Kimchi is a relatively new obsession in our household. It’s hard to recall exactly when we first tried the Korean side dish, but it was love at first bite. Kimchi is a bit difficult to describe because it’s not really like any other food. The texture is a bit like cole slaw and its spicy-sour flavor is in a class all its own.
People often add kimchi to salads or sandwiches, but it’s delicious all on its own. It’s a light snack that is packed with Vitamins A and C along with beta carotene, iron, and calcium. One cup contains less than 50 calories and about 5 grams of fiber. The main benefit of kimchi is that it contains good bacteria that combat inflammation, fight off bad bacteria, and strengthen the immune system. Many health food stores now carry kimchi, but when it’s so easy to make your own at home, why buy it?
Prep time: 30 minutes
Total time: 4-6 days
You’ll need: 4 to 5 – 16 oz. jars
INGREDIENTS [makes 4 to 5 – 16 oz. jars]
1 head of napa cabbage [chopped into 1-inch pieces]
1 medium carrot [julienned]
6 scallions [slivered]
1 c. leeks [chopped]
1/3 c. minced garlic
3 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. sea salt
6 c. spring water
3 Tbsp. red pepper flakes
Thoroughly wash cabbage and other vegetables. Chop cabbage shortways as shown below, and then chop it into smaller pieces, nothing larger than 2 inches square.
In a large bowl, combine 3 tablespoons of sea salt and 6 cups of spring water. Dissolve the salt as much as possible, stirring if necessary.
In a larger bowl, combine the cabbage and leeks. Carefully pour the salt water mixture over the bowl and use your hands to submerge everything.
The next step can get a bit tricky. You’ll need something flat, such as a plate, that will fit inside the bowl. Place the flat object on top of the veggies and then weigh it down with something heavy — dumbbells, a jug of water, or a cast iron skillet would work. The goal is to smash down the ingredients and make sure everything is under water.
After 12 hours, drain the brine from the bowl and pour it into something to save it for later.
In a small bowl, combine green onions, garlic, red pepper, and carrot. Add this mixture to the cabbage/leek mixture along with 1 tsp. of sea salt and stir to combine.
Fill the jars with the kimchi mixture and carefully pour enough brine into each jar to cover the kimchi. Cut squares of saran wrap and use them to thoroughly seal the opening to each jar. After sealing, screw on the lid tightly. Store jars in the fridge for 3 days — after this time, the kimchi is ready to eat! Enjoy it for up to 2-3 weeks in the fridge.