Last weekend I pulled up the carrots I had left to overwinter at my community garden. The boards on the raised bed were rotten, and my billy goat had offered to build me a new frame so I could put in my spring seeds. While I was grateful, that meant that I had to rip out everything still in the ground, ready or not. The carrots were a pleasant surprise. When I last checked on them a few weeks ago, they looked small, sad, lonely, and frozen. Turns out a few days of sunshine and warmer weather perked them right up.
We’ve eaten about half of the big ones already, in a slaw, a roasted carrot and beet salad, and as aromatics in yet another lentil stew. The little guys, being too delicate to cook, have found their way into a kimchi. We’re still finding daikon radish at our local farmer’s market, and carrots and radish are a natural pair. This is a quick kimchi that needs only a couple of days instead of the usual three or four to get just the right amount of tang. It’s tasty, too—I’m tempted to buy up all the daikon I can find to have enough to enjoy all summer.
Carrot Daikon Kimchi
Approx. 1/2 lb. carrots, cut into matchsticks (quartered lengthwise if small)
Approx. 1/2 lb. daikon radish, sliced thin (I used the 4 mm blade on my food processor)
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2″ quarter ginger root, shredded
1 dried hot pepper
Scallions, if you have them
4 1/2 T kosher salt
6 c. water
1) Dissolve the salt in the water to make a brine.
2) Combine all the vegetables in a quart-sized, wide-mouthed sterilized jar. You may think they won’t fit, but push.
3) Pour the brine over the vegetables. Remove the air bubbles and convince the vegetables to stay submerged using whatever technique you’d like (I find that a jelly jar filled with brine makes an excellent weight).
4) Put your jar on a saucer (to catch spillover) and let it ferment for 2 to 4 days, depending on your preference, in cool, dark place. You should start seeing bubbles (indicating fermentation) within 12 to 24 hours. Kimchis are happiest when fermenting at 50 to 60°F, but note that the cooler your room, the longer the fermentation will take. Stored in the refrigerator, this will keep at least a month, possibly much longer.