I went to a couple Sandor Katz (fermentation guru)
workshops before I started fermenting my own food. So, here is the fact that Sandor said: There have been no deaths or food borne illnesses from fermented food. Real kraut, real pickles, real kimchi, real fermented food will not cause death or food borne illness. Yes, you read that correctly. There are incidents when fermentation stops or never started, and bad organisms take over like certain molds, e-coli, and botulism that is when bad things happen. When fermentation goes bad, it is not longer fermentation, and you will know that is is bad, so you throw it out. When fermentation is good and continues on, then it is SO GooD!
|my kim chi|
Current era, for at least 40 years (that I am aware of), the USA general society has been all about pasteurization, sterilization, killing the food we eat. At one time, yogurt, pickles, kraut and kim chi were live active cultures making food fermented. Commercial pickles, kraut and kim chi are now just sour with sterile vinegar and heat sealed to kill any bacteria, and commercial yogurt some sort of xantham gum, cornstarch and corn syrup thing. The commercial products resemble very little of what the real fermented foods taste like, and commercial products provide no pro-biotic benefits, only calories.
Fermentation has been happening all around the world for thousands of years. Fermentation was probably the first way of preserving food. Throw in a little salt and water, and the food magically became safe to eat for days on end. What a big step in human's food history. No longer do you have to fight and forage everyday just to get calories, you can fight and forage once per week, toss a little salt and water on the extra food for the week and ta-da, preserved food for the week, and the invention of the couch potato. With not having to work all the time to getting food into our family's gut, that left us plenty of time to invent other things to make our lives easier and more comfortable.
To make my life more easy and comfortable, I learned how to make kraut and kimchi. When I was in a workshop with Sandor, we sliced up red and white cabbage. Sprinkled salt on top and massaged the cabbage until water was let from the leaves. Then we put the cabbage and water packed tightly into clean glass jars. The jars do not have to be boil, just washed like normal dishes. Then for about a week, the jars sat open with cloth tied on top. Everyday for the week, I would press down the cabbage to make sure there was liquid covering the cabbage. That is it. I tasted the kraut daily, and a week or so was perfect. So, I put the kraut in the fridge.
The kimchi was just as easy. I got a bunch of napa cabbage and garlic from the Barefoot Farmer, a bunch of ginger from Foggy Hollow, and I got a bunch of Korean chili peppers and Korean sea salt from Manna Grocery Store. First I cut the napa in quarters and sprinkled salt in the leaves, and left them over night. The next morning, I rinsed the napa of the salt sprinkle. Like the kraut, I sliced up the napa cabbage and massaged in some salt until there was liquid. I put ginger, garlic and the Korean chili peppers in a food processor and pulsed up a paste. Then I mix chili mix with the napa mix, and put the kimchi into jars on the counter, with cloth covers. For 2 to 4 mornings, depending on the kimchi flavor, I pressed down the kimchi to submerge into the red liquid. At about day 2 to 4, the kimchi is ready to cover and put in the fridge to eat later.
Fermentation is so awesome! Give it a try!