Written by Silvia Rossi, Food and Chefs Network Coordinator at the Closing Loops project

If you are a curious explorer of world cuisine like me, you will have come across Kimchi, an intriguing South Korean fermented veggie mix, typically spiced with garlic, ginger and red chilli. If you haven’t come across it, be careful: Once you try it you may not be able to stop. That would not be advisable, actually, because if you’re not used to it, your body may need time to get used to it or refuse it all together. This is true for all fermented foods. 

But once you have warmed to it, it will open up a new way to spice up your salads, sandwiches, pancakes, omelettes and much more. Many people like kimchi, but the way they eat it may be somewhat limited. Personally, I like to eat it straight from the jar on some bread or on a lentil cake.   

Kimchi and other fermented food can help us out during the season known as the Hungry Gap, every spring when local produce is still in short supply. Until we come to the more abundant summer months, it can enrich dishes in taste, adding variety and nutritional value. 

A bit of knowledge and understanding on this very interesting category of food can go a long way in getting you hooked on why you might want to incorporate it in your diet. More on this is shared in the May 2024 episode of ThrivePOD, North Lancashire’s community food podcast. The episode is titled ‘Fascinating Ferments’ and it hosts Choon Key Chekar, an experienced local kimchi-maker, and ‘master fermenter’ Vaso Makri. In the podcast, they explain all about the health benefits of consuming fermented food and also touch on the question many people have: ‘What to eat them with?’ 

If you’re looking for answers and would like to try a taster, the Closing Loops project is hosting cooking demos at Lancaster’s Midsummer Market on Friday 14 June from 11.30am to 2.30pm. There you can learn more about kimchi, get your free tasters and pick up recipe cards so you can try making your own kimchi as a fun activity with friends. 

The cooking demos will be led by Global Village Cafe chefs Alla and Amina. Global Village Cafe is a local catering company that supports refugees and asylum seekers in finding meaningful employment. Their chefs represent many different countries and cultures and the dishes are inspired by their varied heritage.

Along with the food cooked by them, a variety of different types of home-made kimchi – yes, there isn’t just one flavour! – will be provided by Choon Key. 

 

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