Making Kimchi

What do farmers do in the winter?  Well, we take care of our animals, haul wood and make Kimchi.  Kimchi is a Korean form of sauerkraut.  It’s a lacto-fermentation process that enlivens vegetables and preserves them.  Lactic acid is a natural preservative, that enhances digestibility and increases vitamin levels.  It also tastes great.

Kimchi

1 head napa cabbage, cored and shredded (although I’m using regular purple cabbage and green cabbage works great too)

1 bunch green onions, chopped (I used regular onions)

1 cup carrots, grated

1/2 cup daikon radish, grated-optional (I left it out because I didn’t have any)

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger (a must!)

3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1/2 teaspoon dried chile flakes (I didn’t have any and left it out)

1 tablespoon sea salt or pickling salt

4 tablespoons whey (you can use the water that separates from yogurt or use an additional 1 tablespoon salt)

Place vegetables and sea salt in a bowl and pound with a wooden pounder or meat hammer to release juices.  Place in a crock or a quart-sized, wide mouth mason jar and press down firmly with pounder until juices come to the top of the cabbage.  The top of the vegetables should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar.  Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 3 days before transferring to cold storage.  Flavor will increase with time.

Sauerkraut owes its reputation in part to the famous navigators of past centuries.  For his second round-the-world voyage, Captain Cook loaded 60 barrels of sauerkraut onto his ship.  After 27 months at sea, 15 days before returning to England, he opened the last barrel and offered some sauerkraut to some Portuguese noblemen who had come on board… they carried off the rest of the barrel to give to their friends.  This last barrel was perfectly preserved after 27 months, in spite of changes in climate and the incessant rocking of the ship.  The sauerkraut had also preserved sufficient quantities of vitamin C to protect the entire crew from scurvy.  Not one case occurred during the long voyage even though this disease usually decimated crews on voyages of this length. -Sally Fallon- Nourishing Traditions