I am looking for a 12 step program for my new Kimchi addiction! I’ve been eating it with absolutely everything. The first step is admitting you have a problem…
Here is the recipe for Becky’s Killer Kimchi.
Makes about 8 pounds (3.6 kg) of Kimchi
For salting cabbage:
6 pounds napa cabbage (3 to 4 heads of medium napa cabbage)
1/2 cup Kosher salt
For making porridge:
2 cups water
2 tablespoons sweet rice flour (glutinous rice flour) regular flour is fine too
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar (brown or white sugar)
2 cups radish matchsticks
1 cup carrot matchsticks
7 to 8 green onions, chopped
1 cup chopped Asian chives (buchu), optional (substitute with 3 green onions, chopped)
1 cup water dropwort (minari), optional (Becky didn’t use this)
Seasonings and spices:
1/2 cup garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons ginger, minced
1 medium onion, minced
1/2 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup fermented salted shrimp (saeujeot) with the salty brine, chopped ( Becky didn’t use this)
2 cups hot pepper flakes (gochugaru) ( This is Korean red pepper powder)
Chop cabbage into small pieces, rinse in a large basin of water, and sprinkle with salt:
Let the cabbages rest for 2 hours. Turn over every 30 minutes, so they get well salted. From time to time you can ladle some of the salty water from the bottom of the basin over top of the cabbages if you want to.
After 2 hours, wash the cabbage a few times under cold running water. Giving them a good washing, to remove the salt and any dirt. Place in a strainer over a basin so they can drain well.
While the cabbage is salting for 2 hours, and in between the times you’re turning it over, you can make the porridge:
Combine the water and the sweet rice flour in a small pot. Mix well with a wooden spoon and let it cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes until it starts to bubble. Add the sugar and cook 1 more minute, stirring. Remove from the heat and let it cool off completely.
Place garlic, ginger, and onion in a large mixing bowl. Add fish sauce, fermented salted shrimp, and hot pepper powder. Mix well with the wooden spoon until the mixture turns into a thin paste.
Add the radish, carrot, and green onion, plus the Asian chives (or more green onions) and the water dropwort if you’re using them. Mix well. Add cooled off porridge and mix well.
Spread kimchi paste on the cabbage so that it’s evenly distributed. When it is all covered with paste put into your jar or plastic container.
Eat right away, or let it sit at room temperature for a few days to ferment.
The kimchi will start fermenting a day or two at room temperature, depending on the temperature and humidity of your room. The warmer and more humid it is, the faster the kimchi will ferment. Once it starts to ferment it will smell and taste sour, and pressing on the top of the kimchi with a spoon will release bubbles from beneath.
Once it starts to ferment, store in the refrigerator to use as needed. Storing in the fridge slows down the fermentation process, which will make the kimchi more and more sour as time goes on.
Stan (and Becky!)
After our adventures in Kefir making, Becky thought it would be a good idea to start making Kombucha. I have to say that I had no idea what it was.… And so it began.
Kombucha is a sweet tea which is left to ferment with the SCOBY and within two weeks turns into a another drink entirely which is highly beneficial to your body. HEALTHY OR NOT, IT TASTES AMAZING!
After Becky managed to get a free SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) from a friend, we were off and brewing. We are currently brewing our fourth batch of kombucha.
Our second batch caused some concern with the expected growth of a new SCOBY on the surface of the liquid. Each time a batch is brewed you end up with a new SCOBY. Becky’s approach is just to leave it alone and check it after two weeks, where as my approach is more of checking it four times a day to see what’s happening. My concern grew over what looked like abnormal SCOBY growth. Eventually I reached out to contact people wise in the ways of the SCOBY. They were both amazing and responded very quickly to the pictures I emailed to them.
As it turns out, the biggest thing that can ruin your batch is mold. But we did not have any, thankfully. After a minor relocation to a warmer part of the house things seemed to get back on track.
Here are the two resources who were so kind to help.
You say Kah-Fear…..I say Kef-her…..or, is it Key-fer?
Adventures in Kefir making!
Normally going to a stranger’s house to pick up a small ziplock bag of anything would be out of the question. But that’s what we did. Becky arranged everything about the deal online. My only contribution was to say “There’s no way in hell that you are going to a stranger’s house by yourself… I’ll drive!”
A few minutes later, a token amount of cash exchanged for a plastic baggie, we head straight home. “Let me see it, let me see it”I say. “Why do they call it kefir ‘grains’?”
And so it began….
Jump forward a few batches, a bit of uncertainty, and we think we got it all sorted out.
Kefir is fermented milk which is full of beneficial bacteria and yeast. It tastes similar to yogurt, but usually more tangy. It’s probiotic nature helps to maintain a healthy immune system and well-functioning digestive system. Kefir contains a higher amount of beneficial bacteria and yeasts than most yogurts. It’s also much easier to make.
