A delicious jar of flavanoid and probiotic rich Kimchi!
I've been super excited to share my method for Sauerkraut, and even better in my humble opinion, KIMCHI, for quite some time... the day has finally arrived!
Personally, I consider Kimchi to be Sauerkraut's amped-up cousin. My methods for making the two are exactly the same with kimchi simply requiring a few additional veggies & spices to provide its gorgeous color and kick of hot, spicy flavor. In fact, I was fascinated to learn both Sauerkraut and Kimchi are Asian in origin. Although sauerkraut, German for "sour cabbage", is thought of as a German invention, Chinese laborers building the Great Wall over 2,000 years ago ate it regularly and it was likely brought to Europe 1000 years later by Gengis Kahn.
Kimchi - and Sauerkraut too - is low in calories, helps boost metabolism, and contains immune and digestion boosting probiotics of the order of 1000 times that of yogurt! And, the longer it ferments, the greater the health benefits become. In previous articles I've discussed the important benefits of excellent Digestion, Proper Food Combining, and a Detoxification lifestyle so we're aware of the amazing affect probiotics have on our skin, digestion and health overall. In fact, by incorporating probiotic rich foods on a daily basis such as apple cider vinegar, kimchi and sauerkraut, it's actually possible to reverse poor gut health (aka leaky gut) due to unhealthy diet, illness, or antibiotic use. While there isn't any strict amount of the foods to take daily, the more we eat, the quicker the gut will mend, as these are all boasting prebiotics, probiotics and other compounds that encourage healthy immune and gastrointestinal systems. Let's look a bit closer at why, via the benefits of Kimchi (most of which are shared by sauerkraut as well).
- Kimchi is a storehouse of vitamins including A, B1, B2 and C as well as being rich in essential amino acids and minerals such as iron, calcium, selenium. It boasts an impressive array of powerful antioxidants and provides the aforementioned benefit of probiotics in the form of lactobacillus bacteria. Kimchi contains numerous healthful components including capsaicin, chlorophyll, carotenoids, flavonoids and isothiocyanates.
- Kimchi is an excellent food to promote digestion. Its probiotics, produced during the fermentation of Kimchi, not only enhance the flavor but create the healthy bacteria, Lactobacillus, which is required by the body to maintain a healthy state of intestinal flora. The organic acid, lactobacilli, and lactic acid produced during fermentation suppress harmful bacteria and stimulate beneficial bacteria, prevent constipation, clean intestines and prevent colon cancer.
- Even prior to fermentation, the cabbage base in Kimchi is well known for its detoxification qualities and ability to aid the body in getting rid of wastes and toxins. It helps in cleaning up the intestines, stimulating better assimilation of nutrients in the body.
- Cancer: Cabbage contains healthful flavanoids which are known to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Additionally glucosinolates found in cabbage break down to form isothiocyanates which are well known for their effectiveness against cancer growth. Capsaicin, contained in the red chili pepper of Kimchi, helps reduce the chance of developing lung cancer. Allicin, a chemical contained in garlic, assists to reduce the chance of developing stomach, thyroid and liver cancer. Indole-3-Carbinol contained in cabbage helps reduce the chance of developing stomach cancer.
- Garlic and hot red chili pepper in Kimchi kill bacteria that cause gastritis, such as Helicobacter Pylori.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
While I do personally eat Kimchi or Sauerkraut almost daily, it's wise to start off with a small amount as any fermented food is highly detoxifying and a "die-off affect" can contribute even further to the toxic burden released. We never want to overwhelm our immune systems by detoxifying too fast, so it's important to implement changes and additions/subtractions to our lifestyle gradually and listen to our body along the way. That said, adding just a small amount of this exotic condiment can simply transform the flavor of anything from salads, sandwiches, wraps, tacos, rice, to a minestrone soup or a bowl of lentils... endlessly yummy applications!
Recipes for Sauerkraut and Kim-chi adapted from Turtle Lake Refuge
Recipe for Sauerkraut (makes 1/2 gallon)
- 2 green cabbages
- 2 T sea salt
- Grind the cabbage (red or green) in a food processor or chop it fine with a knife by hand.
- Once the cabbage is ground, add the salt and mix it all together well.
- Use a wooden dowel (I use the end of a French handle-free rolling pin) to pound the cabbage and salt which brings out the juices.
- Once the juices are flowing, pack tightly using a wooden dowel or clean fist to pack tightly into a 1/2 gallon jar all the way to the top.
- When the kraut is close to filling the jar, the juices should be covering the top of the kraut. It is key that the kraut is under the cabbage juices because culturing sauerkraut is due to an anaerobic (without oxygen) reaction rather than an aerobic (with oxygen) reaction.
- Place the lid on the jar not too tightly so that as it cultures, the excess juices can escape (otherwise your jar might explode). Place the jar in a pan that can catch the overflow juices.
- Cover the jar with a towel to keep it dark and let sit at room temperature for one week.
- After a week has past, there may be a bit of discoloration on the top of the kraut if all the juices overflowed out. If so, just scrape off the top and keep the lower layers.**
- Now you can refrigerate the jar or repack the kraut into smaller jars to store. We store our sauerkraut in the fridge, but it keeps in this form for months and months.
Recipe for Spicy Kimchi
- 1 green cabbage
- 1 chinese cabbage
- 2 large bunches of radishes
- 4 carrots
- 1/2 thumb size hunk ginger
- 4 scallions
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 Tbsp sea salt
- Chop all the veggies according to your preference - I like to chop the cabbage & scallions coarsly for the Kimchi - mix in the spices & salt and follow the method above.
** If you're a newbie looking for a more "fool-proof" method I recommend the Perfect Pickler which has a little vacuum seal on the top to seal out air & induce a naturally pro-biotic world. It self-pressurizes to lock out airborne microbes. I have one and I found it worked great.
Have you ever made (or considered making) your own sauerkraut?
What's your favorite recipe variation?
Thank you for visiting :)
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