Tag Archives | salt

Homemade Kimchi

half gallon of kimchi - Food in Jars

I’ve been talking a lot about fancy salts and how to use them in preserving this week. On Tuesday, I shared a recipe for a quick, spicy cucumber pickle (which I’ve been eating non-stop on salads for the last couple days. It’s intensely garlicky and I love it). Today, we’re using some of that gorgeous salt in a batch of kimchi.

shredded kimchi veg - Food in Jars

I came relatively late to the world of kimchi. I’d eat it when at a Korean restaurant, but it wasn’t really something I started seeking out until a couple years ago. At first, I satisfied my kimchi craving by buying packets of the stuff from the Trader Joe’s refrigerator case, but soon found myself going through two or three a week. It was time to start making it myself.

salt and crushed peppers - Food in Jars

I will be the first to say that my technique isn’t the most authentic on the planet. I don’t use rice flour (because I’m lazy and don’t want to add another thing to my pantry) and I pretty much toss whatever vegetables in that I have (there are red radishes in this batch because I had some and wanted to use them up).

I also pack my shredded and seasoned veg into a half gallon jar and let it do its fermenty thing, without airlocks or any kind of weight. I just press it down with a clean hand once a day and keep an eye out for any sort of surface funk.

spiced kimchi veg - Food in Jars

This batch is a combination of shredded napa cabbage, grated carrot and daikon radish, shaved red radish bits, the tops of spring onions, ginger, garlic, grey sea salt, and gochugaru (that’s the Korean red chili powder and this is the only special ingredient I keep around specifically for kimchi making. It’s just not the same without it). Essentially, I combine all the ingredients, knead them together with with clean hands, pack the whole mess into a jar, and let it sit for a while.

tossed kimchi veg - Food in Jars

For those of you who aren’t regular kimchi eaters, let’s talk about to use this spicy, tangy fermented pickle. I scoop a couple forkfuls onto nearly every salad I make. It’s good stirred into soups (carrot or lentil are particularly good vehicles). And it’s miraculous gently warmed and eaten with scrambled eggs (Alana taught me that trick).

How do you eat your kimchi?

PS – For a more authentic recipe, along with everything you want to know about the world of fermenting, I highly suggest you visit my friend Amanda’s blog, Phickle. She’s incredibly knowledgeable and her site is a fantastic resource.

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Giveaway: Foundation Salt Set from The Meadow

Foundation Salt Set - Food in Jars

Salt has forever been an essential ingredient in food preservation. It plays a key role in pickling, whether you’re fermenting or using vinegar, and has also long been used to preserve meat and fish.

As canners, one of the things we often hear is that pickling salt is the only way to go. And while it’s true that it dissolves quickly and doesn’t contain any additives that could discolor your pickles, I believe there are places for a variety of salts in the home preserver’s toolbox.

Fleur de Sel - Food in Jars

For the last few summers, I’ve made all my pickles with fine grain sea salts like this Fleur de Sel from The Meadow. I measure it out by weight in order to ensure that I don’t oversalt my dilly bean and cucumber dills (more on how to swap salts by weight in this post from 2010) and the finished pickles are fabulous and the quality of the brine suffers not at all from the salt substitution.

Sel Gris - Food in Jars

When I want to incorporate chunkier, more mineral-flavored salts like Sel Gris in my preserving, I opt for a batch of Herbs Salees (it’s best done in high summer, when tender herbs can be had for a song). I have a version of salt preserved herbs in my new cookbook, or you can try the technique on Well Preserved. They add incredible flavor to soups and stews.

Flake Salt - Food in Jars

Recently, the folks at The Meadow sent me their Foundation Salt Set (it retails for $40. If that feels too spendy, maybe their Mini Foundation Set at $20 might suit your budget?) and a little jar of deeply smoked sea salt to play with. I’ve been a customer of theirs since 2009, but their inventory is so deep that other that the Fleur de Sel, all the salts were new to me.

I have two pickle recipes going up later this week that feature these interesting salts, so stay tuned for those. However, in the mean time, let’s have a giveaway! The Meadow is offering up one of their Foundation Salt Sets to one lucky Food in Jars reader. Here’s how to enter:

  1. Leave a comment on this post and share a salty tidbit. Do you have a favorite salt? Have you ever tried making your own sea salt? Tell me something about your relationship with salt.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm on Saturday, April 5, 2014. Winners will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, April 6, 2014.
  3. Giveaway open to US residents only.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post.

Disclosure: The Meadow sent me some salt to use and photograph and are also providing a set for the winner of this giveaway. However, they did not pay to be featured here on this blog and all opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone.

Israeli salt from my sister

Israeli salt

Back in January, my younger sister Raina went off on one of those birthright trips to Israel. Before she left, she asked if there was anything she could bring back for me. Never having been to Israel and uncertain about the specialties of the country, I asked for the first thing that popped into my head. Salt. I’m not exactly sure why I thought Israel was a destination for good salt, but off she flew, determined to bring me back some salt.

Raina’s been on tour lately and pulled into Philly late Saturday night, with another musician named Rebecca, a car full of dirty laundry and a plastic take-out container filled with salt, tied up in a small plastic grocery bag. As she handed it over, she apologized, explaining that she didn’t think it was particularly good salt, but it was the best she had been able to find. On one of the last days of the trip, they had gone to an open air market. One man had a table, set with various containers of spices, herbs and finally, salt. The merchant hadn’t spoken any English, but a couple standing next to her helped with the bargaining and she ended up spending the equivalent of $3 American for the squat tub of salt.

israeli-market

Even before I opened it, I told her that more than anything, I appreciated the simple fact that she had kept me in mind while traveling and had added weight to her suitcase with my request. Then I pulled the lid off the container and encountered the most gorgeous, moist, perfect grey salt. I ran to the kitchen and pulled down the jar where I’ve kept my stash of precious grey salt, purchased in a 12 ounce bag for a ridiculous sum. Showing them to her side-by-side, I explained just how well she had done by her foodie sister. She grinned and gave me a hug. I love both my sister and my new supply of Israeli grey salt.

side-by-side-salts

I’ve done some internet searching, and haven’t been able to find out much about salt production in Israel. For all I know, this is French grey salt, imported to the Middle East and then repackaged for sale. If anyone knows more, I’d be happy to be informed!

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