Tuesday, June 16, 2015

When it rains

When it rains I tend to do my indoor chores. Several of them involved new recipe for my garden fruits and veggies.

The first was strawberry chutney. It was pretty good, but I didn't like the amount of cumin in it. Too much. Next time I'm going to cut it down by a quarter or maybe just get rid of it all together. This wasn't a recipe to can, but just one for the fridge so I could play with it and not worry if it was acidic enough. Which is nice as I like to play around with recipes. I rarely take a recipe and follow it. I'm more likely to read 10 recipes and take what I like from each one. Or add something else.

The second was some kohlrabi fermented pickles. Katz suggests a 5% brine for your first try. So that is what I did. For me that was 1.5 tablespoons of sea salt to two cups of water. I put some herbs and spices on the bottom. Some dill, garlic, mustard seed, and dill seed. I packed the jar as tightly as I could with kohlrabi spears about a quarter of an inch thick. Then poured over my brine. I capped the top with part of a kohlrabi leaf and put on my weight. I used an airlock. I'll taste them in about three days to see how they are.

Brining the cabbage

The kohlrabi was easy, but I wanted to try making kimchi. It is a bit more daunting. I read up on it a bit to try to get an idea of what I wanted. Kimchi involves brining vegetables for 3 hours to a couple days depending on the salt content of the brine. Then you rinse it off once the vegetables are salty enough. You make a paste with rice flour cooked in water. You add seasonings to the paste. You massage the paste into the vegetables. Then you ferment it for a few days. That is so much more involved than something like a pickle or sauerkraut.

The recipe I'm giving is the one I used, though it is my own mix of things that I thought sounded good. I have no clue how it will turn out. But my hands smell really good right now, so I'm hoping it turns out well. I didn't use a whole cabbage. I didn't want to do that for my first try. So I used two pounds, which is about half a cabbage. I don't have diakon radishes, much less the Korean radishes, so I used my turnips instead. Also I can't eat peppers, so mine is not spicy and it won't have that pretty red color. I thought about using some of the last of my other radishes up to give it a pink color instead, but opted not to.

My weirdness in this recipe is dried cherries. I've never seen a kimchi with them. I have seen one with raisins so I figured it can't be too crazy. I would have loved to put an Asian pear into it instead of honey, but I didn't have one. I did have an apple but it has been sitting around my fridge for a while. I figured fruit that has seen better days is better for cooking than for fermenting.

Daphne's First Try Kimchee

  • 2 lbs Chinese cabbage sliced in 1/2" strips
  • 4 oz Japanese turnips julienned
  • 1 carrot julienned
  • 3 T salt

  • 1 T sweet rice flour
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1/4 c white parts of green onions
  • 1" length of ginger grated
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 c cilantro
  • 1/2 T fish sauce
  • 2 t salt
  • 2 T honey

  • 1/2 c green onions (green part) cut into 1 1/2" length then quartered the other direction
  • 1/4 c dried cherries, chopped

Mix the first four ingredients together. I put it in a 2 quart mason jar but any non reactive container is fine. Cover with water and weight it down. Let it sit for six hours.

To make the paste dissolve the rice flour in the water and cook until it becomes gelatinous. Let it cool. Mix all the rest of the ingredients in that group (through the honey) and put it in a small food processor and process until smooth.

Mix everything together in a bowl. Then tamp down into a quart jar until the liquid comes to the top and over the vegetables (if it doesn't let it sit a couple hours and try again). Put a cabbage (or in my case a kohlrabi) leaf over the top to hold things down and weight. Cap the jar with an airlock. Let sit for three days then move to the fridge and enjoy.

I had about a cup leftover from this. The recipe would probably be more accurate for a quart jar with about 1 1/2 lbs of cabbage. But the extra cup won't go to waste. I put that in a half pint jar and put a lid on it. It wasn't an airlock. Currently I only have wide mouth lids with holes for airlocks. I might have to get a few for smaller jars. I could see doing a pint of turnips some day. Or maybe carrots.

Now they sit decorating my dining room. They are right next to my jars of seeds. Mustard seed, fennel, and dill. I'm going to test the sauerkraut again on Thursday I think. I just hope I like it. It was kind of salty the first time I tried and not nearly sour enough for my tastes. Oh I hope I like these. It is an easy way to preserve a lot of cabbage.


  1. I never realized kimchi requires that rice flour and massage step! I'll be looking forward to hearing what you think of your test batch.

  2. I tend to be a rain indoors fine outdoors person too but preserving in jars is a mystery to me, It sort of scares me,

  3. I am not keen on preserved vegetables - except possibly a chutney or two - so I won't be attempting kimchi, but I know you like that sort of thing and I hope it works for you. If it does, it will be a good way of making use of your oriental cabbage mountain.

  4. I need to make a batch of kohlrabi pickles too. And a batch with daikon radish. I've not been adventurous enough to make kimchi yet, so I will wait to see how yours turns out!

  5. The fermenting jar I ordered online arrived this morning. I can't wait to try making dill pickles. Kimchi sounds a lot more complicated.

  6. I'm really looking forward to hearing about how you find the kimchi. I've heard of it before, but had no idea how it was made. Like Quinn, the paste massage was a surprise. I only started making pickles and canning tomatoes last year so the next step will be sauerkraut. I'm sure I will give kimchi a try at some point as that spice blend sounds delicious.

  7. Hope you like the kimchi, it should be delicious. When I made it last year, I used the same brining technique but found the result pretty salty. Mac suggested that the other technique of just salting the cabbage produced a less salty product. I did use the official gochugaro pepper flakes from Korea (not China) and a fermented shrimp paste I found at a Korean store near me. My cabbage is heading up so I hope to make a new batch soon.

  8. Decorating with food is the best ;-) Where did you find those neat tops for your canning jars? I am going to try making sauerkraut this fall (if my savoy cabbage decided to mature).