The bottom shelf in one of my kitchen cupboards has been home to bottles of fermenting foods since I first got started with some sauerkraut after getting fired up by Nicola Reilly’s fermenting workshop at Tauranga’s Smoothie Club about a month ago.
That simple sauerkraut recipe has proved to be a total winner every time. My batches have come up tangy and simply delicious. I’ve been eating a lot of the stuff, but not as much as I’ve been packing in the kimchi (recipe here). My second batch of kimchi was amazing. I made it using a sweet red organic cabbage, and after ten days or so, when I opened the lid of the bottle, it bubbled and hissed for ages. And the taste? Oh man, so good, just filled with a sharp, tangy bite that’s addictive in a good way. The next batch got a lot more chili just to make sure that there’s an edge in there – it seems that the fermentation process cuts back on the energy of the chilies.
I’ve started eating it as a side to most meals, sometimes with some of Be Nourished’s sauerkraut or kimchi if there’s any in the fridge, but always with some crisp pickles and olives, or even a few slices of raw onion to add an extra kick.
The good news is that there seems to be no issue with eating about half a jar of kimchi a day. In fact, the only hassle I’ve got is that my energy levels are even more sky-high than usual, which isn’t a bad thing unless you’re trying to get a lot of writing done while your body and mind are saying “Go to gym, go for a ride, in fact ride to the gym and then ride past the organic shop on the way home”.
An interesting aside is that I seem to be eating less than I usually do. Theoretically I’m getting no more probiotic goodness than I was when I was drinking kefir and kombucha every day but there might just be something happening here that I’m not quite following in terms of the way the bacteria in the fermented cabbage is affecting my gut. I’m still something of a hungry, hungry hippo but I’ve noticed that my meals are smaller than they were a month or so back despite the fact that I’m doing as much, if not more exercise.
I have to say that even if there were no health benefits to fermented foods, I’d still be making and eating this stuff because it’s just so tasty. If you haven’t introduced sauerkraut and kimchi to your diet, I’d urge you to give it a shot. Making the sauerkraut takes about 10 minutes, the kimchi only a little longer because you need to cut up more veggies, and the cost is nominal – my last batch involved half a cabbage, two carrots, an onion and two golden beetroot, along with a chili or two and a nub of ginger (all organic of course). Total cost for three big jars must have been no more than five or six dollars all up, and it’ll last for at least ten days. It’s hard to beat that.