Why are fermented foods, like kimchi, so freaking good for you? Well, like I said above, they're filled with beneficial bacteria that do miracles for your digestive health, and overall health, really. Probiotics (good bacteria found in fermented foods) are responsible for promoting regular bowel movements, strengthening the immune system, normalizing skin conditions, reducing cholesterol, maintaining bone health, and managing blood sugar levels. Also, the vitamin content of the raw fermented vegetables is actually increased the longer they ferment. By eating fermented foods, you're basically getting what you would get in a probiotic supplement, but in a food form, which is always better, in my opinion. Some other whole food sources of probiotics include lacto-fermented sourkraut and pickles, miso, yogurt, kombucha, kefir, and lots more!
1 large head Napa cabbage, cut into bite sized pieces
2 baby bok choy, cut into bite sized pieces
3 large carrots, grated
1 daikon radish, julienned
1/2 of an onion, thinly sliced
1 apple, grated
5 scallions, cut into 1" pieces
7 cloves garlic, peeled
3" piece of ginger, peeled and cut into pieces
1/4 to 1/3 cup crushed red chili flakes, depending on how much heat you like
1/4 cup fish sauce (optional if you want to make it vegan)
1/4 cup unrefined sea salt
1. In a very large bowl, add the Napa cabbage, bok choy, carrots, daikon radish, apple, scallions, and onion.
2. Add the garlic, ginger, and red chili to a food processor. Process until it forms a paste. Add this paste to your big bowl of vegetables.
3. Add salt and fish sauce to the bowl and massage everything with your (clean!) hands for 4-5 minutes until the vegetables start to break down and there is liquid forming at the bottom of the bowl.
4. Transfer the kimchee to one very large clean jar (or a couple of clean smaller jars), making sure to pack the vegetables in firmly, submerging them in brine. Make sure to leave at least 1 inch of free space at the top of the jars before securing the lids.
5. Leave the jars out on your countertop or in your pantry for a few days, periodically unscrewing the lids slightly to let out carbon dioxide. Also, I made sure to push the vegetables down under the brine with a clean fork every other day. After 3 days, you may begin to taste your kimchi. I liked the way mine tasted after 7 days, but feel free to let it go longer to get it really sour. When it is good and tangy to your liking, transfer the jars to the refrigerator where the kimchi can keep for months.
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