Simple Kimchi From Scratch

By Laura Townshend , last updated February 28, 2011

It's really simple to make kimchi from scratch, and it's a must-have when you're eating Korean food. Made from cabbage and fermented with spices, ginger, garlic, and peppers, kimchi's importance as a food staple cannot be understated. People shy away from making kimchi at home because they fear it as a labor-intensive, drawn-out recipe. Truthfully, kimchi is easily made from scratch. There are only two periods where you will have to wait: during the initial brining and while the kimchi ferments.

Ingredients and Supplies

  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Large glass mixing bowl
  • Spoon
  • Heavy plate or pot lid
  • Several glass jars with lids
  • 4 Tablespoons sea salt
  • 6 Cups water
  • 2 Pounds Napa cabbage
  • 6 Green onions
  • 6 Garlic cloves
  • 2 Tablespoons ginger
  • 2 Tablespoons dried pepper flakes
  • 2 Teaspoons white sugar


Cut the cabbage into two-inch cubes. Put the cabbage cubes into a large mixing bowl. Add the water and three tablespoons of salt. Put a plate or pot lid on top of the cabbage to press it down and keep it beneath the water. Cover and allow the cabbage to sit in the refrigerator for 12 hours.

Slice each green onion lengthwise and then chop into two-inch pieces. Peel the ginger and mince. Mince the garlic cloves. Set aside.

Drain the cabbage and mix with the remaining ingredients. Mix thoroughly.

Put the cabbage mixture into glass jars. As you put the cabbage in, push it down. You'll want the cabbage to be completely submerged in the liquid when you're finished. Leave 1/2-inch to one-inch of room between the liquid and the top of the jar. Seal the jars tightly and leave them to ferment over the course of three days. It's okay for the kimchi to be at room temperature at this point. Do not store the jars in direct sunlight. Keep them in a dark cupboard or pantry.

After three days, the kimchi is ready to serve. Once it's fermented, you can store kimchi in the refrigerator for up to six months.

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