timeframe: 1 week or longerKimchi is a traditional Korean ferment with many popular variations.


  • 1‐2 heads of cabbage (Napa is traditional)
  • 4 tablespoons kosher or sea salt (non‐iodized)
  • a few onions, scallions, leeks, and/or shallots
  • a few hot red chilies, or ⅓ cup chili powder (Korean pepper is called gochugaru)
  • 3 tablespoons grated gingerroot
  • optional: carrots, beets, radishes, etc.


  • large mixing bowl
  • mason jars
  • canning funnel (optional)


  1. Mix a brine of 4 cups water and 4 tablespoons salt. Stir well to dissolve salt.
  2. Chop cabbage and vegetables coarsely and let soak in brine. Mix every twenty minutes for an hour, or keep submerged using a heavy plate overnight till cabbage is soft.
  3. Prepare spices: grate the ginger, chop garlic and onion, remove seeds from the chilies and chop or crush or throw them in whole. Kimchi can absorb a lot of spice. Mix spices into a paste.
  4. Drain brine from vegetables and rinse to remove excess salt. Taste the cabbage. If you cannot taste salt, too much has been removed. Sprinkle more on.
  5. Mix the vegetables with the spice paste. Pack into jars till brine rises. If necessary, top the jars with extra brine before capping.
  6. Cover each jar with a loose lid, and write the date on the lid with a dry erase marker. Set each jar in a bowl on the countertop away from direct sunlight.
  7. Check daily to ensure the kimchi stays submerged, and pack down if necessary.
  8. Taste after one week, and ferment till it reaches the desired level of sourness. Cap tightly and store in the refrigerator. Enjoy!


Keep your ferments submerged. A white bloom on the surface is safe — scrape it off and eat kimchi below. If the kimchi turns any other color, oxygen has stopped fermentation and enabled unknown microorganisms to colonize. Compost the entire batch.