We tested the kimchi
a few times and found it ready 12 days later, Christmas day. It's fabulous. Very garlicky, gingery, spicy, and with that delicious fermented flavor.
Here's the recipe as I made it, modified from Sharon Astyk's book, Independence Days.
Combine and stir to dissolve salt:
6 cups water
2 Tbsp. pickling salt (or non-iodized salt)
Mix together in a large bowl:
1 lb. cabbage or other greens, chopped/sliced
2 carrots, grated (I left the skin on)
1 lb. thinly sliced daikon
10 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger (I left the skin on)
Pour the brine over the vegetables in the bowl. Set a plate on top and weight the plate with a heavy can or jar or canister - something that can get wet. You want to hold the veggie mixture beneath the brine.
Let that arrangement stand for 24 hours on the counter.
Remove the plate apparatus. Add and stir in:
1 Tbsp. cayenne (or Korean hot pepper) - this is to taste, so consider how spicy you like things
3 tsp. sugar
Use a slotted spoon or your hands to pack the veggies in a glass half-gallon jar. Pour in enough brine to cover the veggies. Really pack the veggies in there firmly. Then hold them beneath the brine with a smaller, lidded jar filled with water (or something). Some people even suggest a clean stone. Set the jar in a shallow plate because as the kimchi ferments, the brine will bubble up and over the rim of the jar a bit. We set our jar in the basement where there's a dirt floor, so it's cool and humid down there; in a heated house, the fermenting will go faster. Astyk recommends a week, but at a week, our kimchi just tasted like cabbage salad and I wanted to taste the sharpness of fermentation, so we left it almost another week. When the kimchi is done, remove the weight, screw on the jar lid, and refrigerate.
Astyk follows the kimchi directions with a recipe for Kimchi Tofu soup: stock, ginger, dried mushrooms, soy sauce, scallions, tofu, and kimchi. Oh yes, we are going to make this.