I truly believe that food can be the best medicine.
Remember that 85%+ of your immune system and your resistance to most all disease is the microbes in the mucous coating of your gastrointestinal system.
The microbes job is to keep bad bugs and poisons out of your bloodstream while maximizing your assimilation of nutrients.
What is KimChi?
Kimchi also spelled kimchee or gimchi, is a traditional fermented Korean side dish made of vegetables with a variety of seasonings. In traditional preparation, kimchi was stored underground in jars to keep cool during the summer months and unfrozen during the winter months. There are hundreds of varieties of kimchi made from napa cabbage, radish, scallion, or cucumber as a main ingredient. The term ji was used until the pre-modern terms chimchae, dimchae, and timchae were adopted in the period of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. The word then was modified into jimchi, and is currently kimchi.
Kimchi is made of various vegetables and contains a high concentration of dietary fiber while being low in calories. One serving also provides over 50% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C and carotene. Most types of kimchi contain onions, garlic, ginger, and chilli peppers, all of which are beneficial to your health. The vegetables used in kimchi also contribute to its overall nutritional value. Kimchi is rich in vitamin A, thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), calcium, and iron and contains lactic acid bacteria.
Red chili pepper flakes are now used as the main ingredient for spice and source of heat for many varieties of kimchi. In the twelfth century other spices, creating flavors such as sweet and sour, and colors, such as white and orange, were added
White kimchi is seasoned without chili pepper and is neither red in color nor spicy. White radish kimchi is another example of a kimchi that is not spicy.
This process produces carbon dioxide and acids which rapidly lower the pH and inhibit the development of undesirable micro-organisms. The carbon dioxide produced replaces the oxygen, making the environment anaerobic.
Lactic acid bacteria carry out their reactions - the conversion of carbohydrate to lactic acid plus carbon dioxide and other organic acids - without the need for oxygen. They are described as microaerophilic as they do not utilize oxygen. Because of this, the changes that they effect do not cause drastic changes in the composition of the food.
Shredded cabbage or other suitable vegetables are placed in a jar and salt is added. Mechanical pressure is applied to the cabbage to expel the juice, which contains fermentable sugars and other nutrients suitable for microbial activity. The first micro-organisms to start acting are the gas-producing cocci (L. Mesenteroides). These microbes produce acids. Finally, L. pentoaceticus continues the fermentation, bringing the acidity to 2 to 2.5% thus completing the fermentation.
The end products of a normal kraut fermentation are lactic acid along with smaller amounts of acetic and propionic acids, a mixture of gases of which carbon dioxide is the principal gas, small amounts of alcohol and a mixture of aromatic esters. The acids, in combination with alcohol form esters, which contribute to the characteristic taste of sauerkraut. The acidity helps to control the growth of spoilage and putrefactive organisms and contributes to the extended shelf life of the product. Changes in the sequence of desirable bacteria, or indeed the presence of undesirable bacteria, alter the taste and quality of the product.
The optimum temperature for sauerkraut fermentation is around 70º F. A variation of just a few degrees from this temperature alters the activity of the microbial process and affects the quality of the final product.
Salt plays an important role in initiating the process and affects the quality of the final product. The addition of too much salt may inhibit the desirable bacteria, although it may contribute to the firmness of the cabbage. The principle function of salt is to withdraw juice from the cabbage (or other vegetable), thus making a more favorable environment for development of the desired bacteria.
For Kimchi the prepared cabbage is placed in a salt solution (8-15%) for two to seven hours in order increase the salt content of the cabbage to between 2.0-4.0% (w/w). It is then rinsed several times with fresh water and drained to remove extra water by centrifugation or by allowing to stand.
Generally, salt is added to a final concentration of 2.0 to 2.5%. At this concentration, lactobacilli are slightly inhibited, but cocci are not affected. Unfortunately, this concentration of salt has a greater inhibitory effect against the desirable organisms than against those responsible for spoilage. The spoilage organisms can tolerate salt concentrations up to between 5 and 7%, therefore it is the acidic environment created by the lactobacilli that keep the spoilage bacteria at bay, rather than the addition of salt.
The use of salt brines is not recommended in sauerkraut making, but is common in vegetables that have a low water content. It is essential to use pure salt since salts with added alkali may neutralize the acid.