With all of the wonderful in-season fruits and vegetables flowing abundantly in farmers markets and produce aisles, I tend to ambitiously over-purchase in the summer months and end up with a fridge full of food and not enough meals planned at a proportionate pace to their shelf life. First world problems, I know. To solve for this conundrum, I've recently been playing with pickling and fermenting my surplus of fruits and veggies. It just so happens that I bought one too many bunches of organic sweet baby broccoli at PCC last week and Imperfect Produce sent me more carrots than I know what to do with. It also just so happens that South Korea eliminated Germany in the World Cup today, throwing Mexico another lifeline after their crushing loss to Sweden. It's safe to say Mexicans across the world were buying rounds of Modelos for their Korean friends today. As for this Mexican, she opted for a different type of fermentation celebration and made kimchi instead.
Traditionally, kimchi is a spicy pickled cabbage dish popular in Korean cuisine - but in we’re mixing up tradition by swapping baby broccoli for cabbage and adding some carrots for extra crunch. Purists might disagree, but you can make kimchi out of any vegetable that can withstand the salting and fermentation process - such as brussels sprouts, beets, kohlrabi, bok choy, radishes, watermelon rinds, etc. The world is your deliciously spicy, briny, fermented oyster.
One last note before we get to the how part. Did you also know that kimchi is good for you? Fermentation enhances the digestibility and nutritional value of the vegetables, and when consumed, populates our intestinal flora with beneficial bacteria.
So feel free to use this recipe as a starting point, substituting any vegetable you'd like. Get wild.
Sweet Baby Broccoli and Carrot Kimchi - Yields 2 Pint-Sized Mason Jars
1 bunch baby broccoli, cut into 1-inch pieces
½ cup julienned carrots
¼ cup Kosher salt
4 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece of ginger, minced
¼ cup Korean chili powder (kochukaru), or to taste
1 tbsp miso paste
2 tbsp sugar
1 small bunch green onions, cut into 1 inch pieces
1. Place the cut broccoli in a large bowl, sprinkle with kosher salt, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and toss. Let sit for ½ hour. The purpose of salting the broccoli is two-fold: it acts a preservative and draws water out of the greens, tenderizing in the process.
2. While the broccoli is brining, combine the garlic, ginger, kochukaru, miso paste, and remaining tablespoon of sugar. It will be very thick. Thin with a bit of warm water (1 tablespoon at a time) until smooth. You’re looking for the consistency of sour cream. Taste and adjust if needed. Stir in the green onions and carrots.
3. Rinse and drain the broccoli. Thoroughly mix with the kochukaru paste. Taste and season with more salt, if necessary. Pack tightly into mason jars.
4. Seal tightly and refrigerate. The kimchi will be tasty right away but even better after 24 hours. It will continue to ferment for up to two weeks and keep in the fridge for up to 1 month.