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Papaya Kimchi

As an organic grower, one of the perks is having abundant produce to cook and eat during our harvest season. Currently, we are still waiting to harvest our winter crop and I don’t have any free produce. In the mean time, what am I cooking with?

In our area of south Texas, papaya grow like weeds, their seeds spread by the numerous birds who peck at the ripened fruit. The papaya seeds are easy to propagate, and I have 10 plants in my backyard that we grew from seed.

Papaya, while they are still green, have a very high amount of resistant starch which is a bonanza for beneficial gut bacteria. I decided to enhance the benefit even more by making kimchi out of them.

First you peel and seed the green fruit.

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Cut into to strips, then into cubes.

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Add salt. Here, I am using himalayan pink salt, but you can use any kind.

Add salt. Here, I am using himalayan pink salt, but you can use any kind.

Add Korean red pepper flakes. If you don’t have any, I have used puree of any red peppers, even a bell pepper would work. You won’t have the heat, but the color and flavor from the bell pepper is nice. My favorite is red vine ripened jalapeno puree.

Add Korean red pepper flakes. If you don’t have any, I have used puree of any red peppers, even a bell pepper would work. You won’t have the heat, but the color and flavor from the bell pepper is nice. My favorite is red vine ripened jalapeno puree.

Garlic puree is next. If you don’t have any fresh garlic, I have gotten away with garlic powder or granulated garlic before.

Garlic puree is next. If you don’t have any fresh garlic, I have gotten away with garlic powder or granulated garlic before.

Thinly sliced scallions are next. If you don’t have scallions, you can substitute with puree of onions. Puree peppers, garlic and onions together to save time.

Thinly sliced scallions are next. If you don’t have scallions, you can substitute with puree of onions. Puree peppers, garlic and onions together to save time.

If you are vegan, you can skip this step and just add more salt. The tiny pink things you see are salted shrimps you can purchase from a Korean grocery store.

If you are vegan, you can skip this step and just add more salt. The tiny pink things you see are salted shrimps you can purchase from a Korean grocery store.

Mix well, using a spoon, or with a gloved hand. Taste to see if you need to add more salt. I usually add some sugar at this stage to help along the fermentation process. If you are against sugar, you can puree an apple along with garlic, onion and pepper and add the mixture. I have made all variations and combinations, and they have all turned out well.

Mix well, using a spoon, or with a gloved hand. Taste to see if you need to add more salt. I usually add some sugar at this stage to help along the fermentation process. If you are against sugar, you can puree an apple along with garlic, onion and pepper and add the mixture. I have made all variations and combinations, and they have all turned out well.

Jar it, and keep it at room temperature for the next two days. Refrigerate afterwards.

Jar it, and keep it at room temperature for the next two days. Refrigerate afterwards.

I left my jar out for 4 days to maximize fermentation. My family commented they prefer a slightly fresher version. My gut, on the other hand, is thanking me for the extra time I had the papaya kimchi out on the counter.

I hope you try making it yourself if you have access to green papayas. DO NOT attempt to make it with ripe fruit!

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