Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sauerkraut a hit!

There  were lots of things to taste on Sunday morning including Kimchee (Korean traditional fermented preserve - thankyou Margi) fermented Diakon radish, cabbage and preserved lemons to marinade our home made olives. Margi also made some pancakes with the Kimchee which were a treat.

I had a lot of questions from the workshop participants including about the safety of eating different fermented foods. One thing i tried to explain is that it is actually much safer to eat food that you have made, have control of and know the history of. You know how the food has been treated and the environment that it has been grown in  - which is much more than we can say about the food we buy. I think we have been convinced by the media or health authorities that what we have done for centuries, and what kept us healthy for centuries is now somehow dangerous and that food we buy is somehow mush safer because it has followed regulations in some mass produced factory? It may take a while to get our confidence back after being told for so many years that new is good and old is contemptable.
Another question which i was asked was if the lactic acid had benefits other than not being a burden on the body to digest. To add to that:
Lactic acid promotes growth of healthy flora throughout the intestines
other benefits of fermented foods include:
The bio-available nutrients in fermented food are five times higher following pre-digestion.
This includes vitamins, minerals, amino acids, antioxidants and the numerous medicinal compounds found in food.
Digestive enzymes are a huge benefit as are antibiotic and antcarcinogenic substances found in fermented foods
Lactobacillus produce many of the B group vitamins.

Nourishing Australia has lots of good articles and links if you want to learn more about fermented and other traditional foods. I could spend ages looking at those links. Much of what i have learned about fermented food come from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. I had decided to buy it after reading a copy at the local organic shop- and then was given it by a relative. Enthralling reading - the click thing doesn't work by the way.

Now the recipe below isn't fermented but its simple and delicious and a friend asked for it so here it is - for those of you lucky enough to have limes falling on thr ground.


This recipe originally came from Ansty …….. I was never all that fussed about lime pickle before I tried this pickle – and now I am sadly addicted and am probably using it with far too many meals. Of course it is great with curries!

30 limes (we used 60 small ones)

1&1/2 cups salt (we used uncrushed, iodised sea salt)

½ cup Fennel

½ to 1 cup Chilli Powder

½ cupCoriander

½ cupTumeric

1 cup of Mustard seed Black or brown

2-3 cups of Mustard seed oil

Dee- pip and cut up limes thinly. Add salt. Sit for 2 weeks, stirring once a day.

After two weeks add about ½ cup of each the fennel, tumeric, coriander and chilli

(In my recipe I ground all the seeds but some people have left the fennel seeds whole). Stir well and leave for one week, stirring daily (taste after a couple of days to see whether it is the right flavour for you). Heat up mustard seeds in small amount of oil till they go ‘pop’ and release their flavour. Then cover the seeds with about 2 -3 cups of mustard seed oil (you want enough to cover your pickle yet not to much). Let it heat yet not bubble. Pour over pickle and stir well. Leave for a day or two to settle, stirring daily and of course testing for yumminess. Jar up and enjoy!

Even with I cup of chilli – this pickle doesn’t seem to be all that hot. I also made the pickle without any chilli and its still great.


  1. We have been making kimchee and another batch of sauerkraut this week and are looking forward trying the kimchee out as we did it a little differently this year. Wish I could have attended the workshop, it sounds like a lot of fun and I'm sure I would have learned something new.

    You said that "It may take a while to get our confidence back after being told for so many years that new is good and old is contemptable". That is so very true, a sad state of affairs. It is very good that there are people like you out there to help share the the forgotten ways with others.

  2. Hi mr H. It was a bit of fun - and rewarding to be able to share with people. I hope some of them go on to learn a lot more about fermented foods.
    I haven't tried making my own Kimchee yet - i'm not a big chili eater. Do you think it would taste ok without Chili? I do have some chinese cabbages and i'll probably pick another one this weekend.

  3. We have made it with very little chili powder at all before. The ginger and cabbage are what really makes it taste good in my opinion. We also add a bit of radicchio leaf and red amaranth for color and flavor variation upon occasion.

  4. Well based on your taste recommendations, i think i'll try some this weekend! Mr H., I know you live in a cool climate - where do you end up storing your fermented preserves?

  5. Our Kimchee ends up in the fridge after fermenting in the kitchen for a week or two where it is good for at least two months and the sauerkraut is enjoyed fresh for as long as possible, sometimes months before either being water bath canned or put in the fridge. Because it is very cool around here in the fall and winter it takes a little longer for the fermentation process to finalize...which is good because we can take our time with all of it.

    We have been making our sauerkraut with a mix of kholrabi and cabbage this year and really like it that way. Good luck with your kimchee.

  6. OK Chris, hadn't planned on it taking that long to make a bit of relish. I'd better start today if I'm to have it ready to bring some up to Alice. Wish me luck!

  7. Righto Mr. H. I was just wondering if you had an alternative to the fridge going on there. Captain cook aparrently kept sauerkraut on his ship for 2 years in barrels and used it to stop people getting Scurvey. i wonder how he kept it for so long unrefrigerated? - maybe a lot more salt?

    I have grown Kohi rabi here before and have enjoyed it - although we can't save the seed from it as the pests get to it over summer.

    good luck with the lime pickle- can't wait to taste it. i promise you it is worth the effort. That one could be my all time favourite pickle!