Have you caught on to the healing powers of fermented foods? If you still crinkle your nose at the words “fermented” and “bacteria,” then I would beg you to take another look at this aspect of nutrition. You might even find that fermented foods are kind of fun... you can even make them yourself!
You’re probably aware of the hype around probiotics, and it’s likely that you’ve even started taking a probiotic supplement. Probiotics are microorganisms (bacteria and yeast) that live in your digestive system and are essential for your health. You can think of these as the healthy soldiers that are fighting for your health. They allow for maximum absorption of nutrients in your body, control candida, strengthen your immune system and even fight inflammation and cancer! Unfortunately, in this crazy modern world (filled with stress, antibiotics, toxins, diet, candida overgrowth, and more) the healing soldiers in our digestive systems have been damaged. It’s now crucial that we add probiotics into our diets.
Fermented Foods vs. Probiotic Supplements
But, is taking a probiotic supplement the best option here? Though probiotic supplements are simple and quick, it’s time to take this one step further. If you want to be giving your body quality, natural nourishment, it’s important to look to fermented foods for their probiotics and healing powers. Fermented foods are alive and vibrant with healthy and flourishing probiotic ecosystems that are powerful sources of healing for your body. Eating fermented foods can also help you control sugar cravings. The best part? You can make your own on the cheap!
So...when you think fermented foods, what comes to mind? You may think sauerkraut, kombucha, or kefir, but have you paid much attention to kimchee (also spelled kimchi, gimchi, kim chee)? Kimchee is sure to broaden your fermented food horizons! Kimchee is a traditional Korean dish that is typically made with cabbage and seasoned with spicy pepper, garlic, and ginger. But, there are actually a million ways to make kimchee. It can be very salty or not, very spicy or mild, gingery, or garlicky. It doesn’t need to include cabbage at all, and can instead include radish, carrots, cucumber, or even fruit. You can be as simple or as complicated as you like, but really, all you need is a selection of veggies, salt and a sealed container (a glass jar is ideal, ceramic works, too).
Though you can easily find kimchee at your local health food store, it can be expensive. Plus, canned kimchee actually kills off much of the health benefits that kimchee has to offer. Not to worry, making your own is quick, simple and fun!
Be Brave, and Make Your Own!
I have to admit: though I was hesitant to try this at first, I was amazed at how simple and fun it was. All you need to do is decide on your ingredients, spend ten minutes in the kitchen chopping and mixing, pack the mixture into a glass jar, wait for about a week, and you made kimchee! I highly recommend giving this a try. It’s definitely worth it. Follow these simple steps to start making your own kimchee:
Step 1: Choose your veggies. Vegetable ingredients make up the bulk of the kimchee. Popular vegetable ingredients include cabbage, carrots, radish, and scallions. But you don’t have to stop there!
Step 2: Assemble your materials. All you need is a sharp knife, cutting board, mixing bowl, clean glass jar with a lid that fits tightly, and salt. That’s it!
Step 3: Prepare the veggies. Get your veggies ready to ferment by chopping them into small pieces (to increase surface area).
Step 4: Toss the veggies into the mixing bowl and add sea salt. Squeeze the salt and the veggies together with your hands. Squeezing the veggies breaks down the cell walls, releasing moisture and mixes the veggies with the salt. This creates a brine that is necessary for the fermentation process. Squeeze veggies until there is plenty of liquid (brine) in the bottom of the bowl.
Step 5: Pack the veggies into the jar. Yes, I said pack! You want to really pack the veggies into the jar, so there’s no space for oxygen. Fill the jar with the veggies, and be sure that they are covered in the brine. The brine should reach the brim of the jar.
Step 6: Seal the jar and wait. Seal the jar, and store at room temperature. Check the kimchee daily to release pressure from the jar. Wait 5 – 7 days, and taste the kimchee.
Voila! You’ve created a thriving community of probiotics that are a gift to your body. If you store the kimchee in the fridge, it can last six months or more! You can eat kimchee on its own, add it to meats, salads, sandwiches and more. Get creative!
Adding kimchee into your diet is a great way to starting nourishing your body completely.
In order to nourish your body, you need to start listening to it! Check out my free guide to start listening to your body.
image via Flickr/The Delicious Life