Korean Summer Pickles: Cucumber & Chiles, plus Garlic Scapes

2014 0718 Pickled garlic scapes and clovesI got on a roll. With a bucket full of garlic scapes and one successful Korean pickle, I knew there had to be more options. Of course there were.

2014 0718 Garlic scapes and clovesOn a blog called Kimchimari was a versatile recipe from the author’s Korean mother-in-law. It consisted of a pickling base of equal parts soy sauce, rice vinegar and sugar that was boiled and poured over, in one recipe, sliced cucumbers and chili peppers, and in the other, garlic cloves and scapes. They were called “summer pickles” or “jangahjji.” Fermented for three days or so at room temperature submerged in the pickling liquid, the vegetables were drained and the liquid was re-boiled and poured over the vegetables. They were then left to ferment for another three days or so, after which they were jarred and refrigerated. What could be simpler than that?

2014 0718 Cucumber chunks for picklesFor the cucumber pickles, I soaked small Persian style cukes in ice water, which both allows them to crisp and also to shed any hidden sand. If the cucumbers are bumpy and thorny, scrub them with a little coarse salt before slicing them.

2014 0718 Pickled cucumbers and peppersAlso, before you start, pack the vegetables in the storage jar you will be using and fill it with water. Drain the vegetables and measure the water. Adjust the pickling liquid to match this amount, erring on the high side, since it’s better to have too much and use it for some other purpose than have too little and not have the vegetables submerged. I used wheat-free tamari, unseasoned rice vinegar and white granulated sugar, 1 cup of each for a 1 1/2 pint straight-sided canning jar.  This is a new style for Ball, and uses a wide plastic cap or two-piece canning lid. To keep the vegetables submerged during the fermenting period, I used an inverted small plastic Ball cap, which fit perfectly.

How are Korean summer pickles eaten? Stirred into rice of course, along with a little of their liquid. Very refreshing in the summer heat. They are just “cooked” vegetables and not condiments, though a little lovely piece of simply cooked fish on the side does wonders for the combination.

Categories: Asian vegetables, Cucumbers, Fermenting, Garlic, PreservingTags:

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