Kimchi, or kimchee, is a kind of preserve originating from what is now known as Korea in the 7th century. And it’s taken a fair while to arrive here in Cornwall! We at the Real Food Garden love it for several reasons. Firstly it’s a way to preserve our lovely veg with little else needed. Secondly it’s delicious, so ok it’s very different to what our Western pallet is used to but you’ll find you get to love it and want more and more!
The final reason is that it is super good for you. The veg is lactofermented, making it probiotic with lots of bacteria to promote a healthy digestive system. Besides that it’s full of antioxidants which help prevent many diseases as well as ageing. It also contains calcium, iron and vitamins A & C in abundance. Done properly it won’t send your salt intake sky high and you’ll be getting a good dose of a truly healing food.
To make kimchi you need to be patient to get a truly lactofermented food. The ingredients can change but it’s the process that’s key.
So here is our current, early summer recipe. We chop and change the ingredients with the season but why not try this.
- One of our gorgeous spring cabbages
- Half a bunch of radish
- A carrot
- Some broad beans (I’ve never had this in kimchi before but I can’t help but put them in everything they are so good)
- Some chard stems (yes this is for the beautiful colour effect!)
- An onion
- 3-4 cloves of garlic
- 5cm of ginger
- Chilli flakes or powder
- Cornish Sea Salt (they really should give us commission) or a high mineral rock salt but not table salt – it’s not up to scratch
- Begin by making 1 litre of brine by putting 4 tablespoons of your salt into 1 litre of water.
- Chop up the veg quite finely without being finicketty about it!
- Mix the veg and brine in a glass or ceramic bowl and leave overnight.
- The next day grate your garlic and ginger.
- Drain the veg saving the brine, the veg will taste salty but not too much. If its too salty give them a rinse.
- Mix in the garlic, ginger and chilli, wear gloves to give it a good stir by hand.
- Pack the mixture into sterilised glass jars, squishing it down to release the juices. The brine needs to rise above the vegetables so top it up with some of the brine that’s set aside if needs be.
- Weight the mix down with a clean glass jar on top or other clean weight and leave for 3-5 days.
- When it’s ready put lids on firmly and place in the fridge or a cool room.
You can eat it right away but lots of people like to leave it for a month or more to ‘ripen’.
Let us know how you get on and if you’ve tried kimchi with any of our other veggies.