Saturday, January 12, 2013

Fermented Food

There seems to be some confusion here in America about fermenting.  Certainly not about fermenting malted barley and adding hops to it, that seems to be familiar with most people.  Especially the youth in America.  But I am referring to one of the things that a huge portion of the population of the planet takes for granted as a daily part of their diet, fermented food.  It's no secret anymore that one of the largest organs in the human body aside from our skin, is the digestive system.  And that it certainly is NOT a sterile environment.  Living within our abdomens there lies a teaming miasma of microbial life.  Hundreds of millions of bacteria, all there to aid in the digestion of everything that we consume.  And for the most part, all very beneficial.  All having a purpose, and all of them absolutely necessary for life.  When things go wrong in your gut, then things go wrong with your overall health.  Scientists are just now beginning to unlock the secrets to just how important the intestinal flora truly is.  But then ancient oriental medicine has known about it for generations, western doctors are just learning.  At least they are learning.

One of the things that so many people do in America today is take antibiotics.  Sometimes necessary, sometimes not; whatever the reasoning behind it, the effect is the same.  The Gut flora becomes damaged.  Unless that part is restored to optimum, you will suffer from a weakened immune system.  The best way to assist your body to achieve that optimum is to consume fermented foods.  There are a whole host of such foods out there, and pretty much every culture has had differing favorites.  All work, all are good for you, and pretty much, all are easy to make yourself.  Whatever you decide to do, it is always a good idea to supplement your diet with fermented food every week, and every day is better.

Good things to try,
Raw organic yogurt
Raw saurkraut,
Kombucha tea
Kim chee

Kim chee I think someone told me is the national dish of Korea.  I have had it in a lot of restaurants, some is pretty good, a lot I have tried was just awful.  So I make my own.  I make it how I like it, and I eat it just about every day.  
To start, I take a head of cabbage and cut in half, then into quarters.  Cut out the hard core, and then dice into inch or inch and a half pieces.  Separate and toss into a big stainless steel pot.  Then I take about a half cup of some Cajun spice mix that was given to me as a gift and I don't use it because it contains salt.  (I make my own spice mix and don't add salt SPICE MIXES)  This is a perfect use for it, the salt brings out the moisture from the cabbage and helps in the fermenting.  And the flavor is nice as well.  Then I take a wine bottle and pound the cabbage a bit to break it up and to get the moisture flowing.  I let that sit awhile, and dice an onion, about ten jalapenos, and a head of celery.  Mix it all in.  Then smash a couple HEADS of garlic and grate a big finger of ginger.  Mix it all in.  Let sit two hours and there should be quite a bit of liquid in the pot.  Take a bit of the whey from a container of yogurt that you scooped part of the yogurt out of.  You only need a tablespoon or so.  Mix well, then pack it into jars.  Smash it down and pack it tightly into the jars.  Now, take the liquid in the pot and pour over the cabbage mix making sure all is covered.  If you don't have enough liquid, mix a tablespoon sea salt with a cup and a half water and pour onto the cabbage.  Loosely place the lids on top and set aside in cool place for at least 3 days, up to a couple weeks.  The longer it sits and ferments, the stronger and more tart it becomes.  Me, with the Cajun spices already in there, it is pretty spicy and I don't like it all that tart.  So 4 days in the garage and I start to eat it.  Cap tightly and put in the fridge.  Scoop it out, and drain the liquid back into the jar and use that to make the next batch.  It is all pretty good, but when you take it to work and eat it in public, people tend to look at you weird because it does smell weird.  But it tastes great.  And it is good for you too!


  1. thank you chefroy for your information what you think of pickled herring we eat lot of herring here and good for you

  2. Ana, you're welcome. I hope it was what you needed. Sorry, I don't speak Russian, so I wasn't sure it was exactly what you needed. But yes the herring is a good thing, one, just eating oily fish is great, and two, the fermented part helps with the intestinal bacteria as well. Try some of the other stuff as well that I talked about. And also I have read the KVASS is big there as well, that is fermented too.