Non-Fermented Kimchi-Style Cabbage

When you end up with lots of cabbage from your garden it’s natural to ask yourself what else you can do with it to preserve it for winter. In my case, I do not have a cold storage cellar but I do know how to can my bounty!

After becoming tired of the same old sweet canned cabbage or salty sauerkraut I began a search for something different. I ran across a post online about Kimchi, but Kimchi is typically created through fermentation. While that type of Kimchi may keep for a long time in cold storage, it still wasn’t as shelf stable as I wanted it to be. I wanted something a bit more long-term.

My quest led to numerous recipes but none of them contained ingredients I had handy. I decided to pull upon my own experience and come up with something truly flavorful with what I did have while keeping the acidity pumped up enough for water bath canning.

Now for the required caveat – this is NOT an approved recipe you’d find on your local government supported website or in the Ball Blue Book. However, if you stick to the proper rules of acidity and heat processing then all is well.

Non-Fermented Canned Kimchi

– 2 Heads of Cabbage (I used 1 Savoy and 1 Flat Leaf Green but you could also use Napa)

– 2 Large Carrots, julienned

– 1 Small Sweet Onion, sliced

– 3 Scallions/Green Onions (I used the green tops from my garden onions)

– 2 Stalks of Celery, sliced thin

-1/4 Cup Pickling Salt

In a large bowl place your Cabbage that has been cut into 2-inch pieces and your Celery. Sprinkle thoroughly with the Salt, mix, cover and set aside. Your aim is to draw out excess water.

Prepare the remaining Carrots/Onion/Scallions in a separate bowl, cover and set aside.

Kimchi Brine

1 1/2 Cup White Vinegar

1/4 Cup Low Salt Soy Sauce

1 2oz tin of Anchovy Filets, drained

2-4 tsp of Ginger Paste

2 Tbsp of Minced Garlic

1/4 Cup Siracha

3 Tbsp Sambal Olek or another thick, spicy Chili Paste

1 tsp Red Pepper Flake

3 tsp Paprika

2 Tbsp Sugar

Measure out your ingredients and combine in a small sauce pan. I took an immersion blender to the Anchovies to break them down completely within the soy sauce. If you prefer, you can omit the Soy Sauce & Anchovies and use Fish Sauce instead – I just didn’t happen to have it. Heat up your sauce to allow everything to combine, it does not need to boil, you just want to dissolve the sugar and get the flavors to mingle. Set aside to cool.

By this stage of your preparation you can mix and drain your salted cabbage. You’ll continue to do this over the course of about 4 hours. Once the 4 hours are up and your cabbage is witty and bendy, rinse with cool water. Because there is so much salt, I rinse my cabbage 4 or 5 times. Drain well and lay out on a large towel, pat dry.

In a large bowl, add your Onion/Carrot mixture and your cabbage. Combine with half of your brine and start packing your sterilized pint jars tightly, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Divide the remaining brine between your jars – don’t forget that you can use the brine at the bottom of your bowl. In my case, I ended up with 5 full jars and enough brine for all.

Wipe your jar rims well, top with properly prepared lids and rings to fingertip tight. Process in a boiling hot water bath canner for 20 minutes.

As with any homemade pickle, I’d wait 3-4 weeks before enjoying your finished product. This is a delightfully spicy recipe but if you prefer less heat you can drop the the Siracha or Red Pepper Flake.


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