The Miracle of Controlled Spoilage (or, the art of live foods)

Fermentation. That, of course, is what the title of this post is referring to. Every culture has their versions, and things you may not think of as fermented are in fact just that…beer, bread, yogurt, sour cream, buttermilk, wine, and of course all sorts of  vegetable pickles. My favorite is kim-chi, or Korean style sauerkraut. Fermented products are very healthy and easy to make…the most difficult thing, I think, is the wait; they can’t be rushed. The recipe for the above pictured kim-chi is listed below, and if you’d like to see it being made, click here. To read more about the history and health benefits of these incredible foods–with plenty of recipes–click here. And if you are interested a book on all things fermented, I recommend this book.
Kim Chi
(Korean-Style Sauerkraut) 

1 head Napa cabbage, cut into two-inch pieces
1 small daikon, grated
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small piece ginger, minced
1 small onion, minced
2 tablespoons chili paste
1 tablespoon sugar

Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl. Transfer to a container that is wide enough to fit a few small plates inside it. Press the cabbage down and weight it with plates. Cover the container and leave at room temperature. After a day it should release enough liquid that it is submerged, if not, add a little salted water. After about 2 days small bubbles will appear, after about a week or so it will smell and taste distinctively sour. Taste it as often as you like and when the flavor is to your liking transfer the container to the refrigerator to slow its fermentation.

2 thoughts on “The Miracle of Controlled Spoilage (or, the art of live foods)

  1. Is it absolutely necessary to use napa cabbage when doing Kim Chi? We have wanted to try this but it’s easier to get regular old cabbage. Do you know the difference? Does it matter? Can you play with ingredients? 🙂 Thanks for the post!

    1. VG…it’s totally fine to switch cabbages or add or subtract whatever vegetables you want to use, they will all ferment and be wonderfully tasty and nutritious. Let me know the outcome.

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