Here in the South, signing up for a winter CSA meant signing up for lots, and lots, of hearty greens. Kale, collards, mustard — we had them all, and in terrifying amounts. At some point, I counted eight green cabbages in my refrigerator. Because cabbage keeps so well, I kept putting off its cooking. And putting it off, and putting it off. Until finally, in desperate need of cold space, I had to stand and face the cabbage.
I was ready to clear all those leafy heads out at once, so a bowl of coleslaw just wasn’t going to cut it. I decided instead to make a big batch of kimchi, the Korean condiment that’s in everything from fried rice to savory pancakes. Though kimchi isn’t often made with green cabbage, I found a promising-sounding and easy recipe online, over at the lovely blog Honey and Butter. You can find it here.
Once I chopped copious amounts of cabbage, ginger, garlic, and green onions, my work essentially was finished! Mixed with lots of fish sauce, which seems disgusting but really mellows as the kimchi sits, and plenty of ground red pepper, my veggies were ready to be jarred. I used several quart-sized canning jars, but there’s no need to seek them out, since you don’t actually process the jars for long term storage. I think mine may even have slowed down the ripening process, too, since they automatically seal. After a few days, the kimchi should look something like this:
After about two weeks, the kimchi that I left on the counter was ready to eat. I could tell because the cabbage turned orange and translucent, and it smelled pleasantly pungent when I cracked open a lid. A month later, the jars that I stored in the refrigerator are still not ready, which is great – I can space out my kimchi-eating for weeks to come. So far, I’ve used it in fried rice and in savory pancakes, which I’d be happy to share the recipe for if anyone is interested.
Now it’s your turn: Have you done anything interesting with cabbage from your CSA? Ever attempted kimchi?