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  • Writer's pictureVerve

What is Kimchi?

Updated: Mar 29, 2020

Kimchi is a Korean fermented salad filled with probiotics and beneficial bacteria.While kimchi has hundreds of varieties, here at Verve we focus on one that is made from salted Napa cabbage and spices. We vary the vegetables we add: carrot, radish, onion, seaweed, mushrooms, fungus and garlic. For the milder palettes, kimchi can be spicy due to  the red pepper flakes in it. Baechu, or Napa cabbage, kimchi is made by lacto-fermentation, the same process that creates sauerkraut and traditional dill pickles. In the first stage, the cabbage is salted and releases a salty brine that kills off harmful bacteria. In the second stage, the remaining Lactobacillus bacteria will convert sugars into lactic acid, and preserve the vegetables.

Health Benefits

Napa cabbage the main ingredient, is an excellent source of B6, K, C, vitamins. Probiotics help with digestion, gut health and inflammation. Besides being a high-fiber side, the other ingredients: ginger, garlic, and pepper contribute other minerals and nutrients such as calcium, potassium, and iron.


1. Cut the cabbage. Cut the cabbage to preferred size.

2. Salt the cabbage. Using a scale, weigh the bowl, reset to zero, and then add the cabbage. Whatever the weight of the cabbage is, multiply that by 2.5% (.025). This is going to be your salt content. Then sprinkle with the salt (kosher, sea salt, or mountain salt. If the salt isn’t free of iodine and anti-caking agents, it will inhibit fermentation). Using your hands, massage the salt into the cabbage until it starts to soften a bit. Leave at least 5 hours, but overnight is best. Put a plate on top of the cabbage and weigh it down with something heavy.

3. Drain the cabbage. Set aside to drain in a colander while you make your paste.

4. Make the spice paste.

5. Chop the vegetables and spice paste. In a big container or bowl you are going to add whatever vegetables you want to add: red pepper, carrots, seaweed, radish, etc. Try to squeeze as much liquid out of the cabbage before adding your vegetables and paste to it.

6. Mix thoroughly. Using your hands (gloves are optional: they do protect from stings, stains, and smells), gently work the paste into the vegetables until they are thoroughly coated.

7. Pack the kimchi into the jar. Pack the kimchi into a 1-gallon jar. Press down on the kimchi until the brine (the liquid that comes out) rises to cover the vegetables, leaving at least 1 inch of space at the top. If you have fermenting weights, use those to keep the vegetables under their liquid. Seal the jar.

8. Let it ferment-but not explode. Place a bowl or plate under the jar to help catch any overflow. Let the jar stand at cool room temperature (60 degrees is perfect), out of direct sunlight, for 5-10 days. You may see bubbles inside the jar and brine may seep out of the lid- the best way to avoid a disaster is to gas the jar (just open it so the CO2 can escape, and close it again)

9. Check it daily and refrigerate when ready. Check the kimchi once a day, opening the jar and pressing down on the vegetables with a clean finger or spoon to keep them submerged under the brine. (This also releases gases produced during fermentation.) Taste a little at this point, too! When the kimchi tastes ripe enough for your liking, transfer the jar to the refrigerator. You may eat it right away, but it's best after another week or two. Storage: Kimchi can be refrigerated for up to a few months. Use clean utensils each time to extract the kimchi from the jar.

What is "good bacteria"?

"Healthy bacteria", such as lactobacilli, found in fermented foods like kimchi and yogurt, assist with digestion by removing bad bacteria that linger in the gut and colon. By doing so it helps to prevent internal infections, such as yeast infections, and cancer.

How to add Kimchi to your diet?

Kimchi is often served as a side dish. However, you can add it to rice, noodle, or soup dishes and it will take it to the next level.

Kimchi ideas:

Add To Scrambled Eggs.

Use as a Burger Topping

Stir Kimchi Into Fried Rice

Mix into Savory Pancakes

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