It’s hosta shoot season, and besides just throwing them in a hot pan (which is great) the shoots are a bit like rolled-up lettuce, and they take really well to the kimchi treatment. It’s a great recipe to add to your repertoire for this common, delicious garden ornamental.
It’s easy. To prepare them for fermentation, you don’t even need to cook the hostas before you first, just cut them into 1 inch pieces, macerate in a bit of salt water, drain, mix with a little rice paste and a seasoning made from gochugaru chili flakes, fish sauce, ginger and scallions or ramp leaves, mix it all up, and let it sit on the counter for a week, then refrigerate.
Using other shoots and plants
That being said, the basic measurements here will work with just about any plant, and would be especially good with aromatic plants like blanched cow parsnip or angelica blossoms, or even napa cabbage. Here’s a few other ideas:
Adding a few handfuls of purslane can be great. This is not available during the spring when I harvest hostas in the Midwest, but it may be available in different places where their season can overlap, or be supplemented in another way.
Day lily Shoots
Day lily shoots are similar to hostas in many ways, but, unlike hostas, many people need to have them cooked or blanched before eating, and they should never be served raw. To use them in a preparation like kimchi, you will want to blanch them in boiling water for 15 seconds or so, then drain and allow to cool naturally without shocking in cold water. From there, you would brine the shoots as per the recipe below.
You can also add fiddleheads of your choice to this, but you will want to blanch them exactly as I call for the day lilies above, increasing the blanching time to no more than 1 minutes. Fiddlehead ferments are also notorious for going soft during the fermentation process, so you’ll want to make sure that you refrigerate the ferment after 3-4 days, which should keep them crisp.
Hosta Shoot Kimchi
- 3 cup or 1 quart mason jar. Use a plastic lid to avoid corrosion if it will be held for longer than a few weeks.
- 1 pound 455 g hosta shoots (or napa cabbage, or other vegetable) (roughly 6 loosely packed cups)
- 3 ounces 85 g daikon radish, sliced into ¼-inch (6 mm) half-moons (about ½ cup)
- 3 ounces 85 g ramp leaves (or green onions, sliced into 1-inch / 2.5 cm lengths)
- Scant ¾ ounce 20 grams / 3 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ cup 135 ml water
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup or equivalent
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon white rice flour or grind white rice as finely as possible in a coffee grinder
- ¼ cup 30 g Korean gochugaru chili flakes (coarse)
- 3 large cloves garlic minced
- 1- inch 2.5 cm cube fresh ginger, minced
- Cut the hostas into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces and combine in a bowl with the radish, ramp leaves or onions, and salt, mix very well, and allow to sit for an hour or two.
- Bring the water, maple syrup, and fish sauce to a simmer with the rice flour until thickened, cool to room temperature, then mix with the chili flakes, garlic, and ginger.
- Rinse the salted hosta mixture well, drain, and pat dry with a towel if needed to remove excess moisture. Toss the hosta mixture with the chili paste, then pack into a quart (945 ml) jar.
- Screw on the lid and leave out for 2 to 5 days, depending on how sour you want the kimchi to be, removing the lid occasionally to let carbon dioxide escape, then refrigerate.
- The kimchi will for a month or longer if regularly pressed under its liquid.