I am a big fan of all things fermented and brew my own kombucha, make coconut kefir, ferment veggies and most recently bake my own sourdough bread. That is almost like another wee family to look after, these are all living organisms and need to be fed and looked after if they are to thrive and multiply.
That is pretty much the complete spectrum of naturally fermented foods and drinks and I am sure my gut bacteria are plentiful and happy and I reap the benefits!
The wonderful thing about all these cultures is that they grow and multiply, if they are looked after correctly, so you can give some away and what a gift to give someone!
I have shared kefir grains with many people who are now happily making their own and given a few Scobys to those brave enough to brew their own kombucha! Scobys are rather horrible looking things but they make the most delicious, health affirming drink from sweetened green tea!
Happy Kombucha sell a wonderful range of all things for fermenting your own foods and drinks and I'd highly recommend them for kefir grains, scobies, equipment, bottles and everything else you need. You can find them here
I was talking at The Good Food Show last week on all things fermented and had a lot of interest in fermented veggies, the easiest to prepare yourself, since no special cultures are needed, its just sea salt, veggies and flavourings!
I had a few requests for a good Kimchi recipe, which is the Asian equivalent of sauerkraut.
Napa or Chinese Cabbage is the main ingredient which have more delicate leaves than other types of cabbage and lend themselves well to Kimchi!
Kimchi has way more flavour than sauerkraut, its spicy and delicious, flavoured with ginger, garlic and chile pepper flakes but not for the faint hearted!! You can adjust the amount of chilli if you prefer less spicy food!
Traditionally vegetables were fermented to preserve them, in the days before fridges, freezers and chemicals! Magic happens when veggies are fermented naturally, the vitamin C content shoots up markedly, beneficial bacteria are produced, gut healing compounds are formed and the immune system is given a tremendous boost!
When you compare how the food industry preserves food, it invariably involves heating to high temperatures, which kills any pathogenic bacteria but also all the beneficial ones!! Next is a wide array of chemicals, none of them with any benefit to you whatsoever and most of them are detrimental to your good gut bacteria and are linked with all sorts of allergies and health issues, so we essentially end up with a food which is less healthy than we started with!!
It just makes more sense nutritionally to go back to the way things were done traditionally when preserving foods resulted in a healthier and more nutritious product.
All we need to preserve food naturally is salt and some patience! A lot of the so called advances in food production are about speeding up natural processes since time is money and if we want cheap food, there is plenty of choice, but at what cost to our health.....?
Killing off beneficial bacteria is extremely detrimental to health, and, as mentioned previously the use of chemicals is further depleting our good gut bacteria, resulting in a huge increase in chronic disease, gut issues, digestive problems, skin problems, allergies, autoimmune diseases, cancer and pretty much every other health issue you can name!
So at Nourished by Nature, natural processes are followed, using the best quality ingredients, preferably organic, free from chemicals and using traditional health affirming methods!
For anyone seriously interested in fermenting vegetables I can highly recommend the book
Fermented Vegetables by Kirsten & Christopher Shockey.
Its a great book with recipes for Krauts, Kimchis, Chutneys & Relishes, using every vegetable imaginable!
Traditional kimchi involves an additional brining step which makes it a much longer process so I prefer this simpler but equally beneficial method. You need to use napa or chinese cabbage, not the hard white variety, which is used for sauerkraut. Try to eat a spoonful every day, its great on a wrap or sandwich or as a side to any hot dish!
It's the best form of medicine, packed with beneficial bacteria, gut healing compounds, anti inflammatory and antibacterial benefits from the ginger and garlic, tons of minerals from the seaweed and loads of vitamin C to boost the immune system!
So here is my favourite Kimchi recipe
1 head of napa or chinese cabbage, chopped
3 carrots, grated
1 large daikon radish, grated or a cup of small red radishes, finely sliced
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 cup of dulse seaweed flakes (I use Mara seaweed flakes)
1 tablespoon chile pepper flakes (or less if you prefer it less fiery!)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons good quality sea salt (himalyan salt is good)
1 teaspoon of tamari sauce (or fish sauce if you are not vegan)
1. Simply mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl and let it sit for 30 minutes.
2. Pack the mixture into a large glass mason jar or 2 smaller jars. Press it down firmly.
3. Top with a water filled ziplock bag to keep oxygen out and keep the veggies submerged under the brine.
4. Put the lid on loosely and set aside to ferment for at least 3 days. Taste it after 3 days and decide whether it tastes sour enough. Its a matter of personal taste so just keep trying it until you like it!
5. Once you are happy with the flavour you can store the kimchi in the fridge where it will keep happily for months, if it lasts that long!!
. .....your health in your hands.....
A healthy lifestyle blog with green living tips, plant-based recipes and natural health magic.