Today I asked Gabriel if he wanted to help me make kimchi. He was thrilled. Gabriel loves helping in the kitchen and he loves kimchi. He did asked if he could do all of the chopping and pick what type of cabbages we use. Usually, I make kimchi with Nappa Cabbage, but Gabriel wanted to use a combination of green cabbage and purple cabbage. He said this would be prettier to eat. I agreed to his terms and he set to washing all of the vegetables thoroughly.
Once all of the vegetables were scrubbed clean, I cut the cabbages into fourths to make the pieces easier for Gabriel to handle. I followed a kimchi recipe in the book "Nourishing Traditions" by Sally Fallon and then doubled it. I find it is more palatable for the children as it isn't as spicy as some of the more traditional recipes. And so, Gabriel begins to chop, and chop, and chop. Then, he chopped some more. Two cabbages can be quite a task for a seven year old boy, but he handled it like a professional.
While he was chopping, I was grating the carrots, ginger, and mincing the garlic. When done, he measured out the salt and red pepper flakes (I love the math involved in the kitchen). I sliced the green onions because he said they bothered his eyes to much. At that he went and retrieved his swim goggles to protect them.
Gabriel then proceeded to mix the vegetables really well, so as to get the salt on all of it. Once done, it was now time to pound! This releases the juices from the vegetables to help create the brine. Besides the chopping, the pounding took the longest time. But, we had fun doing it. Gabriel said that what we needed was some music to sing to. He asked me to play "The Last Goodbye" (From The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies). So, we sang along to the music and took turns with the hammer until the juices from the vegetables were adequately released.
We were now at the final stage of the kimchi making process. It was time to pack our jars. We packed the jars 3/4 of the way full. This allows the kimchi enough head space so that it does not begin to overflow as it ferments. Trust me, it happens and it makes the house smell like kimchi.
Now that the jars are packed tight, the kimchi does the rest of the work. I let it ferment on the counter for 3-4 days to achieve the desired taste for Gabriel. He says the kimchi looks pretty and he can hardly wait to eat it!