Vegan kimchi: lazy and cheap fermentation for all

 

kimchi is made by lacto-fermentation of vegetables, the same process that creates sauerkraut and traditional dill cucumber/tomatoes pickles. In the first stage, the cabbage is soaked in a salty solution that kills off harmful bacteria. In the second stage, the remaining Lactobacillus bacteria (the great one) convert sugars into lactic acid, which preserves the vegetables and gives them that wonderful, tangy flavor. (If you want to learn more about fermentation, I recommend the site nicrunicuit.fr)

The traditional coreean recipe of kimchi is richer than mine. But I did it my style: easy and fast and most important is cheap.
It means that you and your family can make kimchi your own, as me. Rely on your own sense of smell and taste and you’ll end up with a fine batch.
So, what I did:

-take a big cabbage (or 2 smaller), any cabbage. I did first with Asian cabbage but the regular cabbages are great too. For 2 big jars I need around 1,2 -> 1, 5kg cabbage
-4-5 greens onion (scallions) or more, and some garlic. Not too much garlic 🙂 so I use only 3-5 cloves.
-2 asian radishes. But this springtime I used some small red one and during the winter 2 small red betroots and that was the best version!!
-ginger root, the dimension of my 2 fingers, peeled and minced.
-hot pepper powder. I didn’t have so I added some red hot peppers, cut very small, and that’s it. First I used 2 red peppers, was great, next time I exaggerated with 10 red peppers – was great but I ate slower as usual 😀 , so probably I will use only 4-5 🙂
-salt for pickles, around 4-5 spoons. Sea salt is great, not one with chemicals (free of iodine and anti-caking agents, which can inhibit fermentation)). Kusher salt is best. The salt is the key ingredient. I could add more, after testing the cabbage.
-an apple (to replace the usual sugar recommended)
-is not mandatory but it is great to add 2-3 large carrots peeled, thinly julienned, specially where is not red beetroot (for colour).
I cut the cabbage (robot rules), add salt and toss ans squise with the hands 2-3 minutes. Because of the pression and of the salt some water is produce. Let to stay for several hours under the pression of a plate.
Cut the onions, radishes (or red beetroots), apple on the robot too. Add on top of the cabbage.
Mince the garlic with hot peppers and ginger, on robot, until are almost like a paste. Add on top of all and mix.

Put on clean jars (reused, of course 🙂 ) and press with the hand until there is not too much air. Add the little water that cabbage let it away because of the salt and pressure. If there is not enough water, add some distilled (not with chlorinated water because can inhibit fermentation)
From this amount of ingredients I produce 2 jars of 1l and still have a little extra, that I ate as a spicy salad 🙂

Keep several days in a warm place (kitchen) – on the winter I keep for 5 days, now is around 23-25degrees so I keep only for 3 days, until start to see the fermentations: small bubbles inside the jar, then put the jars in the fridge – or eat. Because I use cabbage cut small on the kitchen robot, the fermentation is going faster.
Some keep for 6 months, but not me, I prefer to do another another bunch next month. Every time there is another proportion, another flavour so I love it.

 

Total time spend: around 15min to cut all, 5 min to the final mix, to fill the jars and close it, and I have 2 big jars for several weeks.
Costs:  less than 3 euro, because scallions and  and ginger are from my garden. kimchi

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How to choose a container to plant on the terrace.

How to choose a container for gardening

 

Well, depends of what do you want to plant. Read at first what are recommendations for any of the plants: spinach or strawberries needs only 20 cm deep soil, ginger with 10cm soil can manage, but carrots or horseradish need deep soil.
For mainly plants: flowers, beans, spinach, condiments etc. I found the best on: wood boxes. These I have it for free from Colruyt, in the wine section. I just ask the employees if they give for free, some are very friendly and generous to clean the stock of garbage 🙂 some not.
The wood boxes are not perfect and have lot of holes/spaces so I covered the bottom of the box with a plastic to not loose completely the water and the soil. Only the bottom,ok?
But you can use any containers: ceramics, plastic, ex food recipients (there are 5l boxes for seeds or for olives/pickles ), plastic bags or fabric bags, just add some holes to . if there are not, to let the bottom to breath and lose extra water.

So, I have free containers. Free soil (compost bin on my balcony). For who has not, there are public compost bins, try to see if there are available to “harvest”.
Or you can buy. Plants in containers need a well-drained soil rich in organic matters. Garden soil should be avoided because is likely to contain weeds. As fertiliser I use the water diluted from compost bin.

What did you say about free seeds? not complicated: I use the seeds from germinating sets, or any organic beans. Or share with friends.
Easiest is to buy small plants.

