The most important thing throughout this whole process to stop your kimchi and sauerkraut from going bad: sterilise all. the. time. Always with boiling water, always let them dry completely and come back to room temperature.
MZ’s Kimchi Process
[to be made to the sound of this Japanese City Pop mix]
- Separate cabbage leaves and chop into bite-sized pieces. Dissolve a quarter cup of sea salt in a bowl of warm water. Pour salt water over cabbage leaves. Toss a little to distribute evenly. Allow salted cabbage to sit for 2-4 hours.
- Meanwhile, combine the chili flakes, garlic, ginger, green onions, soy sauce, apple, honey and apple cider vinegar in a food processor until it becomes a paste. Add a little water if it’s having trouble.
- Shake out cabbage and transfer to another bowl.
- Add the paste to your cabbage along with the rest of your matchstick vegetables and with clean hands and/or gloves (I’d recommend gloves, as your hands will smell like Kimchi all day if not) massage without breaking your vegetables, until the chili paste is evenly distributed and every piece is coated.
- Transfer into your sterilised jar, pressing down so there aren’t gaps. Pour any liquid accumulated during the mixing process into the bottle as well.
- Leave about 3-4 cm of room at the top of the jar before capping it tightly with a lid. Allow the bottle of Kimchi to sit at room temperature for around 48 hours, but if you like it tangier you can go for up to a week before transferring to the fridge. When you’re taste testing, used a sterilised spoon and don’t double dip.
- Transfer to the fridge – it’ll keep there for up to a month.
MZ’s Sauerkraut Process
3 tsp sea salt
2 cups vegetable scraps (chopped or shredded: save your celery leaves, radish leaves, broccoli stalks)
3 whole carrots (finely shredded)
3 tbsp fresh ginger (grated)
3 tbsp fresh turmeric (grated – I have gotten away with powdered before, though)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
- Place cabbage in a large mixing bowl and sprinkle salt evenly over the top. Wash your hands and/or wear food-safe gloves and massage cabbage for 10 minutes or until it starts to get a little softer, smaller, releasing water.
- Add the rest of your scraps, carrot, ginger, turmeric, and garlic and massage once more with clean hands/gloves for 5 minutes until combined (see photo). Do a little taste test and adjust flavour (maybe a little more salt, more ginger, more garlic for more intensity).
- Clean. Hands. Move the sauerkraut mixture into your sterilized jars and press firmly with hands or a sterilized spoon to pack. There should be enough liquid from the massaging to cover the vegetables. If this doesn’t happen, top with filtered water until covered.
- Make sure you leave 3-4cm between the top of the contents and the lid so it doesn’t explode when you open it. Seal with the lid and set on the counter out of the sun. Ideal temperature for fermentation is 65°F/18°C, so warmer is always the safer side.
- Fermentation can take anywhere between 1 day if your place is warm, or up to 2 weeks in winter. Just check every day and taste-test with sterilised chopsticks or spoon.
- Open the jars once per day to release air (you should feel pressure release and see air bubbles when you open the jars). Press down with a sterilized object such as a spoon to make sure that the vegetables are still covered in the liquid.
- Once you’re down with the tanginess, transfer to the fridge. It should keep for 3 – 6 months. Don’t double dip to avoid contamination.