Make Korean Kimchi from Any Garden Cabbage

Reader Contribution by Melissa Souza

My husband is part Korean, and kimchi was a big part of his life growing up. kimchi is a fermented blend of cabbage, chili peppers, garlic, onions, and other spices often eaten with every meal in Korea.  Kimchi is rich in vitamins A and C, and due to its fermentation process is also rich in beneficial gut-boosting lactobacilli bacteria.  Here in America our diet lacks fermented foods, and the beneficial microbes that are needed for a healthy digestive system.

We try to incorporate fermented foods into our diet, and kimchi is so tasty that it makes that task easy.  I promised to make him some from our garden, but all of the Asian cabbage that we planted went to seed due to a warm spell in spring. Our green cabbage thrived all spring, and we ended up with huge heads of regular old cabbage. 

Not wanting to make quarts of sauerkraut that wasn’t going to be eaten I decided to try to make the imchi using what we had.  After all, homesteading is about using what you have.

Kimchi Recipe


1 large cabbage head
1 pound daikon root
8 green onion
8 cloves garlic (grated)
• ginger root (grated)
• 2 tbsp fish sauce
• 1/2 cup water
• 8 tbsp Korean red pepper flakes or red pepper paste
• 3 tbsp sugar
• 1/2 cup sea salt


1. Cut cabbage in 2 inch sections, sprinkle with salt, cover with water, and let sit 2 hours.

3. Drain and rinse 3 times, and allow to dry.

4. Chop daicon into matchstick sized pieces.

5. Chop green onion into 1 inch sections.

6. Add cabbage to diacon and green onion, and toss.

Prepare brine:

1. Add sugar, water, garlic, and ginger. Mix and add Korean red pepper.

2. Add brine to veggies and stir until fully coated.

3. Pack tightly into jars, and seal.

4. Leave at room temp 2-5 days.

5. Each day push cabbage below brine surface to release gases.

6. Taste each day until satisfied.

7. Store in fridge. The full flavor is best after a week or two in the fridge. This will keep up to 6 months or more in the fridge.

Melissa Souzalives on a 1-acre, organically managed homestead property in rural Washington State where she raises backyard chickens and meat rabbits and grows plums, apples, pears, a variety of berries, and all the produce her family needs. She loves to inspire other families to save money, be together, and take steps toward self-reliance no matter where they live. Connect with her onFacebook.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.