Kimchi (Pickled Cabbage)

March 25, 2010

Kimchi (Pickled Cabbage)

Jan Dowling, Tucson CSA
Makes 1 gallon

3 medium (approximately 9 lbs.) Napa cabbages (You can substitute with Tokyo Bekana, Cabbage, or other thick leaved greens)
1/2 cup salt
2 medium white radishes, peeled and shredded
1/3 cup red pepper powder
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cloves garlic, finely crushed
2 teaspoons ginger root, finely crushed
5 green onions, sliced

Cut the cabbage into 1 1/2″ squares. Place the cabbage in a large container and sprinkle with salt. Set aside for 2 or 3 hours or until the cabbage becomes soft. Rinse the pickled cabbage with water once and drain. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Place the cabbage in a gallon-sized glass jar (plastic containers will stain and retain the odor) and leave in a cool place for 3 or 4 days until it tastes a little sour (ferments). When it is ready to eat, store it in the refrigerator (which will stop the fermentation).
Sauerkraut instructions..similar to kimchi but fermentation longer
Pack the salted cabbage firmly and evenly into a large clean crock or jar. Using a wooden spoon or tamper or the hands, press down firmly until the juice comes to the surface. Repeat the shredding, salting, and packing of the cabbage until the crock is filled to within 3 to 4 inches of the top.
Cover the cabbage with a clean, thin, white cloth (such as muslin) and tuck the edges down against the inside of the container. Cover with a plate or round paraffined/waxed board that just fits inside the container so that the cabbage is not exposed to the air. Put a weight on top of the cover so the brine comes to the cover but not over it. A glass jar filled with water makes a good weight.
An alternative method of covering cabbage during fermentation consists of placing a plastic bag filled with water on top of the fermenting cabbage. The water-filled bag seals the surface from exposure to air and prevents the growth of film yeast or molds. It also serves as a weight. For extra protection the bag with the water in it can be placed inside another plastic bag.
Any bag used should be of heavyweight, watertight plastic and intended for use with foods.
The amount of water in the plastic bag can be adjusted to give just enough pressure to keep the fermenting cabbage covered with brine.
Formation of gas bubbles indicates fermentation is taking place. A room temperature of 68 to 72 degrees is best for fermenting cabbage. Fermentation is usually completed in 5 to 6 weeks.

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