Monday, October 8, 2012

Week 16: Pickled Red Cabbage, Kimchi Style

With the farm season winding down, and the vegetables piling up, I've been looking for ways to preserve the produce. Recently, that's meant a series of quick-pickle projects: beets, cauliflower, and cabbage. The tangy goodies will keep in the refrigerator for at least a couple of weeks -- our noshing notwithstanding.

For the cabbage, I tweaked a recipe for a pickled, but not fermented, kimchi. This is a mildly spicy kimchi; it's meant to be pantry clearing, not sinus clearing. The recipe starts off with what seems like an unholy amount of salt, but the final kimchi is not overly salty. That's because the salt is used to wilt the cabbage and to draw out some of its water. The salt is then rinsed off before the cabbage goes into the pickling brine.

I'm storing my kimchi in a couple of quart-size pickling jars, which fit nicely in my fridge, but shallow containers are probably better to keep the vegetables evenly submerged in the picking liquid.

Pickled Red Cabbage, Kimchi Style
(Adapted from Creative Loafing Tampa. Makes 8 cups. Note: the salt amount -- 1/2 cup -- is correct; most of the salt will be rinsed off after wilting the cabbage. Makes 8 cups.)

1 red cabbage, weighing about 2 pounds
1/2 cup Kosher salt
2 Tbsp chili paste (Sriracha)
4 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
1/2 cup sugar
Juice of 2 lemons
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
8 to 10 radishes, cut into matchsticks
2 cups thinly sliced onion
2 cups thinly sliced carrot
1 bunch scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped

Cut the cabbage into quarters, remove the tough core, and slice the cabbage into bite-sized pieces. Toss the cabbage with the salt. Place the salted cabbage in a large colander; set the colander in the sink, or over a bowl or plate to catch any liquid, and let the cabbage drain for 30 to 45 minutes. Rinse the cabbage thoroughly with fresh water and drain well.

In a large bowl, whisk together the chili paste, garlic, sugar, lemon juice, vinegar, and soy sauce. Taste and adjust the seasonings as desired.

Add the wilted cabbage, radishes, onion, carrot, scallion, and cilantro to the pickling liquid and mix well. Transfer the mixture to a one-gallon resealable plastic bag and squeeze out the air. Place the bag flat in the refrigerator, so the liquid is distributed evenly among the vegetables, and let the mixture pickle for at least two hours, but preferably a day or two, flipping the bag periodically. Store the kimchi in shallow containers or pickling jars, mixing periodically if some of the vegetables are not submerged in the liquid.

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