Zero To Hero, Day 12: Fermenting, part one

(For a tutorial and recipe for Kim Chi please click the link)


I’ve made my own yogurts and buttermilk for a decade. Last summer I noticed the word “konbuchya” — which has a very different meaning in Japanese — coming up a lot online. The long and short is that I started thinking about fermentation in the home kitchen.

I bought a few books, read the personal experiences from many, many bloggers and went shopping on By November I was ready. I prepared 3 litres of sauerkraut, 5 litres of kim chi. A few day later I was canning green tomatoes, mustard greens, and crab apples. My keifer and konbuchya cultures arrived a few days after that and the lab expanded exponentially: I was bottling cider, root beer, ginger ale, milk keifer drinks and water keifer drinks. The first batch of kim-chi was ready — delicious and inexpensive — so I started a new 5 litre jar.

From Zero To Hero: Fermented Unit.

pickled crab apples and quince, kim chee version one, sauerkraut

pickled crab apples and quince, kim chee version one, sauerkraut

I’ve learned a lot the past couple of months which I’ll share with you another day. For now, I’d like to complete today’s assignment by introducing you to a few of the blogs I found inspirational and interesting. It’s just amazing to me that there are people all over the planet reading the same books and blogs to do the same thing.

(BTW, if I could only do one, I’d do water keifer. It takes one night to get your beverage, it’s extremely fizzy and has a great flavour, especially when you add citrus peels to the ferment. I found a retailer through Ebay.)

I enjoyed reading her experience in making sauerkraut. She didn’t have total success the first time, but kept on. Eventually she got. that’s inspiring!

Kvass is something I really want to try, but beets here are about 5USD each, so I’m content to read about it for now.

A final note for today. To The Best Of Our Knowledge, one of all time favourite podcasts did a show on fermenting. It’s worth a listen. Clothes made from fermentation, anyone? Oh, there’s a reading of a very funny short story about yogurt taking over the world. Seriously, vats of yogurt. It’ll make you laugh.

6 Comments on “Zero To Hero, Day 12: Fermenting, part one

  1. Will you be posting a recipe for kim chi? I love it and never realised it was something you could make at home. Do you need special canning equipment for heat treating etc?


    • I will eventually post a recipe for it. Thanks for asking. 🙂

      It’s really, really simple to make. The most difficult thing is kneading salt into the vegetables. All you need are red chilies, garlic, ginger, salt, sugar. Some recipes call for rice powder (to further feed the bacteria) and others red chile powder to absorb the liquid. To speed the fermentation some suggest using whey (the watery part from yogurt). And for flavour many recipes include fish, fish sauce, or seafood broth.

      As for equipment. All you need is a large jar to store the vegetables in. It would be useful to have a blender to puree the cure. Oh, and gloves. Trust me on that. The chilies gave me a chemical burn.

      After everything is mixed you keep it in a warm place for a few days. You’ll see bubbles and the water level will rise.

      I opened the lid for my second batch yesterday — it’s delicious, crunchy, not too spicy. My third batch is bubbling away. It’s alive. What we buy in the markets is pasteurised, and you will taste the difference.


      • Yay! You posted the recipe! Just passed on to a friend who wants to know if you can make kim chi with other ingredients apart from cabbage? Eg red pepper?


      • Sorry it took a bit to get back to you. I’ve been on, um, sabbatical. 😉

        Yeah, you can make kim-chi with pretty much any vegetable. I layer my pots with several different kinds of veggies, in different shapes, so I can always pull out something different. I’ve really come to like bitter greens like turnip tops and mustard greens along with root veggies with bite such as carrot, parsnip, daikon, turnips.

        I’ve even used the brine to pickle fish (that’s an upcoming post).

        One thing I’ve learned from trial and error is that starchy veggies such as potatoes and yams aren’t very pleasant. They pickle fine, but they have a funny granular feeling on the tongue.

        Hope that helps. Enjoy your week!


    • Thank you! Coming soon.

      I was just now checking on my third batch of kim chi. It’s bubbling, full of life, and ready for cool storage on my veranda. You should get started!


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