Fermentation is, by its nature, a fairly simple process to facilitate. It can be tricky if you don't have the proper tools, though. This post details the products that we use here at Church of Poutine. There are lots of ways to skin the proverbial cat, however. The products that we are linking in this post just happen to be the tools that we utilize. I should also clarify that these links are set up through our Amazon affiliate marketing program, so if you buy through our site, Amazon kicks us back a small percentage.
First of all, I super hate typing the word sauerkraut. As such, I will be, henceforth, referring to this dish by its shortened and more easily typed moniker, kraut.
Kimchi is awesome.
There, I said it. Everything that I love about food is happening all at once when it comes to kimchi. It’s spicy, crunchy, sour, sweet, and complex in all of the right ways. Not to mention, it’s full of delightful probiotics, and that’s never a bad thing.
But what exactly is it? To some, kimchi traditionally consists of some combination of cabbage, onions, chili, and ginger. To others, kimchi represents an entire genre of food, limited only by one’s imagination. I happen to fall into the latter category. All you have to do is replace the word “kimchi” with “pickle,” and you can begin to see my point. Basically, if it grows in the ground, you can make kimchi out of it.
If I am going to one day master the art of controlled spoilage, it stands to reason that I should probably have at least some understanding of the science behind it. Keep in mind, I'm a chef, and not a microbiologist. This piece is all about "back of the book" generalization, so take it all with a grain of salt (See what I did there?)
Pickling is the process of preserving food by either anaerobic fermentation facilitated by salt, or by immersion in vinegar. Both techniques are widely used, and equally viable depending on the flavor and shelf stability desired. Typically, a pH of 4.6 or lower is required to destroy harmful pathogens, resulting in food that can be stored for months or years, depending on pickling style and temperature.