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Now – RIGHT NOW, as in don’t waste another weekend! – is a beautiful time of year to visit your farmer’s market – the colors and smells are amazing! Piles of purple cauliflower, peppers in every color, bright pink, orange and yellow chard, squashes, pumpkins, root vegetables, and even a few precious hold-outs from the summer such as cucumbers, beans and tomatoes, if you’re lucky. This is the glorious last-hurrah of the growing season, and I am focused on collecting and storing as many of these nutritious foods as I can for the upcoming winter. This kimchi recipe is perfect for doing just that – you can find nearly every ingredient in your own garden or the farmer’s market right now (the exception may be the ginger root).

Kimchi is a spicy fermented relish eaten widely in Korea (supposedly over a quarter pound per person each day!) and increasingly around the world as it gains popularity. It is delicious served with any dish involving rice, but the possibilities are endless – with savory meats, on your burger, in your tacos, added to scrambled eggs, etc. Like all fermented foods, kimchi is an excellent source of probiotics, vitamins (in that the vitamins of the produce are preserved), and digestive enzymes. (You can read more about the benefits in this post.) So get out there, work that farmer’s market, and save up some goodness for yourself and your family.

Basic Korean Kimchi
Print Recipe
This is a basic recipe for classic Korean kimchi, a fermented food that is great as a side or condiment with many dishes. Exact amounts are not important in this recipe, except for the salt to water ratio for the brine. This recipe is adapted from Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz.
Servings Prep Time
1 quart 25 minutes
Passive Time
1 week
Servings Prep Time
1 quart 25 minutes
Passive Time
1 week
Basic Korean Kimchi
Print Recipe
This is a basic recipe for classic Korean kimchi, a fermented food that is great as a side or condiment with many dishes. Exact amounts are not important in this recipe, except for the salt to water ratio for the brine. This recipe is adapted from Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz.
Servings Prep Time
1 quart 25 minutes
Passive Time
1 week
Servings Prep Time
1 quart 25 minutes
Passive Time
1 week
Ingredients
Servings: quart
Instructions
  1. Mix 6 tablespoons of sea salt with 6 cups (1 quart) of water and mix thoroughly to dissolve.
  2. Coarsely chop the cabbage and thinly slice the radishes and carrots. Place the vegetables in a large bowl with the prepared brine and soak for a few hours or over night. Place a heavy plate that is smaller than the bowl over the vegetables to keep them submerged.
  3. Next you need to combine the onions, garlic, hot peppers and ginger into a sort of paste. You can either mince the ingredients and stir/mash to combine, or process everything in a food processor or blender. Because ginger is fibrous, it may be wise to grate it seperately before combining.
  4. After the vegetables have soaked for at least a few hours, strain and reserve the brine.
  5. Thoroughly mix the onion-garlic-pepper-ginger paste with the drained vegetables in a large bowl.
  6. Stuff the kimchi into a quart-sized mason jar and press it down until the brine rises, striving to remove all air bubbles. Top off the jar with some of the reserved brine so that all the vegetables are covered. Keep them from floating with a small lid, glass jar or a plastic ziplock bag filled with brine. You have an option to seal the jar tightly, or simply cover with a towel or coffee filter/rubber band combo - just something to keep bugs and dust out. Follow the instructions in the next step according to what you choose.
  7. Leave the jar of kimchi on your counter to ferment. If you've sealed it tightly, crack the seal a several times a day to relieve the pressure. After a few days, you may only need to release the pressure once a day. If you did not seal the jar tightly, there is less maintenance, but a greater chance of mold developing on the surface. If this happens, just scrape it off - the contents under the brine are still safe. Feel free to taste-test daily. After about a week, or whenever you like the taste, move the jar to the fridge or other cold location for long-term storage. There is no harm in fermenting the kimchi longer than a week - the flavor will continue to develop while the lactic acid keeps it preserved.
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