Cucumber Kimchi

When talking to a friend last week about making kimchi, she was telling me how in the past she had added carrots and various other vegetables to her cabbage to make batches over years past..."a little of this and a little of that"  But alas, she had never tried making a batch without any cabbage at all.  This was my goal, and it had to be since I had used up all the cabbage from my garden to make a huge batch of sauerkraut.  So, with an abundance of cucumbers coming out of my garden I felt I really had nothing to lose in making up a batch of kimchi with cucumbers as the base.  And, what do you know?  It was so good I am thinking of making up another batch.

Here is what I used for my ingredients:  (These are rough ratios for you to follow since it will really depend upon the size of your fermenting container and vegetables.  Remember, fermenting is rather forgiving as long as you follow a couple of proper steps, which I will point out along the way.

Cucumbers and onions for 2 batches

3 to 4 medium cucumbers
1 onion
1 hot pepper (leave the seeds if you prefer a warmer kimchi)
3 garlic cloves
1/4 cup cheese whey (this can also be the yellow liquid that rises to the top of yogurt with active cultures, that is if you don't make cheese or know someone who does)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

(You may want to add the whey and salt at the end of the process if you are not sure how much of a batch you will make.  For a gallon, I ended up using 1 cup of whey and 2 tablespoons of salt.)

Pulse all of the above ingredients in a food processor until everything is well chopped and incorporated and then transfer into your fermenting jar.  I had a lot of cucumbers and onions that didn't sell at the farmer's market, so I ended up making a gallon.

Now, here is one of those important fermenting steps:  Press down the vegetables until the liquid in the container covers them and then cover the container in a manner that keeps that pressure constant.  (As long as your veggies are under the liquid they will not be exposed to air and therefore will ferment instead of mold.)

This is the cup and lid I used together to hold the cucumber mixture below the liquid

Here is the jar opening they fit into (with the finished kimchi within).

The next step is to find a place you can leave the fermenting jar for 2 to 5 days making sure to airlock the container, lid on tight (that is the other important fermenting step).  Mine took 4 days in a warm room, but then again I made a gallon and usually larger batches take a bit longer.

Transfer your container to cold storage when the mixture has fully fermented.


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