D-B biology class learns about fermentation by making kimchi

KINGSPORT, TN (WJHL-TV) – Dobyns-Bennett AP Biology and AP English students learned about cellular respiration and fermentation today, by learning how to make kimchi.

Shin Estep, owner of Korean Taco House in downtown Johnson City, taught the students about how fermenting food can change the taste, as well as the overall healthiness, of food by showing them how to make kimchi and how to store it until it is ready to be eaten. They also tried freshly prepared kimchi as an example.

“We wanted to do fermentation, and we learned that the students really don’t understand that we eat fermented foods like they didn’t know chocolate was fermented, they don’t know tea is fermented, and so we wanted to start making it. We’re making eight different types of fermented foods. One is kimchi,”, A-P Biology Teacher Kris Krautkremer said, “So Shin came and helped us because I don’t know how to make kimchi, and I learned that what I thought I was doing was wrong, and no wonder it wasn’t any good. But we eat at her restaurant all the time so I slowly talked her into coming in and teaching the kids how to make kimchi. Traditional kimchi.”

Krautkremer and Shin Estep prepared the ingredients last night and early this morning and then each student got to prepare some kimchi that will be stored and eaten after the proper time for fermentation. Many of the students also tried the freshly prepared kimchi so they will be able to compare it with the completely fermented batch.

“When I tasted it, it wasn’t really that good. But I can se it being better in a few days. Kind of like maturing almost.”, D-B Junior Tyler Duncan said.

“Most people are close minded to it, no one will try no one will try new things, but this would actually help many of their physical problems that they have,”, D-B Junior Michel Pay said, “I learned that there is a bunch of different types of kimchi, they are all called kimchi but they are used for different things like if you have a headache, you’ll eat one type of kimchi, if you have pancreas problems, you’d eat another type.”

Krautkremer added, “I thought they’d be a lot more squeamish. I really appreciate where they’re honest, like some of them liked it and some of them were not sure. But most of them were very open and all ate it and then they all wrapped it and so they have learned exactly what we wanted them to learn which is that you can do this at home, you can eat healthy, you can change the nutritional profile of food, that is going to make it have a more healthy gut-flora for your body.”

Shin also talked with the students about using the entire vegetable when preparing things for fermentation as well as the things that they eat in their everyday lives and how it can make the food much healthier.

Duncan added, “What I really took out of it was the importance of letting it ferment, and letting it wait and it actually, surprisingly, we throw away stuff that we can actually use to benefit our bodies that is actually healthy for us.”

This is just the first of many things that the students will be fermenting, there will also be more hands-on classes and even a Parent-Student Real Food Day coming up in May.

“I don’t want them to necessarily leave here with only knowledge that’s from a book, I want them to have something that they can do everyday and it will effect their families and their family’s families,”, Krautkremer said, “They’ll be doing more, they’ll be fermenting kombucha, they’re going to make water kefir, they’re going to make yogurt. So we’re going to make eight different things and this is one of them.”Copyright 2017 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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