They call it ‘grains’ because of the way they look.
It’s a SCOBY. This stands for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast.
When added to milk, kefir grains feed on the lactose in the milk. The lactose provides nourishment and allows the grains to grow and multiply.
Some people will give away their excess grains to strangers. Becky found several sources of free Kefir grains, but with an 8 week waiting period. Becky, not one who likes to wait, found another source for $5.
Here is where she found it.
How to Make Milk Kefir
Step 1 – use 1 tablespoon kefir grains for each glass of milk
Step 2 – place in a mason jar with a cloth over the opening, or if using the lid, don’t tighten it as the kefir needs to breath.
Step 3 – let ferment for approximately 24hours if your home temperature is 20 degrees Celsius or higher. It will depend on the temperature of your home, our house is cooler and we fermented the milk for 36 hours. This is where some of our initial uncertainty resulted in unsuccessful attempts.
Step 4 – strain the grains out of your milk and place in another jar with some fresh milk to keep it alive. Place in the fridge until you are ready to make your next batch. Start using your kefir milk.
Avoid using metal utensils. Try to purchase a plastic strainer (yes, our picture above is with a metal strainer, but it has since been replaced)
Two weeks ago my partner-in-homesteading, Becky, made Apple Scrap Vinegar. As with many of the things we do, the idea came from me. Sometimes I call myself The Idea Guy. Now I’m not trying to take any real form of credit here, but it’s an ongoing joke between us. I’m The Idea Guy, and she is The Get It Done Gal.
I openly admit that I love dreaming up all manner of things, some of which can be a bit far flung. One of Becky’s famously used quotes for when I get into idea mode, when she knows I’m not going to get it done in a timely manner is from Elvis – “A little less conversation, a little more action please.” For example: Becky “I would love to have a food dehydrator.” Stan “I read recently about how to make a solar dehydrator. It’s pretty easy. I think it would make a good summer project.” That was in the spring and we’re in mid-November now. I may have mentioned it last summer as well.
There was one notable exception to this, the story of the found kitten and the new kitchen door. But that’s another story for another time. Someone please remind me about it in the future and I’ll be happy to share it with you. It demonstrates my complete ability to get things done quick….for the right project.
Back to our topic at hand, Apple Scrap Vinegar, and the spilling of said vinegar. The scene opens with Becky proudly announcing from the kitchen “the vinegar has a mother!” I’ll explain this later with the recipe. As Becky enters the living room she proceeds to show me the bottom of the mason jar where the vinegar has been fermenting. As she tips the jar out pours some of the vinegar. Oops…no lid. The mason jar was only covered with a cloth secured over the opening with a rubber band. Opah!!!
Normally I would react poorly to such events as they require unnecessary clean up, but not today. I am on my last day of 5 glorious days off. Glorious except for the fact that I’ve been sick for 4 of those days. Locked up in the house, restless, this now had great entertainment value for me! Not much vinegar was lost, but Becky forgetting there was no solid lid on the jar was priceless.
Making Apple Scrap Vinegar
Making it is easy. You would normally just toss these in your compost or garbage anyway so why not give it a try. Plan to do it when you are making an apple pie, or in our case an apple crumble.
What you will need:
-1/4 cup honey
-1 liter warm water
-a large jar
-towel or cheesecloth (or a large basket disposable coffee filter)
-raw apple cider vinegar (with mother) – optional
If you have lots of apple scraps, just double or triple the recipe, ensuring the ratio of 1/4 honey for each liter.
Step 1 – collect all your apple cores, peel, seeds, etc (none of the good stuff) and set aside.
Step 2 – mix honey and warm water
Step 3 – fill your jar with the fruit scraps and pour in your honey-water solution.
step 4 – cover with towel or cheesecloth (this is just to keep unwanted things from falling in). Secure with an elastic band.
Step 5 – let ferment at room temperature. Stir once per day.Step 6 – the liquid will darken after approx 1 week. Strain out apple scraps and ferment the liquid for another 2 to 3 weeks. Stir ever other day. You will start to see a ‘mother’ form on top.
Step 6 – save your ‘mother’ for your next batch and enjoy.
‘Mother’ of vinegar
What is it?
Mirriam-Webster Dictionary definition:
“A slimy membrane composed of yeast and bacterial cells that develops on the surface of alcoholic liquids undergoing acetous fermentation and is added to wine or cider to produce vinegar.
Mother Earth News describes it simply as:
“The ‘mother’ is a gelatinous mass of vinegar-making organisms that forms naturally in vinegar.”
Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar describes it as:
“The ‘mother’ of vinegar is a dark, cloudy sediment. Only present in raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar, it naturally occurs as connected strand-like chains of protein enzyme molecules. Many people believe it is the “mother” that is what provides so many health benefits.”