08 July 2011
Sunja's Kimchi: Health in a Jar
A buzz word? Something made up by the yogurt industry? I mean, who's ever heard of good bacteria? Doesn't bacteria = bad? Something you don't want in your body? A couple years ago I hadn't even heard the word probiotic let alone know what it means.
I've learned a lot in the last year, though, and these days I'm a big fan of good microbes. One thing I've learned is that while yogurt can be great (as long as it doesn't have a ton of sugar added), there are a lot of other foods that are full of live cultures that will do your body good.
One of those foods is kimchi. It's basically Korea's version of sauerkraut...yet it's totally different than sauerkraut. Kimchi is fermented vegetables, usually with cabbage as a base, but it can really be any mixture of vegetables and seasonings--just prepared in a certain way.
Someday I will try to make my own kimchi, but for now, I'm happy to buy it by the jar. I've found a brand that I really like that is reasonably priced. I'm no connoisseur, so I'm definitely open to suggestions for other brands.
If you live near a Whole Foods you can find this brand. International markets would also be great places to find it.
As the label suggests, you can eat kimchi in many ways:
My guess is that the best kimchi is homemade, by someone from Korea. If only there were someone from Korea at my house... (this is funny if you know me and my roommates because one of my roommates is from Korea. But she grew up in Arkansas.)
This time, I decided to try it wrapped up in a nori roll. I loved it. I usually like to eat it right out of the jar or on top of spinach or other greens. It's good mixed with rice, quinoa and other grains too.
You should know, though, that if you eat kimchi around other people, they might comment about the garlic smell. They might tell you that you should stop bringing it to work because it's rude to bring foods that have a strong smell to work. Not that I've experienced this or anything...
Ok fine, I have, in fact, experienced food persecution at work. But I held strong in the face of adversity and told her that, while I was sorry that she felt that way, I would most likely continue to bring kimchi to work.
After all, I like the taste and it's got a lot of probiotics and it's just too difficult to choose my lunches according to whether or not they smell too strongly to certain people.
Kimchi tastes good and is good for you.
Try it. Embrace the smell. Fill up on beneficial microorganisms.