I am a bit of a newbie with this whole fermentation business, apart from a brief stint at culinary school and eating/drinking fermented stuffs, I’m like a virgin (hey!) touched for the very first time… but after reading so many “it’s so easy” type posts, I am inclined to believe them. It’s the internet after all; it doesn’t lie.
Before I get into it, here is my first word of virgin making kimchi advice: wear gloves! My left hand is on fy-yah!! If ya didn’t know, there’s quite a lotta chili in ole kimchi and as I happily squished and squeezed the mix of tasty veg etc, I was oblivious to the heat of the chili flakes working their way into a not quite healed wound.
Sidenote: the wound was dry and clean and happened a while ago, it just hadn’t quite gotten to the completely healed stage. I wouldn’t dive into a fermentation project with an open wound. Or any cooking for that matter. That’s gross. You should know that. We should all know that.
Gloves. Wear them if you don’t want burny hands or have sensitive skin.
First I sterilized the jars, which was actually the part I was most nervous about. Seems silly really, it’s so easy and I had seen my grandma do it when I was little and hanging in the kitchen watching jam blip away on the stove. But for some reason, I was intimidated by it. I just didn’t want to go to all the trouble of sterilising jars, making kimchi, putting it in jars, waiting a few days for the ferment and then find it was ruined because I didn’t sterilize properly. I got over it, watched this handy Jamie Oliver vid here, and confidently sterilized me some jars
Boom! It’s easy!
When building up to this whole process, I wanted to find a reliable recipe so I did some reading and a lot of procrastinating and then finally landed on a recipe my friend Noeleen had tried and tested with a happy result.
It turned out it was another awesome Sarah Britton ditty – author of the My New Roots blog. I LOVE pretty much everything she has posted and I have posted about her stuff a lot. Girl crush. Link to recipe after the obligatory amateur photography to chronicle my experience. And best of all, the recipe is gluten free (and vegan) which appeals to my food sensitivities.
Soooo… Here’s all the ingredients lined up in a row:
I used a sea salt from Iceland. Yah: Iceland, bitches. Because my friend Aaron went and got married there and we both like food so why not buy me some freakin cool, crazy shaped salt?? It has a pretty big crystal so I ended up using Himalayan sea salt as well. Mmmm minerals mmmm… And I didn’t have the required amount of green onions so we’ll see whether this makes a big difference or not (like I would know) and I’m also gonna add sesame seeds because I’ve been eating a store bought one with sesame seeds in it. Freestyling.
The recipe says to cut the cabbage into bite sized pieces and the best way I know how to do this is by pretending it’s a giant, weird shaped onion and using the “onion method” (actual culinary term). Google it. You know how. It got messy cutting it up anyway using this method but I love to make mess so I didn’t care. If you are one to care about mess then, I’m sorry, but making your own kimchi isn’t for you.
The bowl I used was a bit small, so I moved it to my largest bowl and had to do some interim squishing and salting of cabbage before I could add any of the other ingredients. This created more room as the cells broke down and all was well in first timer kimchi land.
I did lose a bit over the sides, because I got super into the squishing and squelching that I didn’t realise some was escaping my enthusiastic grip. But whatever, I picked it up and put it back in and kept on keeping on.
This is what it looks like right now as it sits on my bench, beginning it’s life as my first homemade kimchi
*sniff sniff* so proud.
A timer just went off so I have to go resquish and lose a bit over the sides.
I shall leave you with the link to the recipe as well as info on why kimchi is so gosh darn good fer ya! Happy fermenting my friends.