KimchiFile 1443


  • 1/3 cup coarse salt
  • 2 cups non-chlorinated water
  • 2 pounds vegetables, napa cabbage, plus optional mustard greens, bok choy, or daikon
  • 1/2 head garlic
  • 1 large or 2 small onions
  • 1 piece (1/2 inch) gingerroot
  • Up to 1/2 cup Korean red pepper powder, chopped or ground red peppers, or pepper flakes
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
  • a few scallions or a length of Korean “long onion” (which is more or less, a mature scallion)

Special Equipment:

  • Wide-mouthed mason jars (2 pints or 1 quart)


  1. In a mixing bowl, dissolve the salt in the water to make brine.
  2. Cut up the 2 pounds of vegetables.
  3. Put cut vegetables into the brine and mix, using clean hands. Cover the bowl and let sit overnight or at least 6 hours, then drain the vegetables thoroughly in a colander. Taste them- they should be salty, but not unpleasantly so.
  4. Peel the garlic, onions, and ginger.
  5. Blend the onions, garlic, and ginger in a food processor and add enough water to allow them to blend properly.
  6. Add the red pepper, sugar, and fish sauce, if using, to the food processor, adding just enough water to create a paste.
  7. Cut the scallions diagonally into 1-inch lengths, add them to the food processor, and mix the paste with a wooden spoon.
  8. Move the drained vegetables into a large bowl and mix them with the seasoning paste. Taste the kimchi- if it is not salty enough, add more salt and stir.
  9. Pack the kimchi tightly into the mason jars, leaving 1-inch of space at the top. Try to pack it down well enough to squeeze out most of the air bubbles along the side of the jar. Close the jar.
  10. Leave the jar on the counter at room temperature for a few days. Taste it every day or two. It should start to taste a bit “wild.” When you like the way it tastes, put it in a cellar or a refrigerator to store or bury it in the ground. The cooler the temperature, the slower the subsequent fermentation.

Adapted from Real Food Fermentation: Preserving Whole Fresh Food with Live Cultures in Your Home Kitchen by Alex Lewin