So I was thrilled with Melissa’s Produce invited me to be a part of Chef Ernest Miller’s food preserving class. Chef Miller — sometimes referred to as the Huell Howser of California food — is also a historian, educator, consultant and speaker — he not only teaches in kitchens, but also in museums and schools.
Where does Kimchi come in? Well Chef Miller is the lead instructor for the Master Food Preservers of Los Angeles County and the founder of Rancho La Merced Provisions, through which he invented the best fermentation kit on the market — the Air-Lock Lacto-Fermentation Kit. You really need a kit like this to make Kimchi and other fermented foods properly at home. There’s a whole lot of science to this — in fact, I felt like I was in a lab of some sort while we were preparing the Kimchi. You can purchase Chef Miller’s Air-Lock Lacto-Fermentation Kit here.
Kimchi is the national dish of Korea and it refers to a variety of pickled vegetables which are typically consumed daily, at almost every meal. This was originally a way to preserve vegetables for the winter months, and the average Korean consumes nearly 40-pounds of kimchi per year. (Here’s some great information on the history of Kimchi.)
Some super cool things I learned from Chef Miller:
- Fermented foods are healthier than raw foods.
- Kimchi and other fermented foods are probiotic foods. They contain Lactobacillus, which is the same bacteria used to make yogurt, and is valued for its ability to aid in digestion and keep a healthy balance of bacteria in our systems.
- Only 3 ingredients are needed for fermentation of vegetables; water, salt and the vegetables.
Some people say “everything is better with butter,” (I agree with that on some level) — but, my newest culinary saying is that “everything is better with Kimchi!” You’ll get it when you see my Grilled Sirloin Steak-Kimchi Sandwich and Kimchi Egg Ramen next week.
Thank you to Melissa’s Produce for another amazing event. Robert Schueller, this was one of the best — so educational and so much fun!
If you’ve never fermented foods before, I think you’ll be amazed at just how easy it can be.
Below is Chef Miller’s recipe — it comes with the kit, along with recipes for pickles, sauerkraut, hot pepper mash, and a plethora of fermentation information. Again, you can get Chef Miller’s Air-Lock Lacto-Fermentation Kit here. And you can find out more about him, and where he might be teaching next, here.
Recipe credit: Chef Ernest Miller/ Rancho La Merced Provisions
- 1 ounce pickling, canning, kosher or sea salt for every 3 pounds of vegetables
- 3 pounds Napa Cabbage, cored and coarsely chopped
- 8 ounces Daikon radish
- 8 ounces carrot, julienned
- 4 green onions, sliced on the bias (white and green parts)
- 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped, minced or whole
- 2 teaspoons dried red pepper for kimchi (you can find this in Korean markets, or you can use chile paste as a substitute)
- 3 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated or julienned
- 1 ounce of salt per quart of water
- Mix all ingredients thoroughly and pack firmly into your clean jar. Be sure the jar is filled to the "max" line but no higher. Place our clean notched weighting jar on the kimchi. This weight is to force water out of the kimchi and keep the kimchi submerged under the brine.
- Seal your jar, gently twist the airlock into place and fill with brine or distilled vinegar to the fill line.
- Store at 70 - 80 degrees F. Kimchi will be fully fermented in about 1-2 weeks. At 60-65 degrees F, fermentation may take 3-4 weeks.
Fully fermented Kimchi can be kept in the refrigerator, tightly covered for several months.
This is not a sponsored post. I’m a huge Melissa’s Produce fan and have working with them for a few years now, and I was given the Air-Lock Lacto-Fermentation Kit from Chef Miller to try it out.