February 28

Published by Panetary Health Initiative on

Cabbage and Pumpkin Leaf Kimchi

With all this rain lots of pumpkin plants have sprouted out of our compost and are invading the garden, but there’s so little sun that I suspect we’ll be lucky to get any ripe pumpkins before winter. One way to boost the growth of pumpkins is to cut back the pumpkin tips so that the plant’s energy goes into growing the fruit that has already started to form instead of growing more leaves (anything that starts from a flower is botanically a fruit!).

Yesterday we trimmed back a lot of pumpkin tips and tonight I experimented with making cabbage and pumpkin leaf kimchi! I LOVE kimchi and pumpkin leaves are so incredibly healthy that I thought it would be worth a try.

Actually all the parts of a pumpkin are edible – leaves, flowers, flesh, skin and seeds, so they’re a fabulous crop to grow. They’re also great at helping to suppress weeds because they’re so rampant. AND they grow themselves out of compost … what more could you wish for!

If you’d like to learn more about making compost and reducing food waste, Blue Mountains City Council is running free online workshops on the 8th and 26th March. You can find out more here

Ironically, the word kimchi means ‘submerged vegetables’ – seems appropriate to make kimchi today given that our garden has been submerged by floods this week!

This is super simple:

Kimchi recipe

Step 1

Rinse the pumpkin tips really well so there’s no dirt and pull off some of the stringy outer coating on the stems … I didn’t fuss too much and just pulled off the skin on the largest hairiest stems. Chop up. Chop some cabbage as well.

Submerge cabbage and pumpkin leaves in salt water, and weigh down with a plate for a few hours or overnight (Use 1 dessert spoon non-iodised sea salt per cup of filtered water … and make enough to cover the vegetables.)

Step 2

Blend ingredients for a paste:

4 tablespoons grated ginger

2 tablespoons grated turmeric

8 garlic cloves

1 small onion and 3 scallions (which I’d picked from our garden but you could just use 1 large onion)

2 tablespoons of whey if you have it (liquid from yoghurt)

Chilli flakes to taste or Korean red pepper powder

Step 3

Drain vegetables and reserve salt water. Mix paste evenly through veggies, then pack down into a jar … pressing to remove as much air as possible. Ensure that there is a layer of liquid above the veggie mix (add more brine if necessary) and weigh down with a glass.

Cover with a cloth and leave in a ceramic or glass dish on the bench to catch any ferment bubbling over. Check every day to make sure veggies are still covered with liquid.

Allow to ferment on the kitchen bench for 3-7 days. Taste after three days.

When you like the taste, seal with a lid and refrigerate to stop the fermentation.

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