Spring Loaded Carrot Kimchi

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.

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11 comments to Spring Loaded Carrot Kimchi

  • cv

    This sounds great but I can’t do hot peppers. Would leaving them out affect the preserving quality, i.e., would they not keep quite as long? And if I left it out, would I need to adjust the amount of salt? Thanks!

  • dorisandjilly

    CV: The hot peppers are just there for flavor–the salt (and the bacteria they encourage) are doing all the preservation work. Leave them out, add more, drop the garlic, add onions–you can pretty much do whatever you’re like to the flavorings. So long as it ferments, it’s still safe.

  • Do you put the lid on the jar before setting it aside? Great recipe!

  • dorisandjilly

    Dicentra: No. Since there’s fermentation happening inside, the jar needs to be open so that the gases produced by the bacteria can escape. If you absolutely have to put on a lid (for instance, to keep bugs out), make sure that it’s screwed on very, very loosely. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to vent it a couple of times a day, either.

  • you did it! this looks great – I so love a good kimchi! 🙂

  • Yeah! Just made this. Thanks for this recipe. I like that it doesn’t contain fish sauce/anchovy paste because that can complicate making it gluten-free. My first kimchee! And although I tried to buy the smallest daikon at the farmer’s market, I still got a ginormo one! In other words, I’ll be making this again soon.

  • This looks great. I’ve been on a little kimchi binge, but I’ve never tried making my own. Note: there’s a food truck in New York that sells kimchi-bacon fried rice. Might be just the think for charcutepalooza.

  • I have never tried this kimichi. I always eat the Korean kimchi wherein they use cabbage.

  • I’m making almost exacly the same thing right now, only I used Western-style spices (mustard and corriander seeds, black peppercorns, a quarted onion and a cinnamon stick) in deference to my pregnant wife’s current aversion to chili peppers.

  • Jim

    One of my favorite Korean treats is kimchi. I have it with pork bone soup. It is my favorite late night meal after a night out with friends.

  • Rose

    Would it be possible to water bath can these after the fermentation process is over? I’d love to make a big batch of this and have it keep on a shelf for 6 months.