Ok, what plants? Well, depends of the weather, sun exposure, space, etc. Small beans are better for balconies than high beans. zero sun but a lot of light? green leaves are perfect: spinach, cabbages, mint, rosemary, salads, rucolla etc you see, there are many possibilities.
The simple “cut-and-come-again” type of harvesting for salad mix/rucolla/spinach in containers provides a longer harvest season. Use mixed seeds and sow directly into a container. As the leaves grow, cut individual leaves for use. The plant will continue to grow and produce leaves even after several cuttings. Seed suppliers now provide ranges of mixed salad leaf seed for this purpose.

 

Fruity water – flavoured drink and no buy soda

Beautiful Fruit-Infused Waters To Drink Instead Of Soda
Beautiful Fruit-Infused Waters To Drink Instead Of Soda

The summer arrived in Brussels so any cold drink is really welcomed.
This time I want to propose one homemade, effort 1 min, almost zero calories: fruity water.

I grab a hand of strawberries (this is what I have, but can be tried with different fruits), a lemon (slices), and some mint leaves (from my balcony): add with ice and water in my blender, and several seconds mix. The final product is fresh, cold, zero sugar added (only natural fructose from fruits) and ready to drink.
Enjoy.

Before to have a blender I was doing the same without blending, just wait several hours to mix the flavours thanks to the natural effect of osmoses. Just add some ice cubes before to drink. I tried various combinations with:
-mint leaves
-rose flowers
– elder flowers
-lavender
-orange with blueberries
-watermelon + mint
-lemon + cucumber + mint
-orange + cilantro
-rosemary + grapefruit

P.S. Brussels has a tap water good to consume. However, it is a lot of calcaire so I filter with a brita filter.  You see, another reason for me to not buy water in plastic bottles and definitely no soda for us.

Ginger – a plant that can be grown in a pot indoor

Ginger is a herbaceous perennial which grows annual stems over a meter tall.We consume only the rhizome = the root and is famous as spice but as medicine effect. Because is originate from south Asia, under 10 degrees  Celsius (50 F) don’t keep it outside.

I start the ginger plant by planting a root bought from a shop. I choose a healthy ginger root  with eye,  that have started to turn green, probably organic,  because it developed alone by mistake.

Ginger plants love light shadow , in high-quality, well-draining soil so no clay one.

I add my root in a pot around 20 cm deep, planted 2-3 pieces of root around 5 cm each, in a  plastic pot but terra cotta is great too. Just attention to have enough of drainage holes.

The leaves are decorative, same to be quite similar to bamboo plants (as colour or shape of the leaves)

 

I started to harvest after more than a half years. How? just lift the ginger root from the soil, break a small piece, without impacting the branches or places with green eyes.  The other part I covered back with soil and continue as nothing happen.

Once we left for 2 weeks, in holiday, and forgot to water. The leaves where dead, a little upset for me, because there were 1m tall, but after several weeks of watering they recover.

Yep, fresh ginger with zero costs is easy to have.

DIY Bee wrap and stop using the aluminium/plastic to pack food

 

 

Bee wax wrap is a square of fabric treated with wax, used to cover the cheeze/bread/sandwich/dishes as any aluminum paper. Just is reusable and bio-degradable.
The prices are quite big, but we can do it at home in 5-10 minutes.
I done first following this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eybWIBCY000
Add a fabric in the oven, add bee wax everywhere on the fabric, and keep 5 minutes in the oven at 90degrees.

To clean: wash with water, manually. Don’t add in the washing machine, will destroy all the clothes and the machine too.

Recommended to contact with bread/vegetables/cheese, but not with fresh meat/fish (risk of contamination).

 

Where to buy bulk, in Brussels

First idea to buy bulk is to go to local markets, but there are a lot of shops that accept to buy in your bags. I made a list with places where I buy in my bags or my friends.

LOCAL MARKETS, BRUSSELS

Saturday at Stockel or Place Saint Lambert (morning)
Wednesday afternoon at Gribaumont, Square de Meudon (morning)
Tuesday after noon in place Luxembrug (expensive)
Sunday at marché de la gare du midi (morning)
Friday, Suterday and Sunday at metro Clemenceau (I think is the cheapest, but I found only 3 producers) (morning)
Sunday in Watermal Boisfort
Sunday morning at Place Jourdan
Wednesday – Place du ChĂątelain – never visited. On the list
Tuesday in the morning in place Dailly.

