Most of you have probably heard the saying “when life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” If you’ve ever really thought about it – it makes a lot of sense.
I don’t know how your summer has been so far, but in new england it’s been cool, rainy and hardly a summer at all. i keep waiting for summer to kick in, keep waiting for tons of fruit to jam, tomatoes to paste, cukes to ferment, chilis to dry, and so on and so on…
Folks, up here in my neck of the woods, it’s been a lemon of a summer. as july catches up to august i’m realizing that i gotta work it out – i need to stop lamenting this lack of fermenting! and so i say…when new england hands you a cool & rainy summer, not a day above 75
adapted from the joy of pickling
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
6 cups water
2 pounds chinese, savoy, or white cabbage, cored & chopped into 2 inch squares (about 1 large head)
6 scallions or 3 small summer onions with greens, cut into 2 inch lengths & slivered
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
2 tablespoons turkish pepper, korean pepper, or 1 tablespoon cayenne & 1 tablespoon hungarian paprika
1 teaspoon sugar (i use raw)
2 quart jar
zip-lock food grade plastic bag
1. dissolve 3 tablespoons of sea salt in water, chop cabbage and place in large crock or bowl. pour brine over cabbage and place a plate inside of bowl to weight down cabbage. i place a small iron teapot on top of plate, you can use a large can of food, jar of pickles, etc…
2. let stand for 12 hours overnight.
1. drain the cabbage and save the brine.
2. chop scallions, ginger and garlic, combine with cabbage.
3. add sugar, last teaspoon of salt and pepper/paprika to vegetables and mix. i really love turkish pepper for kimchi as to my taste, it adds just the right spice. if you can’t get it near you, you can order it from here. (it is otherwise know as aleppo pepper).
4. pack all of this into a very clean 2 quart jar, and i mean pack it. i use a wide mouth funnel and then pack it down with the end of a wooden spoon.
5. once all the vegetables are in, pour in the brine to cover. you should have quite a bit left over.
6. pour some of the brine into the plastic zip lock bag and zip. push the filled bag into the neck of the jar. this serves the purpose of weighting it down. putting brine in the bag rather than water ensures that if the bag happens to break you still have the proper water/salt ratio in the mixture. i find a rubber band used on the bag comes in handy for balancing the filled bag in the jar. i also like to place the jar inside a bowl to catch any brine that may leak. this can happen as everything starts to settle and the bag sinks lower into the jar.
You will most likely have some brine left over, pour this into a container and save, you may need to use some to cover as things progress.
7. let this sit at room temperature for 3-6 days. ideally this should be no higher then 68 degrees. (remember; lemonade, kimchi…see what i’m sayin?) if you are somewhere that is perfectly, appropriately glorious & hot than you’ll have to place it in a cool place like a cellar. or, file this recipe away until the fall when cabbage is abundant and the temperature cooporates.
8. after 3 days check to see if it has soured enough to your taste. i find that 6 days is needed for a real kimchi taste. when done, take the brine filled bag out. if the kimchi is not quite covered, pour a bit more brine in to cover.
9. cap jar and place in fridge where kimchi will last perfectly for up to a year.
Even if you’re busy making lemonade this july, i say find a cool place and give it a try. if you do, by fall you’ll be lining up those jars and emptying your local farmers market of it’s savoy cabbage…
and you’ll have a bunch of these little guys sitting around your kitchen making small talk: