Kimchi is a fermented, vegan food that packs a bit of a spicy punch and a dose of healthy probiotics. It’s often made of cabbage, red peppers, scallions, onions, carrots, garlic, and salt, but you can add other veggies and spices when making your own. By themselves, all of those spices and vegetables are certainly healthy, but their nutritional content increases when you ferment them. Kimchi is a healthy food choice that helps aid digestion and strengthen the immune system. It’s also a wonderful source of antioxidants, electrolytes, B vitamins, and fiber. If you’re not already eating this superfood, it would be wise to give it a try in the name of good health.
This spicy, Korean pickled food tastes great on top of salads, on sandwiches and burgers, and with fried rice, stir-fries, and dumplings. You can find kimchi in jars for sale at the grocery store, but you can also easily make your own with these steps.
1. Gather Ingredients
To make your kimchi, you will need to purchase cabbage, salt, garlic, ginger, sugar, red pepper flakes, scallions, and any other vegetables and spices you prefer. You’ll also need mason jars for canning the end product, where it will ferment.
2. Chop and Clean Veggies
Next, thoroughly clean your vegetables and chop them up. You’ll want to cut your cabbage lengthwise into quarters and remove the core. Then cut each piece into strips that are a couple inches wide. For cabbage, you will then want to let it drain in a colander for 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Make a Delicious Paste
Now, make a delicious paste for your kimchi. According to this recipe from the Kitchn, combine garlic, ginger, sugar, gochugaru, and water together. Typically, you would also add seafood flavor or a fish sauce, but you can make your own vegan version with zero fish.
4. Mix Paste and Vegetables
Massage your cabbage with the paste and mix all of the vegetables with this paste as well. Make sure the sauce is evenly distributed over all of the vegetables.
5. Stuff Into a Jar
Next, add your mixture to the jars and pack it tightly to prevent spoilage. Leave about one inch of head space at the tops of your jars to allow for room for expansion. For fermented foods such as pickles, sauerkraut, and kimchi, this is important since the fermentation process will cause excessive bubbling that requires that extra inch of expansion space.
Now that you have stuffed your mix into the jar, seal it tightly and set it aside to ferment. Let it stand at room temperature for 1 – 5 days. According to The Kitchn, “you may see bubbles inside the jar and brine may seep out of the lid; place a bowl or plate under the jar to help catch any overflow. Check the kimchi once a day, pressing down on the vegetables with a clean finger or spoon to keep them submerged under the brine.” When the kimchi is ripe, transfer it to the refrigerator.
Image source: Kimchi: The Next Superfood