Swiss Chard Kimchi
Notes: If you've never lacto-fermented before- no fear ! It's really easy, delicious, and good for you. You're basically using salt to control the good/bad bacteria balance and the result is so much more delicious than pickling with vinegar. We used giant swiss chard that my generous friend Lila contributed from her garden, that clearly is on growth hormones. You can use the little stuff. If you don't have chard handy or growing prolifically, use any hardy green- kale, beet greens, whatever. This works wonderfully in big batches - we did about 8 pounds between several quart jars.
1lb swiss chard, leaves and rib separated, washed, and chopped into 1 inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon ginger, minced or sliced thinly
- 3 tablespoons gochugaru Korean red chili powder (if you like it super hot, add a tablespoon or two more)
1. Sterilize jars and set aside. Combine chard with seasonings in a large bowl and massage for a minute or two with your hands until thoroughly coated (I recommend gloves here, but you could also use a spoon).
2. Pack the mixture into jars somewhat tightly as it will shrink considerably, but leave at least an inch headspace. Lightly seal and allow to sit in a cool place for at least 24 hours - generally anywhere on the counter is fine, though not in direct sunlight. Every few hours or whenever you walk by, give it a little shake (do this at least once a day). You'll notice how the seasonings start to draw out the moisture in the vegetables and a little brine is created. This is what you want.
3. After 24 hours, you can either pop the jar in the refrigerator where it will keep for months, or allow it to ferment longer. You can combine the two jars into one at this stage, if space allows -- the mixture should have condensed quite a bit by now. I highly recommend you be courageous and let it ferment longer. I'm going on day 2 (update: now day 5) with mine on the counter because I want it to get a little funky aka pickled. I'm aiming for at least a week as it keeps getting tastier each day. Keep tasting it and when you like how it tastes, put it in the fridge. I did a batch last year with turnips and bok choy and it sat out for at least a week before I put in the refrigerator. I prefer the more complex taste that develops as the fermentation continues, but it's up to you.