the cabbage for about 5 to 10 minutes. Working the sea salt with the shredded cabbage will help to draw liquid out of the cabbage and begin the process of breaking down the fibrous nature of the cabbage.

Packing SauerkrautIf you have time, allow the massaged cabbage to rest in the bowl as the salt will draw out liquid. If you do not have time to wait, simply pack the cabbage into a quart-size, wide mouth Mason jar. Use a pounder or wooden spoon to really press down and pack the cabbage in . The top of the cabbage should be even to the shoulder of the jar. If there isn’t enough liquid to cover the cabbage by one inch, add enough brine to cover.

Secure your Kraut Source unit or lid on the jar. Take care not to tighten the lid too tightly. As the cabbage ferments, carbon dioxide will be released. If the carbon dioxide is not allowed to safely escape the jar, it can cause the jar to break or the lid to be forced off of the jar.

The innovative Kraut Source unit contains a spring and a press to hold the cabbage underneath the surface of the liquid while allowing the carbon dioxide to escape. If you are using a standard lid, a piece of the cabbage’s core or a small weight can be used to keep the sliced cabbage below the liquid .

The lid can be removed every few days and replaced to adequately vent the excess carbon dioxide. During fermentation, the cabbage must be completely submerged in the liquid to prevent spoilage. Additional brine can be added as needed to completely cover the submerged cabbage.

Allow the kraut to ferment at room temperature for 5-7 days or several weeks to develop the desired flavor. After 5 days, begin tasting the kraut every few days to determine if the flavor is to your liking. When the taste is agreeable, transfer the kraut to the refrigerator. Any weight or cabbage core used to keep the kraut submerged can be removed at this point.

We find ourselves enjoying this homemade sauerkraut on top of nearly every sandwich or alongside most main courses.  We love to enjoy a side of it with our Beer and Brown Sugar Braised Pork Roast and Cast Iron Skillet Pork and Potato Hash.

2015_Spring_Post_FOOD

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2015/04/classic-sauerkraut/

Book Review: The Nourished Kitchen

The Nourished Kitchen by Jennifer McGrutherI first became aware of The Nourished Kitchen and its author Jennifer McGruther through their blog.  As a student in the Intermediate Herbal Course offered by The Herbal Academy of New England, I was searching for a few new recipes to try.  One of the first I discovered was a recipe for Golden Milk that included turmeric and ginger.  I couldn’t wait to give it a try, but somehow the recipe ended up in a deep pile of recipes I was hoping to get to.

I had almost forgotten about  the recipe when a beautiful cookbook and a bag of organic turmeric arrived on our front porch on the same day.  Suddenly, making golden milk rocketed right to the top of my  recipe to do list. I’m so glad that it did.  I have been enjoying Golden Milk with Turmeric, Ginger, and Ghee on chilly mornings and afternoons this fall.  With each sip, I am surprised by the amount of flavor that these humble ingredients create when used together.

While the recipe for golden milk does not appear in The Nourished Kitchen’s cookbook, there are over 160 detailed recipes.  The photos are stunning from the front cover all the way through to the glossary.  In addition to the innovative recipes and beautiful photographs, I was taken with Jennifer McGruther’s food philosophy.  She refers to it as the “traditional foods movement” and makes the case for reducing the amount of processed food in our diet while choosing whole foods in the form of pasture raised meats, dairy, grains, and fermented foods.

The Nourished Kitchen includes recipes for each season of the year and a variety of sources from the garden to the wild, pasture, orchard, and larder.  There are dozens of recipes that I can’t wait to try.  From the Eggs Poached in Fiery Tomato Sauce, to Pan Seared Halibut with Melted Cherry Tomatoes and Tarragon.  I have the recipe for Cucumber Salad with Dill and Kefir bookmarked for next summer when our heirloom cucumber harvest is at its peak.

The cookbook also includes extensive instructions for making sourdough breads using a homemade starter.  The chapter entitled “From the Wild” includes proteins prized by hunters along with greens and mushrooms sought after by foragers. Produce fresh from the orchard serves as the inspiration for a collection of pies, stewed fruits, custards, and ice creams.

The chapter on the larder could keep me busy all year long.  I can’t decide which of the fermented recipes to attempt first.  I’m taken with the recipes for pickles, sauerkraut, water kefir, and ginger beer.  I’m willing to bet that I won’t be able to go wrong with any of them.  Don’t worry, I’ll share my progress with you right here on our blog and on Facebook and Instagram!

 


The product reviewed in this post was sent to me free of charge by the Blogging for Books Program in order to allow me to evaluate its use here at 1840 Farm. The book that I reviewed was sent to me at no expense in order to allow me to evaluate it. The framework of our review process does not guarantee a positive review in exchange for the product provided. Our product reviews contain both facts about the product and my personal opinion of its performance while it was used at 1840 Farm.

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Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2014/11/book-review-the-nourished-kitchen/