Online and real shops zero waste:

(http://almasana.be/) Cirkle : fresh food and condiment (https://www.cirkle.be/fr) Lili Bulk : home delivery or in Point relay (www.lili-bulk.com/)
Groups to buy from local producers http://www.gasap.be/spip.php?page=carte
BioShop Bruxelles: Rue des Chartreux 66, 1000 Bruxelles (http://www.bioshop.be/)
Chyl : Rue de Belle-Vue 62, 1000 Bruxelles (http://www.chyl.be/fr/)
Dame Nature City 2 : City 2 Etage-1, Rue Neuve 16, 1000 Bruxelles   – to try.
(http://www.damenature.be/fr)
FĂ€rm Sainte Catherine : Quai au Bois Ă  BrĂ»ler, 43 ; 1000 Bruxelles – love it (http://www.farmstore.be/fr/index.php)
Marché Bio des Tanneurs, Huidevettersstraat 58, 1000 Bruxelles (http://terrabio.be/)  -too far away for me
Natural Corner : Rue de l’Escalier 1, 1000 Bruxelles (http://www.naturalcorner.be/)
Roots Store : Avenue Michel-Ange 45, 1000 Bruxelles (https://www.facebook.com/rootsbruxelles/ : ouverture en mars 2017)
Super Green Me – The Ecoshop : Rue Van Artevelde 10, 1000 Bruxelles (http://www.supergreenme.be/) – to try
La porte de la tortue, Rue Saint Ghislain 2, 1000 Bruxelles
Noix et moi: Rue de Rollebeek 9, 1000 Bruxelles
Avenue Louis Bertrand 25, 1030 Bruxelles (http://www.lesideesalapelle.com/)
Le thym frais, ChaussĂ©e d’Helmet 184, 1030 Schaerbeek
Vegetaria, ChaussĂ©e d’Helmet 280, 1030 Schaerbeek
Be Positive: Place Jourdan 26, 1040 Etterbeek (http://www.be-positive.be/) -lovely
FĂ€rm Etterbeek: Rue de Linthout, 176 ; 1040 Etterbeek (http://www.farmstore.be/fr/index.php)  – . There are several shops
La Saga : Avenue de la Chevalerie 9, 1040 Etterbeek (http://www.lasaga.be/)
Transistore : rue de Pervyse 68, 1040 Etterbeek (http://www.transistore.be/ – ouverture mi-fĂ©vrier 2017)
Belgomarkt : Rue de Dublin 19, 1050 Ixelles (http://belgomarkt.be/) -close to my job
Bio Shanti : Avenue Adolphe Buyl 70, 1050 Ixelles (http://bioshanti.be/)  – not anymore close to my job
ChĂąt Soeurs DĂ©lices : Place du ChĂątelain 47, 1050 Bruxelles (http://chat-soeurs-delices.be/) La Grainerie: Rue de Tenbosch 112, 1050 Bruxelles (https://www.facebook.com/lagraineriebxl/)  – to check
Label Green: 71 Rue Alphonse Renard ; 1050 Ixelles (http://www.label-green.be/)
Le Magasain: Chaussée de Vleurgat 287, 1050 Ixelles (http://www.lemagasain.be/)
Stock: Place Fernand Cocq 23, 1050 Ixelles (http://www.facebook.com/Stock)
Tan shop : rue de l’Aqueduc 95, 1050 Ixelles 02/537.87.87 (http://www.tanclub.org/ ) Vegasme : ChaussĂ©e de Waterloo 367, 1050 Bruxelles (http://vegasme.be/)
1060 – Saint Gilles
Almata : Rue d’Albanie 80, 1060 Bruxelles (https://www.facebook.com/almatafood/) Manuka : Rue du fort 1, 1060 Bruxelles (http://www.biomanuka.be/)
La petite épicerie bio : Chaussée de Waterloo 42, 1060 Saint-Gilles (https://www.facebook.com/La-petite-Epicerie-227398700729441/)
Super Monkey : Rue de Tamines 18, 1060 Bruxelles (https://www.facebook.com/Super-Monkey-668111830014082/)
Alimentation GĂ©niale : Avenue de la Porte de Hal 1, 1060 Saint-Gilles www.lheureuxnouveau.be Bio c’ bon : ChaussĂ©e de Charleroi, 18, 1060 Saint-Gilles
Day by Day : Avenue Paul Dejaer, 29, 1060 St Gilles ( http://daybyday-shop.com/magasin/bruxelles )
Épicerie de la Ferme Nos Pilifs : Trassersweg 347, 1120 Neder-over-Heembeek
Sequoia : Rue de l”Eglise 101, 1150 Bruxelles (http://www.sequoiashop.com) -went several time, I spend my ecocheques there. There are several shops Sequia (Stockel, Watermal-Boisfort too)
Le relais du Triporteur : Rue Middelbourg 120 et 124, 1170 Boitsfort (http://le-relais-du-triporteur.be/)
Bio Vrac : ChaussĂ©e d’Alsemberg 381, 1180 Uccle (https://www.facebook.com/Biovrac-815854138534226) FĂ€rm Bascule: Rue Vanderkindere, 546 ; 1180 Uccle (http://www.farmstore.be/fr/index.php)
Bio c’ bon : ChaussĂ©e d’Alsemberg 676-678, 1180 Uccle
L’épi : Rue du DoyennĂ© 40, 1180 Uccle (coopĂ©rative)