How to ferment your own veggies!

Next in our probiotics series, all about making your own fermented vegetables. One of my favorite fermented condiment to make is kimchi. Kimchi is a Korean fermented vegetable condiment that is spicy and sour (and a little funky). It’s typically made with Napa cabbage, some kind of root vegetable like carrot or radish, chile paste and onion. I like to use is as a topping for stir fries and steamed vegetables – anything where you want to add some heat.

Home-made Kimchi Recipe:

Here is what you’ll need:
About one head of cabbage (Napa or regular), chopped (put aside 2 or 3 of the large outside leaves)
1 small carrot, peeled and shredded
1 tsp chile paste or ground cayenne pepper
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
A large mixing bowl

A large jar or container for fermenting – do not use stainless steel or plastic. I use half gallon or full gallon glass mason jars. They also sell ceramic crocks that you can use for fermenting, but those are pretty pricy.
A small piece of cheesecloth and rubber band that fits over your jar.

Something to weigh down your ferment – 2 options are a ziploc bag filled with water or a small mason jar filled with beans.

Now let’s make some kimchi…
Combine all of the ingredients into a bowl and massage with your hands. You’ll want to do this for at least 5 minutes, until the cabbage starts releasing water. You want to release as much water from the veggies as possible.

Pack the mixture into your jar. Make sure there aren’t any large air bubbles. The mixture needs to be completely submerged in liquid. If is isn’t submerged, make a quick brine solution by mixing 2 cups of water with an additional 1/2 tsp sea salt. Cover the mixture with the large leaves you set aside, and put the weight on top. Cover the top of the jar with cheesecloth and rubber band.

Store the jar at room temperature for about 5-7 days. It should begin to produce little air bubbles, this means that the fermentation has begun. At 5 days begin to taste your kimchi. The longer you let it ferment, the more sour it gets – so continue tasting it until it tastes good to you. Don’t worry if there is mold or scum on top, this is called bloom and is completely normal. It’s just surface mold and won’t contaminate the kimchi, just skim it off. If you keep your house pretty cool it could take more than 7 days.

When it’s finished fermenting, put into a clean jar and store in your fridge for up to 6 months.

It’s basically the same process to ferment other veggies too! Get creative! In the photograph I’m also showing a traditional cabbage sauerkraut and a red cabbage apple kraut.

Fizzy, sweet & sour

healthadekombuchaHave you tried kombucha yet? It’s fizzy, sweet and sour. I love it, and it’s grown super popular over the last few years.

What exactly is kombucha? Basically, it’s fermented tea. You make it by using tea, water, sugar and something called a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast). The SCOBY eats the sugar and activates the fermentation process. Thus, a fully fermented kombucha should not have high levels of sugar.

Because it is a fermented beverages, there are some health benefits to drinking kombucha. Kombucha has been used for thousands of years to help aid digestion and boost immunity. It’s full of probiotics, which as we learned last week, restore a healthy balance to your gut.

These days, you can find kombucha in almost all grocery stores. There is a huge variety available now. You’ll want to look for a brand that is Certified Organic, non-GMO, raw and has no added sugars.

Recently, I was introduced to the Health-Ade brand of kombucha, and it’s now of one my favorites. Their pomegranate flavor is my absolute favorite, and they just introduced a line of kombucha “Super-Teas” that contain superfoods like spirulina, maca root and mangosteen. I also like that they brew their kombucha in small batches, they only use fresh organic cold-pressed juices and they don’t add any extra sugar or chemicals. You can find it in most Whole Foods grocers in the west US.

If you are already a kombucha drinker what is your favorite kind? Have you ever tried to brew you’re own kombucha?

5 Foods that Naturally Detox the Body

After a long winter of indulging in heavy, rich comfort foods, spring can be great time to reset your body. The good news is that it’s pretty easy to cleanse your body eating fresh, satisfying foods that promote detoxification in your body. Try working these foods into your regular diet this spring – no special trips to the health food store required – all of these foods can be found at your local grocery store.

IMG_0086Lemons – Lemons are a great source of vitamin C, which helps boost immunity. Drinking a large glass of lemon water in the morning rehydrates you after your night’s rest, alkalizes your body, and flushes your digestive system.

Dark Leafy Greens – Greens are loaded with loaded in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, zinc, and vitamins A, C, E and K. Eating or drinking greens also boosts chlorophyll levels in your digestive tract, which helps your body get rid of environmental toxins like air pollution that we breathe.

Beets – This vibrantly colored vegetable is one of the most effective foods to eat to detoxify the liver. Plus, it is a powerful antioxidant and is full of magnesium, iron, zinc and calcium.

Ginger – Ginger is also a friend to your liver, and aiding it (along with your colon and other digestive organs) in flushing out waste from your body. It also cleanses the body by stimulating digestion and circulation.

Whole Grains – Choose whole grains over processed and refined grains. Whole grains are high in insoluble fiber, which keeps you regular. If you are trying the flush the body of toxins, you do want want to be bloated or constipated.

Glow Green Juice Recipe8d6b6-img_0679

Add to your juicer:
3 Kale leaves
1 granny smith apple
1/2 cucumber
3 stalks celery
1/2 lemon
1 inch piece of ginger