Reclaiming Your Roots

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Late fall is a great time for fermentation projects.  Right now, the farmers' markets are filled with delicious cabbages for sauerkraut, as well as most of the ingredients needed to make kimchi, a traditional fermented Korean dish.  There are endless variations on kimchi in Korea, depending on the region where it's made as well as the season.  The following recipe is from Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions and is a quick and easy way to make kimchi at home.  I've also tried Sandor Katz's kimchi recipe in Wild Fermentation, and it's delicious too.  So, get in the kitchen and start brewing some critters.  

KIMCHI (makes 2 quarts)

  • 1 head Napa cabbage, cored and shredded
  • 1 bunch of green onions or 1 large slicing onion, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, grated
  • 1/2 cup daikon radish, grated
  • 1 T freshly grated ginger root
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried chili flakes
  • 2 T sea salt


  1. Place vegetables, ginger, garlic, red chili flakes, and sea salt in a bowl and pound with a wooden pounder or your fists to release juices.  Squeezing the veggies can also help break down the cell walls and release juices.  It's also more fun and messy!
  2. Place in 2 qt sized mason jars or a 1/2 gal mason jar and press down firmly with a pounder or hands until juices come to the top of the veggies and cover them.  The top of the vegetables should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar. 
  3. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 3 days before transferring to the refrigerator.
  4. Enjoy! Once in the fridge, your kimchi will still continue to ferment slowly, so its flavor will continue to develop in the weeks to come.  Your kimchi should keep for several months.