In the Kitchen: First Kimchi

The Daikon radishes and Chinese cabbage were ready in the garden, indicating that it is high time for a batch of kimchi.  Luckily we also had some Trinidad spice peppers left over from before the first frost.  Here’s what I put together:

1 head of Chinese cabbage, shredded

3 Daikon radishes, trimmed, washed and grated

1 turnip, topped, peeled and grated

2 carrots, peeled and grated (these were from the store.  I mostly added them for color)

1-inch ginger, peeled and minced

3-4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

8-9 mildly spicy (or HOT, if you prefer) peppers, de-seeded and finely sliced

sea salt

* * * *

Mix the vegetables all together in a large bowl.  Start sprinkling with salt.  Crush and squeeze the veggies with your clean hands, adding more salt and tasting as you go (the daikon is so spicy before it’s fermented!).  Salt it so that it is slightly saltier than a salad.  The vegetables will begin to shrink down from the salt, and their juices will collect at the bottom.  When they have shrunk quite a bit, start packing them into clean mason jars, pressing them in firmly with a meat pounder, a wooden spoon, or your fist.  Squeeze them in so that the liquid rises to the top, covering the vegetables.  Leave about an inch of space before the top, cap the jars and leave out on the counter for 3-5 days.  I like to leave a tray or plate under them in case they overflow.  Makes about 2 quarts, depending on the size of the vegetables.

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