I got lots of kale in my CSA Box throughout the summer and am still getting kale as we go into fall. Throughout the summer, I made plenty of pesto and salads with kale (including massaged kale salad), but as I got more and more kale each week, I started to think of other ways I could use this healthy leafy green vegetable. I thought, why not make Kale Kimchi? Kale is tougher and more fibrous than Napa Cabbage, the typical leafy vegetable that kimchi is made with. I wasn’t sure how kimchi made with kale would turn out, but that’s what I love about experimenting in the kitchen.
I stripped the kale leaves of their stems, salted them and left them in a bowl overnight on my kitchen counter top. The next day, I mixed up a spicy red pepper paste with garlic, onion and ginger, and coated all the kale leaves, then put everything in a jar. After 24 hours of fermentation at room temperature, I put the jar in the refrigerator to chill. What resulted was a tangy, spicy kimchi with a chewier texture than napa cabbage kimchi. Although I didn’t mind the chewier texture of this kale kimchi, I might try it in Korean Kimchi Soup to soften up this vegetable.
Kimchi is a fermented food, much like miso, soy sauce, kosher sour pickles, sauerkraut, cheese, sourdough bread, beer, wine and yogurt. Last week, I posted a recipe for Red Radish Kimchi and talked about the process of fermentation and the health benefits. Although health food stores now carry a wider variety of fermented foods, it’s so easy to make your own at home and a lot less expensive. The New York Times actually ran an article last week featuring fermented foods. Interestingly enough, Momofuku has a test kitchen where they’ve been experimenting with all different sorts of fermented foods of the future (e.g., miso made with nuts). There’s even a Harvard microbiologist, Rachel Dutton, who has been working with chefs and food artisans to study the microbial communities of different fermented foods and how they create distinctive flavors and aromas.
So what’s the fuss behind fermented foods? Fermented foods are believed to help promote good gut health as well as support the immune system by helping to replenish the good bacteria in the gut. According to Dr. Hyman, there are 500 species and 3 pounds of bacteria in your gut that help keep your body healthy. A healthy balance of good bacteria (e.g., lactobacillus, bifidobacteria) is critical to maintain good health. I believe this is true as my youngest son had gut issues over a year ago, which caused severe abdominal pain and eczema, but were resolved by replenishing his gut with probiotics.
So, not only are fermented foods full of umami, interesting textures and flavors, but they’re also good for you. When you combine the process of fermentation with a Kale, a power food, you get Kale Kimchi – a Power Fermented Food!
Today, I’m sharing a Kale Kimchi recipe for this week’s Food Network Fall Fest event where Kale is being featured. Each week through the fall season, a group of talented bloggers will be featuring a recipe using fresh fall produce that’s in season.
Be sure to check out the following recipes from all my friends participating in this week’s Fall Fest!
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Kale Kimchi
Bacon and Souffle: Roasted Carrot Salad With Baby Kale
From My Corner of Saratoga: Pork, Kale and White Bean Soup
Feed My Phoebe: Kale Salad With Bagna Cauda Vinaigrette
Cooking With Elise: Risotto With Tuscan Kale
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Kale and Rainbow Chard Salad With Peaches, Blackberries and Pine Nuts
Thursday Night Dinner: Linguine With Purple Kale and Italian Sausage
FN Dish: The Rise of the Kale Chip
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