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)
- Mix a brine of 4 cups water and 4 tablespoons salt. Stir well to dissolve salt.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Mix the vegetables with the spice paste. Pack into jars till brine rises. If necessary, top the jars with extra brine before capping.
- 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.
- Check daily to ensure the kimchi stays submerged, and pack down if necessary.
- 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.