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  • Writer's pictureFoodie Julie

Kimchi basics

My daughter has long been a proponent of fermented foods, particularly Kimchi. Kimchi, a staple in Korean cuisine, is a traditional side dish of salted and fermented vegetables, such as napa cabbage and Korean radish, made with a widely varying selection of seasonings including gochugaru, spring onions, garlic, ginger, and jeotgal, etc. It is also used in a variety of soups. Fermented foods, which are natural probiotics, also help with digestion.

So I decided to try my hand at making Kimchi from scratch. My daughter gave me some guidelines and my first batch was pretty darn good. Needed a bit more salt and heat (I didn't add in any peppers or chili paste). My second batch is fermenting on my dining room table and should be ready in about 10 days. Below are the steps that I took. There are tons of other recipes out there, though.

Julie's 2nd Batch of Kimchi


  • 1 head of white cabbage - thinly sliced (or 2 heads of bok choy)

  • 2 large daikon radishes (you can also use white or red radishes) - thinly sliced

  • 4 or 5 carrots, grated

  • 4 to 5 green onions, chopped or in slivers

  • 1 cup of fresh ginger, grated or minced

  • 1 head of garlic, minced

  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup of Gochujang Fermented Chili Paste Concentrate (My brand: Mother In Law's)

  • Brine ratio: 1 qt water / 2 tablespoons natural sea salt

  1. Put the sliced cabbage in one or several large containers (ceramic or glass) and cover with brine for one hour. Weight down with plates, etc. to make sure all is submerged. Add in the radishes and carrots, add more brine if needed, and let sit for 1 or 2 more hours.

  2. In the meantime, mix together the green onions, fresh ginger, garlic and chili paste. Set aside.

  3. After the brining, taste test a piece of cabbage. It shouldn't be too salty but if not salty enough, add more salt. (I didn't add any extra at this stage but I did do 2 heaping tablespoons when making the brine)

  4. Drain off and save the brine. Mix in the onion, ginger, garlic, paste ingredients, making sure to evenly coat.

  5. I put them into 4 sterilized wide mouth quart-sized glass canning jars. Add some of the brine to almost cover. You will need to weight down the ingredients so that everything stays submerged. I used 1/2 pint glass canning jars - they fit right into the top - and added water to them just to give them more weight. They are narrow enough for the ingredients to "breathe" and ferment. Put the jars on a tray because they will start to bubble and may bubble over. Cover with a cloth and store them in a warm room (but not more that 80 degrees).

  6. They may be ready to each within 10 days to 2 weeks. At that time, put a lid on them and store them in your fridge.


  • Ginger is a pain to peel but using a potato peeler and a small paring knife work well.

  • I used a Pampered Chef cheese grater for the carrots. But a small food processor works also. Or just thinly slice.

  • Mincing the ginger and the garlic cloves is easy in a small food processor.

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