Eating fermented foods is good for you. Not only do they contain vitamins and minerals, they also help balance your digestive system by adding helpful, friendly bacteria. Plus, they are delicious. Here are a few recipes for some easy to make fermented foods:
5 pounds cabbage
3 tablespoons sea salt
Chop or grate the cabbage, and place it in a large bowl, sprinkling salt on it as you go. When all cabbage is shredded, pack it tightly into a large ceramic crock or food grade plastic bucket. Cover the cabbage with a plate, or another flat-bottomed item that fits snugly inside the crock, and place a gallon jug filled with water on top. The weight will begin to press moisture out of the cabbage, which will mix with the salt to create a brine solution. Press down on the weight, to help force out additional moisture, and cover the crock with a clean towel. After about one day, the brine should be level with, or higher than the plate. If it isn’t, add enough salty water to cover the cabbage (one teaspoon of salt to a few cups of water). Leave the crock to ferment in a cool, dark place. Check the kraut once every couple of days. Skim away any mold that appears on the surface (don’t worry, this is normal and won’t affect your kraut, which is safe below the surface). Taste test after a few days. When the kraut is to your liking, you can either place it in a sealed container and refrigerate, or leave it in the crock to continue fermenting. If stored in a dark, cool place, fermenting sauerkraut can keep for a couple for months.
3 tablespoons pickling salt
1 teaspoon pickling salt
6 cups water
2 lbs Chinese cabbage
6 scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths, then slivered
1 1/2 tablespoons minced ginger, fresh
2 tablespoons Korean red pepper powder or1 1/2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon sugar
Dissolve the 3 tablespoons salt in the water. Cut the cabbage into cut into 2-inch squares. Put the cabbage into a large bowl, a crock, or a nonreactive pot, and pour the brine over it. Weight the cabbage down with a plate. Let the cabbage stand for 12 hours. Drain the cabbage, reserving the brine. Mix the cabbage with the remaining ingredients, including the 1 teaspoon salt. Pack the mixture into a 2-quart jar. Pour enough of the reserved brine over the cabbage to cover it. Push a freezer bag into the mouth of the jar, and pour the remaining brine into the bag. Seal the bag. Let the kimchi ferment in a cool place, at a temperature no higher than 68° F, for 3 to 6 days, until the kimchi is as sour as you like. Remove the brine bag, and cap the jar tightly. Store the kimchi in the refrigerator, where it will keep for months.