Farmer's Markets are one of my favorite places to be this time of year. One of the most colorful ingredients I can't resist whenever I go is watermelon radish. The transition of bright to light pink rings of their flesh are like eye candy inside a jar of my potent functional ferment, watermelon radish kimchi.
What Is a Functional Ferment?
By definition, a functional ferment is a fermented food containing functional microorganisms which deliver certain health benefits to those who consume them.1
Some of the studied health benefits of functional ferments include the prevention of:
- gastrointestinal disorders
- cardiovascular disease
- allergic reactions
Functional ferments deliver beneficial probiotics to the body while also delivering antimicrobial and antioxidant compounds. The beneficial bacteria allows the raw food undergoing the process of fermentation to be transformed so that the nutrients present in the food become more bioavailable too. 2, 3, 4
My Showstopper Watermelon Radish Kimchi
I'm happy to say my watermelon radish kimchi falls into the functional ferment category. So, that means it can help with prevention of quite a few symptoms when eaten regularly and in the right dose. As in, a tablespoon of homemade probiotic goodness at a time.
If you suffer from bloating, SIBO, heartburn, gas, or leaky gut, you may want to pass on this recipe for now. But, if you have issues with constipation, diarrhea, leaky gut, blood sugar regulation, weight concerns, or autoimmune disorders, make a batch and may your kimchi be your medicine!
1 large watermelon radish
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
2″ piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red-pepper flakes
1 tablespoon sea salt
Using a mandoline or a very sharp knife, thinly slice the watermelon radish crosswise into coins. Place in a large bowl.
Add the onion, ginger, garlic, pepper flakes, and salt. Using your hands, mix well, vigorously massaging the salt into the vegetables.
Tightly pack the mixture into a widemouthed quart jar. Use your fist or a wooden tamper to press down on the vegetables, forcing out all air bubbles and causing a natural brine to rise up in the jar.
Place a clean, small plate on top of the vegetables, and then set a clean weight (like a jar filled with water) on top to keep the vegetables packed down.
Cover the opening of the jar with a piece of cheesecloth and secure it with a rubber band.
Leave at room temperature (65° to 70°F) to ferment for 7 to 14 days. The fermentation process will occur more slowly if the ambient temperature is at the cooler end of room-temperature range, and more quickly if at the warmer end.
During the first week of fermentation, push down on the weight to force the vegetables under the brine at least once a day. Sometimes it takes a day or two for enough brine to form and completely submerge the vegetables.
The radish kimchi will become more sour and softer the longer it ferments. When it tastes as sour as you prefer, remove the plate and weight, and then scrape off and discard the top layer, which may be covered in a harmless white mold.
Cover the jar with a lid and transfer to the refrigerator, where the kimchi can be stored for months.
Live Ferment Making Demo
Making ferments at home is definitely my preference over store bought ferments. And, it's really not that difficult to do the right way. It just takes a little bit of time and patience.
In fact, I'd love to invite you to watch my new Fermentation Certification Program director Carrie Siadak make some amazing recipes right alongside me in my new training Make It, Don’t Buy It: Why Fermented Foods Made From Home Build the Microbiome Better Than Store-Bought Ferments.
Besides, you do want to know which ferments you should make at home because they have more diverse probiotics to help balance the biome, right?
Create Your Own Functional Ferments
Can't make it to the live training but still want to dive hands first into making your own probiotic rich functional ferments? Go get your hands on my Fermented Foods 101 course and learn how to make 14 of the most healing ferments on the planet.