Kimchi Success!



I just removed my "make it up as you go and use what you have" kimchi from the crock and put it in an old pickle jar, which will store better in the fridge.  I tried a few bites and it is great - really, the best kimchi I have ever had!  So, now that I know the recipe works, I will share it.  I'm not giving specific proportions, because it all depends on big your fermentation vessel is - use more if you are making a bigger batch, less if smaller.

1/2 - 1 cabbage chopped
3 carrots grated
4 radishes grated
1 teaspoon +/- fresh grated ginger
2 dried cayenne peppers
1 teaspoon  crushed red pepper
1/2 yellow onion chopped fine
3-4 green onions chopped
3-4 cloves garlic crushed
1 teaspoon soy sauce or fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried/powdered turmeric
2 tablespoons plain (non-iodized) salt
1 tablespoon of kombucha

I chopped the cabbage, half at a time, and worked one tablespoon of salt into each batch.  I did this the same way I would sauerkraut, bruising each bit of cabbage, kneading in the salt until it was standing in cabbage juice.  Then, I mixed everything together.  I packed it tightly into a crock, pressing out all air pockets so that the juice came to the surface and the "slaw" was under its own natural water.  On top of that, I layered a few of the outer leaves that I had taken off the cabbage before chopping, and tore them to shape - these, I just use as a barrier to air.  The cabbage core, which I cut in 4ths before chopping the rest of the cabbage, I also stacked on top.  I covered it all with plastic wrap, pressed out all the air I could, secured the plastic with a rubber band and closed the lid.

Each day, I opened the lid and looked through the plastic wrap to see if the cabbage cores were darkening - that is a sign of oxidation.  The kombucha I had added was just for extra insurance against mold or bad bacteria getting into the kimchi before it had a chance to ferment.  It worked well.  By day 3, the mixture was beginning to bubble and on day 4 some liquid began seeping out through the plastic wrap and rubber band.  Fermentation was going very well.  On day 6 I noticed some darkening of the cabbage cores, so I removed them and the top layer of outer leaves.  I replaced the plastic with clean plastic. I probably could have just left it alone for 10 days, but I had a little head space in the crock which was worrisome. 

Today was day ten, and the kimchi was perfectly fermented.  It is sour, hot, spicy, sinus clearing, funky, rich, savory... really excellent!  Next time, I will make a full gallon.  I should warn you though, that this stuff REALLY stinks while fermenting!

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