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Friday, March 28, 2014

Scurvy Free Boating

I'm still in a foul mood with the banks and I doubt I will ever change my mind until it stops costing us money to use the gluttonous-slave-driving-unscrupulous-harpies, who pass themselves off like the smiling cute, little pink, chunky cherub-faced piggy banks of our childhood... back when loaning your money to the bank in the form of a savings account earned you income...
Savers unite!!

But moving along to something productive and beneficial - and rewarding - and healthy - and something I have control over changing...
One of the 5-gallon containers we have on board
Jim, Carolyne and I combined our energy and made a large batch of Kimchi in one of our 5 gallon food grade containers. It takes a lot of washing, tons of grating and a boo-coo oodles of smashing down - but it is totally worth the effort when you taste the fermented crunchy veggie outcome. And fermented veggies are super healthy for your digestive system. We have made sauerkraut aboard in smaller batches and it has lasted un-refrigerated for several months. Fermented veg is a great boat food, especially for long passages or for cruising areas where vegetables cost too much money... and both apply in our case as we prepare to cross to the Marquesas from Puerto Vallarta!
A sink full of scrubbed veggies
Kimchi is high in vitamins and a rich source of probiotics - the lactobacilli and enzymes benefit digestion and help to promote healthy gut bacteria. Kimchi is nutrient rich - a superfood. There are a number of wonderful internet sites for Kimchi recipes, but we just threw together what we could find locally. And we didn't really measure out our ingredients - we just added what looked pretty together.

The important factor in successfully fermenting your Kimchi is to make sure that your crunchy veggies are submerged under the liquid. We did not use a brine or vinegar - we relied on the bacteria in the vegetables to do the fermenting all by themselves and mixed in sea salt to draw out the juices from the veg.

Hotspur's Kimchi includes:
Cabbage, red radish, carrot, white onion, bean sprouts, garlic, serrano chilis and black sesame seeds... and sea salt.. We don't add water... but some recipes do. We don't add sugar - some recipes do. We don't add meat or seafood - some recipes do.

How we made our Kimchi:

First, we washed our carrots, radishes and serrano chilis with fresh water and scrubbed with a veggie brush. We chopped off the ends and cut out any bad spots. We opted to slice our radishes thin and julienne our carrots thin. We used a mandoline slicer so that our veggies were cut virtually the same thin-ness. (I'll be honest with the mandolin slicer - it works great as long as you don't slice a limb off in the process, but I have only used it when making large batches of something... salsas and coleslaw to my memory. In fact, I so often just slice my veggies with a knife so I almost got rid of the slicer... until Carolyne made homemade potato chips. It's a keeper! And so is she!)
My little helper!
To prepare the cabbage, we removed the outer leaves or any leaves that were damaged. I sliced with a large knife - that seemed easier to me and seems less messy than shredding (which sends bits of cabbage flying everywhere). We used a salad spinner to wash the cut cabbage and remove the rinse water - works great!

We added a couple salad spinner bowls of cabbage, handful or two of radish, julienned carrot and onion, sliced garlic - and we began pushing the roughage down into the container with a large, heavy wooden pole. We'd toss in some bean sprouts, black sesame seeds and more cabbage and continue with the pressing (or smashing!). And repeat. And repeat some more. We opted for more garlic and less chili pepper because Carolyne requested that we not make it too spicy.

We put our air tight lid on the container and then stored it in the shower - where it is cooler and dark. Everyday we check our Kimchi to make sure the roughage is submersed in the juices. If it's not, we pack it down better. Sometimes, a plate with something heavy on top of it helps to keep the veg below the liquid.
It starts off dry. As you add a little salt and begin the pressing process it gets juicy.
After just one day we can already taste the fermentation process doing its job. In about a week the flavors should be intermingling and we'll be eating a side of delicious Kimchi with every meal. Scurvy free living.
Black sesame seeds are a nice addition


  1. This looks great. Loved your comment about the mandoline. We had one in the land house -- where I sliced the end of my finger off while making coleslaw. We both agreed that if I couldn't handle in on shore, we weren't going to have me try it on a moving boat. Looks like I'll be slicing.

  2. Wow,
    Super cool Meri as always. Wish I was around to try some. I will just have to try it myself.

  3. Great idea for veggies after all the fresh stuff is gone!
    Sail Away Girl

  4. Meri, this is BRILLIANT. Thanks for sharing all the details. I can't believe that it never occurred to me - kimchi is the perfect way to keep crunchy veg for the long haul! Sharing this on Totem's FB page. LOVE!!

  5. So sorry you had such a maddening experience with the bank (can relate), but how lucky for your crew - and all of us that you channeled your frustration in such a good way.
    Thanks for sharing your Kimchi recipe - the benefits, and easy-to-understand-and-follow instructions. We will make this during our transPacific passage. It's now known as "Meri's Kimchi"
    Keep the posts coming. We love your blog. Ellen