OK. If you've never made Kimchi with your summer garden vegetable bounty, then you haven't yet lived! One of the most popular Korean foods, Kimchi is a vegetable/citrus dish that has been mildly fermented. It is spicy, sweet, refreshing, altogether perfect. Can't wait for August, when the vegetable garden overflows and Kimchi is on the home menu. Meanwhile, I plan to drop in on the local organic grocer tonight, pick up some fresh ingredients, and whip up a batch. It's a great side dish or appetizer, but my favorite way to eat Kimchi is as a sandwich, spread liberally on grain bread, sometimes toasted. With a garden-fresh salad, it makes a yummy, yummy dinner.

Two quarts

1 large Chinese or Napa Cabbage (I often use ordinary cabbage)
1 gallon (4l) water
1/2 cup (100g) coarse salt

1 small head of garlic, peeled and finely minced
one 2-inch (6cm) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1/4 cup (60ml) fish sauce (I hate fish sauce, so I omit it.)
1/3 cup (80ml) chili paste or 1/2 cup Korean chili powder
1 bunch scallions, cut into 1-inch (3cm) lengths (use the dark green part, too, except for the tough ends)
1 medium daikon or other radish, peeled and grated
1 teaspoon sugar or honey

Optional: 1 apple, 2 oranges, 1 lemon

1. Slice the cabbage lengthwise in half, then slice each half lengthwise into 3 sections. Cut away the tough stem chunks.

2. Dissolve the salt in the water in a very large container, then submerge the cabbage under the water. Put a plate on top to make sure it stays under water, then let stand for 2 hours.

3. Mix the other ingredients (including peeled, chopped fruits, if you elect to use them - I do!) in a very large metal or glass bowl.

4. Drain the cabbage, rinse it, and squeeze it dry.

5. Mix it all up.

(Some recipes advise wearing rubber gloves since the chili paste can stain your hands and/or burn. If you have rubber or latex gloves, you might want to wear them.)

6. Pack the kimchi in a clean glass jar large enough to hold it all. Let stand for two days in a cool place, around room temperature.

7. Check the kimchi after two days. If it's bubbling a bit, it's ready and can be refrigerated. If not, let it stand 1-2 more days, when it should be ready.

8. Once it's fermenting, serve or store in the refrigerator. If you want, add a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds over the kimchi for serving.

Storage: Many advise to eat the kimchi within 3 weeks. After that, it can get too fermented.

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