Kimchi is undoubtedly the most important food in the Korean culture. It is eaten with every meal, homemade by most people using local ingredients, and very nutritious. We are not Korean, but are part of a Permaculture class instructed to post about any element of a Permaculture site. We are very interested in the Zone 0 or the home aspect of being the center of activity after harvesting (right around now!) with drying, canning, pickling, and otherwise preparing foods from your gardens.
Kimchi is made using lactic acid fermentation, a process that kills pathogenic bacteria and cultivates beneficial bacteria. Check out this page to learn more about the process- kimchi is actually a spiced sauerkraut of sorts. It is a perfect way to preserve almost any firm vegetable from the garden, and also delicious!
Lets make some kimchi!
Step 1: Gather the Organic and Locally Grown Goods
It is advised to bring a pot of water to a boil and pour it into the jars or container that will hold the kimchi. While the water is cooling begin to wash/scrub your ingredients.
The staples of the recipe are Chinese cabbage, onions, garlic, ginger, and hot red peppers. Variations include other members of the onion family, fish and seafood, fish sauce, fruits, and other root vegetables such as burdock.
Our recipe reflects a more northern style kimchi because it uses a watery less-salty brine used to ferment in a cooler temperature for a longer period of time .It is a little less common to encounter in America, if only because we have more contact with South Korea. A southern style Korea has a distinct red color from the spice paste that is rubbed into the cabbage leaves.
Feel free to modify the recipe to suit seasonal and local produce, but cabbage must be the main vegetable you use as it's juices and leaves contain the beneficial bacteria that we are using to ferment the kimchi.
The following ingredients were used because we already had some, and the rest were easy to find locally and organically. We do not have an Asian grocery, and we also attend a vegetarian college, so our recipe might seem a bit bland to people used to Southern style kimchi. Remember to tailor the recipe to suit your tastes and availability of ingredients. It is possible to use canned or bottled spices like hot peppers but make sure they are not soaked in preservatives because that will prevent the fermentation process.
1 lb Napa Cabbage, cored, halved, and chopped
2 medium Daikon Radish, sliced 1/4"
2 medium Carrots, sliced 1/4"
2 Leeks, sliced 1/4" ( use only white and light green parts)
1/2 cup Jerusalem Artichokes, sliced 1/4"
2 Cucumbers, halved and quartered
7 -10 Scallions, chopped
1 head of Garlic, diced
3 Tbs grated ginger
1 Jalapeno Pepper, seeded and chopped or sliced
3 Thai Green Chilies (whole)
1/4 cup raw Sesame Seeds
3-4 Tbs Sea Salt or Canning Salt- this is important because iodized salt or added anti-caking agents will darken your vegetables
All of these ingredients can be prepared in the size and shape of your preference. Other additions might include broccoli, cauliflower, snap peas, green beans, bell peppers, radishes, apples, lemons, different kinds of hot peppers, or a few spoonfuls of sugar.