Lacto Fermentation of Vegetables-Kimchi, by Rasamasa
Recipe by Callie, Rasamasa
While lacto-fermentation is a common and traditional form of pickling and preserving vegetables, it is not the same thing as canning and is not used for long-term preservation.
The lacto-fermentation process works because of the fact that bacteria that could be harmful to us can't tolerate much salt, while healthy bacteria can. Lacto-fermentation keeps out the bad bacteria in its first stage, then lets the good bacteria get to work during stage two.
The salt-tolerant bacteria are called Lactobacillus. Lactobacillus bacteria convert sugars naturally present in fruit or vegetables into lactic acid. Lactic acid is a natural preservative that helps fight bad bacteria and preserves not only the flavour and texture of food but also its nutrients.
The benefits of eating food with live Lactobacillus bacteria include a healthier digestive system, hence healthier immune system and speedy recovery from yeast infections.
In stage one of lacto-fermentation, vegetables are submerged in a brine that is salty enough to kill off harmful bacteria. The Lactobacillus survives this stage and begin stage two.
In stage two of lacto-fermentation, the Lactobacillus organisms begin converting sugars present in the food into lactic acid. This creates an acidic environment that safely preserves the vegetables and gives lacto-fermented foods their distinctive sour flavour.
Kimchi is naturally rich in friendly bacteria for gut health.
2 kg Chinese cabbage/ radish/ kai choy
4-6 tbsp sea salt
3 stalks spring onion/ chive*
For kimchi paste (pls adjust to own taste):2 thumb size ginger
1 head garlic*
3-5 pc shallots*
1 pc kombu (soaked)
1 pc red apple
6 pcs dried apricot/ figs/ dates
4 tbsp (40g) sweet paprika powder
1 tbsp (10g) hot paprika or chili powder (adjust to own taste)
* can omit. Instead add more ginger.
- Wash & cut veggie to desired size and shape. Drip dry.
- Add salt. Let the veggie slowly dehydrate for 2- 4 hours until soft.
- Wring dry the veggie. Salt water can be used for soup and cooking.
- Put the ingredients for kimchi paste in the blender with some water from kombu water and blend into a paste. Spread the paste onto the veggie. Add the spring onion.
- Place in ceramic pot or glass bottle and close it tightly. Ferment at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. After that put in the refrigerator, the kimchi will continue to slowly ferment and become more sour.
- Old kimchi when become too sour can be mixed with sauce (tahini, miso, sesame oil, sesame seeds) or use to cook kimchi soup. There is no more probiotics in kimchi when heated.
** For white kimchi, just omit sweet and hot paprika.