Ballard-based business partners Julie O’Brien and Richard Climenhage have come up with a healthy new way to spice up meals: fermented produce. They started Firefly Kitchens (fireflykitchens.com) two and half years ago to introduce the nourishing benefits of fermented produce to the masses.
The pair uses local organic vegetables to create meal toppers, which range from signature sauerkrauts and cabbage-based salsas to the popular Firefly kimchi. Unlike Korean kimchi, Firefly’s vegan-friendly mixture doesn’t containing fish sauce or shrimp paste; instead, it’s packed with fresh green cabbage, garlic, ginger, onions and peppers. This fiery, crunchy treat can be slathered over rice and beans or mixed with cream cheese for a zesty dip.
Using traditional fermentation methods (which O’Brien and Climenhage jokingly refer to as “time” and “patience”), products sit at room temperature in food-grade drums for four to eight weeks to create the perfect punch. Since fermenting requires no heat, the nutrients in the vegetables aren’t cooked away, the couple says, making them more healthful and easily absorbed.
Find Firefly Kitchens products: ($7–$12) at local food markets, including Central Co-op (Capitol Hill, 1600 E Madison St.; 206.329.1545; madisonmarket.com), Whole Foods Market and PCC Natural Market stores. You can also find Firefly at the Ballard Farmers Market on Sundays.