Thursday, January 31, 2013

Diary of the Kimchee Grenade

If you've been reading my blog for a bit you'll likely know that I dipped my toes into experimenting with naturally fermented products a bit ago with a batch of homemade sauerkraut.  While it was very good I just haven't gotten around to making a second batch or trying my hand at an alternate product.  However, I still very much enjoy naturally fermented products include those in both liquid state (beer and wine) and solid state (pickles, sauerkraut and kimchee).  

So on a not very recent trip to my local Korean mega-grocers, Zion Market, I tossed a small jar of kimchee into my cart for later consumption.  Well, as the world turns days became weeks became a couple months (I think.... sadly I'm not 100% sure when I purchased the kimchee though it definitely wasn't this year).  Any who, as with most naturally fermented products they tend to be very hardy and when refrigerated can last a good while so I kinda forgot about it. 

Well tonight I went to pull something out of my big meat reefer and there was some sort of dried reddish liquid on the top of the container.  I followed the trail up a couple shelves and found one of my buckets of casings was puddled with the same colored liquid.  One more shelf up and in the very tip top back of the reefer I found a gallon jug of hot sauce which I had purchased for my hot links.  My initial thought was the horror of the mostly full jug cracked and piddled on the rest of the fridge as a final middle finger to the world.  Well, as I sifted past some carrots, a half bottle of cheap-ass white wine and lo and behold I ran across a bulging, foaming, sputtering bottle of kimchee.  While we're told not to eat foods from cans that have bulged because of the dangers of botulism naturally fermented products are generally regarded as safe.  You see, the natural part comes from the living lactobacillus bacteria that eat the carbohydrates in the food (in this case cabbage) and fart carbon-dioxide.  That chemical transition is what we like to call fermentation.  However, in this B-flick horror movie gone off the tracks left to it's own devices the bacteria will continue to eat and fat, all the while getting fat and happy.  But.....all that gas has to go somewhere and in the case of this plastic bottle it was slowing forcing it's way out of the lid and down into my fridge.  

I gingerly removed the jar like a bomb tech moving and suspicious package, very gingerly with slow purposeful movements.  I placed the jar on the cutting board and carefully cut away the plastic protective ring, all the while wincing like someone about to have something very unpleasant happen to them.  I had one eye slammed shut and the other barely a slit and slowly, and when I say slowly I mean tortoise-like, started to unscrew the lid.  Each little turn caused an eruption of foam to spit and sputter from under the lid akin to opening a bottle of soda that's been kicked down the block by an unrepentant gorilla.  All the while I'm giggling to myself like a school kid at the absurdity of what I was doing.  Finally I get to the last bitty turn of the lid and the lid just blows the fuck off.  And when I say blows, I mean like.....a.....fucking....bomb!!!!  That shit went EVERYWHERE.  All over my hands, shirt, the cutting board.  Frankly I found chunks of kimchee about 10 feet away.  My wife, who's not a big fan of fermented foods, was horrified.  Man did I get a kick out of the look on her face when I took a big plug of the kimchee and tossed it into my pie-hole and boy of boy was it AWESOME.  Tart, tangy, mildly spicy with just a hint of effervesce.  I can't wait to see how it tastes in a couple more months.   

Lesson to be learned, eat the kimchee faster or put that shit in a Cambro for safe keeping:



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