One of my dreams as I continue my schooling in Nutritional Therapy is to make healthy food accessible to all, no matter what income. This is really tough because the government subsidizes corn and soy, so they are unrealistically cheap. This ends up being what most low income families eat, and it's not just corn and soy in their whole forms, it's corn used as high fructose corn syrup in EVERYTHING, it's what they feed animals so that our meat is made of it, it's even in fertilizers and pesticides that are used on vegetables and fruit. You really can't get away from it, especially if it's all you can afford.
This is what I LOVE about fermented foods. You are taking regular vegetables and you are giving them an added boost of nutrition/probiotics just by letting them ferment in their own juices, it doesn't cost any extra money! Of course the taste can take some getting used to, that's why I love Kimchi!
I'll definitely eat sauerkraut, but Kimchi is like sauerkraut with a kick! So you if you like spicy, like me, you'll want to make some of this.
1 Head of Green Cabbage or 2 heads of Napa Cabbage
3 Large Carrots
1 Large Daikon Radish
1 Large Red Onion
1 Stick of Burdock
1/4 pound Ginger
1/4 pound Tumeric
3 small med/spicy Chili Peppers
10 Cloves Garlic
2 Tablespoons Fish Sauce (Red Boat)
3/4 Cup Celtic Sea Salt
(Some people add sugar to their Kimchi, I always try and opt out of sugar but if you wanted it you could add 2 tablespoons)
Health Benefits: It's packed full of vitamins, minerals and healthy bacteria/probiotics as well as aids in digestion. If that's not enough…here's A LOT more:
Cabbage: Helps your body get rid of waste, cancer prevention, polyphenols that are anti-inflammatory, helps heal stomach ulcers, cardiovascular support, etc.
Carrots: Orange and yellow foods are known to have the best protection agains Cardiovascular Disease, the rich carotenoids prevent oxidative damage, antioxidants like Vitamin C, cancer prevention; specifically colon cancer.
Red Onion: High in Polyphenols (ex. Flavonoids), Quercetin is one flavonoid known for it's histamine reduction in allergies, also cancer protection especially oral and esophagus cancers, sulfur compounds in onions can help detox the body and contribute to it's anti-clotting abilities and connective tissue support, helps with bone density and is great for women going through menopause, the sulfur compounds are also anti-inflammatory.
Burdock: Stimulates the growth of Bifidobacteria in the large intestine, these microbes help destroy bad bacteria, enhance digestion and immunity, has almost as much potassium as bananas (but haven't been bred as heavily as bananas!) which is helpful for heart function and muscle contraction, potassium and salt are needed in balance with each other, it is very high in B6 which helps your nervous system, normal brain function, hormone production and heart disease prevention, it also contains many other beneficial vitamins and minerals.
Ginger: Hailed for it's aid in digestion and gastrointestinal conditions, anti-inflammatory, can be used for motion sickness, nausea, vomiting, and cold sweating, prevents tumor growth (anti-tumor, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory), studies have shown it can cause the death of cells in ovarian cancer, and of course overall immune boosting abilities.
Tumeric: A powerful medicine who's list of healing properties is long, a potent anti-inflammatory, effective treatments for inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis and Crohn's, has anti-oxidants that neutralize free-radicals, there has been a lot of study on it's effect in Cystic Fibrosis but doctors caution to not self medication until the correct dose is analyzed, been connected to lower rates of all kinds of cancers, improved liver function, cardiovascular disease prevention, protects against neurodegenerative diseases like alzheimer's.
Chili Peppers: Capsaicin, the component that makes them hot, is known to inhibit a brain pain transmitter, so it can be helpful in migraines and sinus headaches, this is also helpful for clearing mucus and in chronic sinus congestion, apparently this same component drives prostate cancer cells to kill themselves, natural high in vitamin A, C and also bioflavonoids, they help strengthen our blood vessels and cause us to sweat which reliefs high blood pressure, it is also anti-inflammatory.
Garlic: You can increase the health benefits of garlic by letting it sit for a bit after chopping and before cooking, it is high in sulfur which has an array of benefits including: iron metabolism and cardiovascular health, it's anti-inflammatory, and can actually regulate the amount of fat cells that get formed in our body, high amounts of B6, manganese, Vitamin C and selenium, it's anti-bacterial and anti-viral, and also cancer prevention.
Fish Sauce: Made with anchovies which are: high in Omega-3 fatty acids which can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, high in phosphorus and magnesium which are both helpful in bone health, and high in iron.
Celtic Sea Salt: Provides an abundance of minerals and trace minerals, magnesium is extremely high in celtic sea salt and is also a mineral many people are deficient in, contrary to popular belief, low salt diets are not healthy, table/refined salt is what causes the problems, true sea salts that are left in their natural state are insanely important for our bodies to consume daily, the absorption of nutrients in other foods is dependent on good salt intake, magnesium salts stimulate white blood cell activity, can help heal serious diseases like enlarged prostate, for dissolving kidney stones, and arresting some forms of cancer.
If all of that doesn't convince you to make Kimchi I don't know what will!
So lets make some Kimchi!
Start with the Cabbage and chop it up in relatively small pieces, put it in a large bowl and cover with warm water, mix the Celtic Sea Salt in. Take the Ginger, Tumeric and Chili Peppers slice them into chunks, place in food processor with the Fish Sauce and puree till it's a paste. Chop up the other veggies, Carrots are nice in little strips, the Radish I sliced with a mandolin but chopping this into circles or whatever you like is fine. I have texture preferences. Burdock should be grated and Onion can be sliced thinly and chopped how you like. Strain the Cabbage and combine with other the other veggies, it's easiest to do this in smaller batches unless you have a massive bowl. Now add in the paste and make sure you get good coverage on all the veggies. Put everything into a crock or a large jar (or a few smaller jars if that's what you've got) and mash until the juices start coming out, you are basically breaking the cell membranes so the water is release, you want to do this until you've got enough to cover the veggies. Use a crock weight or plate to keep the contents below the waterline, if using jars you can close the lid but you'll need it to be loose. If you have an airlock even better! Allow the Kimchi to sit for a week, taste it at this point and if it needs more fermentation or is not soft enough you can let it sit for longer. After it's fermented to your liking put it in the fridge where it should keep for at least 6 months! Hopefully it doesn't take you that long to eat it! I know mine will be gone in a week.
Bailey Patrice & Jonathan David