Do you like eating fermented foods? Besides the health benefits, I really enjoy the strong taste of vegetables that have been fermented. They are good when served alongside a meal and I also like to add them to sandwiches.
There is a Korean grocery store in my area that has a large refrigerator section with dozens of types of kimchi. Whenever I bring home a giant sized jar, I’m amazed at how quickly my family finishes it off.
I had been thinking that I should learn how to make my own, but hadn’t gotten around to it. An invitation from Melissa’s Produce to attend a fermentation class taught by Rancho La Merced‘s Ernest Miller was all the push I needed to try my first batch.
Of course, food safety is important. Proper equipment is needed and this is a type of food prep where instructions are not just a ‘suggested guideline.’ Jars need to be filled using the right amount of salt for your veggies to ferment safely.
For our class, we used Rancho La Merced’s Lactofermentation Kits that include everything needed to get started – canning jar, easy to clean airlock system, glass weight and an instruction booklet with recipes.
I chose to make the kimchi from the instruction booklet. The amount of salt used in the fermentation process is something that should be done exactly as the recipe states. With other ingredients, there is some flexibility to customize it to your liking.
This is a vegan white kimchi. No fish sauce has been added and I left out the red chili that is often used in commercially produced kimchi. I also chose to leave my vegetable pieces bigger, but they could have been more finely chopped.
My kimchi was ready in 10 days and it is absolutely delicious. Even without the spicy red pepper and fish sauce, it is bursting with flavor. I like the kimchi that I can buy at the market or eat at restaurants, but homemade is much better by far.
The one thing I’d do differently next time is cut up my ginger into smaller pieces. The other veggies are great in big pieces, but the potent ginger would be better for me if it were smaller.
The class was great. Ernest Miller is an entertaining and knowledgable teacher. I would have been able to follow the instructions in the kit on my own, but it was much more fun to attend the class with a group of food blogger friends!