Saturday, July 3, 2010

Perserving Summer's Bounty: Kimchi

This week's box contains:
  • Bianco di Maggio Onions
  • Hamburg Parsley (including the root, which looks like a parsnip)
  • Summer Squash
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Strawberries
  • Romaine
  • Red Beets
  • Savoy Cabbage
Interesting mix this week ~ a fun challenge given that we've been away for two weeks. I am thrilled to see the parsley, less enthused about the squash and the lettuce.  Creativity definitely required for the cabbage and the parsley root; everything else seems relatively straight forward.

The tomatoes aren't quite ripe, so we'll let those sit for a few days.  The strawberries will be cleaned and prepped for the freezer for smoothies.  I'll roast the beets, onion bulbs and parsley root for a nice chopped salad with toasted walnuts and the romaine.

As for the cabbage...  An obvious answer given the holiday weekend is coleslaw, but we're not planning a party and I'm the only person in a two person household who eats it.  The next option was soup, but it's too hot here for that.  Finally I landed on preserving the cabbage, but how?

Fermentation is a classic option.  I've made sauerkraut before and it was fantastic.  However, we still have some of that on hand, so I decided to mix it up a bit and try kimchi, a Korean form of fermented cabbage.  In our recipe, we passed on the fermented fish and decided to rely on salt and natural fermentation for the processing.  Here's what we did:
Vegan Kimchi

1 head savoy cabbage, quartered, cored, and sliced into thin ribbons
2" x 2" piece of ginger, grated
Bianco di Maggio onion "tops" (scallions a good substitute)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1T red pepper flakes
4T salt

Prepare all the vegetables and place in a large bowl; add salt and red pepper flakes, then mix well.  Transfer into a crock (we use a large plastic canister) and cover with a clean plate roughly the size of the crock and press down to start to release the liquid from the vegetables.  Top the plate with a clean weight, such as a large bottle of water, then cover the entire stack with a towel and place in a quiet area of your kitchen.

Keep an eye on the kimchi, pressing down down every few hours until the vegetables are submerged; this may take up to 24 hours.  If a day has passed and the vegetables are not yet covered, top off with salted water.  The fermentation takes a variable amount of time, so check the kimchi frequently ~ tasting as you go.  When the texture and flavor you like, move to the refrigerator for longer term storage.
Sauerkraut is easy to make, but does require a bit of knowledge to ensure it does not spoil.  Full details can be found in the standard sauerkraut recipe found on Wild Fermentation.

Kimchi is great on its own or as a base for soup.  Once ready, we'll post some recipes here.

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