Napa Cabbage

It has been  a cool enough spring that the napa cabbage is actually ripe and didn’t bolt.  inconceivable!  It was also wet enough that the diakon radishes are about 18″ long.  Inconceivable!  Yet, it’s late enough in the season that the i could pull up a few heads of garlic.  Inconceivable!

“You keep using that word, i do not think it means what you thin it means.”

Sorry, i just watched the Princess Bride…But, i am very excited because the garden is cooperating, and something that i planned out actually worked!   Previously, my napa cabbage either gets chowed by slugs and bugs or it got too hot, and it bolted.  Last year, my entire garlic crop failed because of fungus.  First year growing diakon, so i’m just happy that worked.

Now: what to do with all of this stuff?  Why, kimchi of course!  There are loads of techniques and ratios/recipes on the web, and i ended up picking this at random.  I harvested the best 3 looking cabbages (weighing in at a total of 9 pounds!) and all the ripe diakon, and then picked the garlic according to the ratio in the recipe.  Went to the grocery store to get the other needed items: ginger, carrots (none of mine are ready) and fish sauce.

After scrubbing out the new kitchen sink really well, i brined the chopped veggies (wash them first to remove the lingering bugs) right in it.  A few hours later, it was ready for a light rinse.  Be sure to taste the veggies at this point as it might need more rinsing to leach out some of the salt.

I use a blender to puree the garlic, fish sauce, ginger and chilies.  Don’t bother peeling the ginger- just cut off any bad parts.  I had a bunch of really spicy dried Red Padron chilies a friend gave to us last year, so i tossed in a dozen of those instead of the korean reds.  It won’t have that distinct bright red look traditional kimchi has, but it will still taste wonderful!

Toss it all together in a mixing bowl (wear gloves to avoid burning your eyes!!!), and firmly pack it into your fermenting vessel.  i have a pickling crock that works very well, or you can use a big jar, or a bunch of quart jars.  Either way, make sure you weigh down the veggies so they are covered with fluid- we want anaerobic fermentation.  It’ll probably take about 5 to 7 days during the summer before it’s ready: ferment it to your taste.  Putting it in the fridge will slow the fermentation enough to make it last for a few months- unless you eat it all first!


About Ryan

Urban gardening at it's best (sometimes it's worst)! Adventures and learnings from going 100% lawn free in a D.C. row house.
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2 Responses to Napa Cabbage

  1. diydumpling says:

    I’m an urban community gardener in Brooklyn and I swoon at the sight of napa cabbage, especially such a beauty like yours!

  2. Ryan says:

    thanks! the weather certainly cooperated this year…i almost have too much! ended up with 6 quarts of kimchi, and that’s only using half of the cabbages that are ready. there’s a bit of a heat wave going on, so i see LOTS of stir fries in my future…

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