Edible Bozeman

Tsukemono, a Japanese take on vegetable fermentation, is great as a side dish or snack. It is commonly served with rice.


1 medium cabbage
2 tablespoons sea salt
1 (4-inch) piece of kombu
Optional mix-ins: diced jalapeño, shredded carrot, cilantro

Peel any rough-edged or rotten leaves off the cabbage. Remove 1 large, nice leaf, keeping it as whole as possible, and set aside for later. Remove the cabbage core then shred the cabbage by cutting it against the grain.

Place shredded cabbage in a large bowl, sprinkle with salt, and toss to evenly incorporate. Allow to sit for 10–15 minutes.

With a potato masher, wooden spoon, or wooden meat hammer, pound the cabbage to extract water, reserving all of this extracted juice. The process should take 10–15 minutes and the cabbage should reduce by about a third.

Add in any mix-ins you desire.

Transfer the mixture from the bowl to a quart jar, then add kombu. Reserve juice left over in the bowl. Using the masher, pack the cabbage down to remove air bubbles.

Cover the cabbage and kombu with the large leaf reserved earlier. This helps the cabbage stay under the waterline. (Left exposed to air, it will mold.) Top the jar off with reserved cabbage juice, leaving about an inch of room at the top.

Cover the jar with cheesecloth, secured with a rubber band, to keep out dust. Leave the jar on the counter at room temperature for about 3 days.

At this point, when the contents are bubbly and smell a little sour and acidic, the jar can be sealed with a top and moved to long-term cold storage in a refrigerator or root cellar. It has a shelf life of up to a year.

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