Kimchi For Beginners

Regular readers of this site know that I am a huge fan of kimchi. I love eating it and love making it. It is a nutritional powerhouse and I credit it with restoring my gut flora and greatly improving my immune system. As much as I wish everyone loved kimchi like me, I occasionally get some resistance. This post is about overcoming your objections to kimchi.


As I put this post together, I just had to eat some kimchi!

Skeptical of Fermented Veggies?

It has only been a short time in human history where we’ve been able to refrigerate our vegetables. How did we keep our food from going bad before electricity kept our produce at a constant cool temperatures? We learned how to harness the good bacteria to keep the bad bacteria from rotting the food. Fermented veggies are nutritionally superior to raw veggies and are an essential step to excellent health.

Too Spicy?

If you feel kimchi is too spicy, just use less Korean red pepper or use none at all. Most Asian markets even sell something called White Kimchi, which has no red pepper in it.

Too Salty?

Almost every recipe I’ve seen for kimchi uses more salt that is needed for a healthy fermentation. That includes Korean cookbooks. In the post Kimchi 101, I cover just how little salt you need. And although I’ve never tried it, there are a number of sources that state you can rinse the salt off the cabbage just before you pack the jar.

What Do You Eat With It?

Since kimchi does has some saltiness, eat it as a condiment to dishes that you would normally add salt to. I eat it frequently with eggs. If you add it to a soup, finish cooking the soup, turn off the heat and let it cool first before adding the kimchi. You don’t want to boil the kimchi and kill off all the good probiotics.

MSG and Sugar?

Two years ago the Asian markets were stocked with brands that either had MSG, sugar or both as ingredients. Things are better now. Now they carry a few brands without MSG and sugar. A small amount of sugar may not be a bad thing for a veggie ferment, but I don’t think it is necessary.


I hope I convinced you to give kimchi a try.


Add yours

  1. i like it on top of salad greens. it adds tons of flavor, so much that dressing is not needed. kimchi, like saurkraut, is an acquired taste for many. i heard that about beer when i first started drinking it. a few years later, everyone my age had definitely acquired the taste for beer. like beer, kimchi will also make you feel good if you eat enough of it.

  2. @Chuck – Great idea. I never thought to add it to salads.

  3. I don’t know if you’ve convinced me to try it or not (actually I have nothing against it having lived for several years in Hawaii) BUT I thought I’d mention that every time you mention kimchi I’m reminded of my mother, who used to say, “You’re be in deep kimchi….” and we’d know we were in BIG trouble.

  4. I’m convinced. Just finished putting up my first batch! Thanks for the inspiration.

  5. You are really starting to make this stuff look good! I love fermented foods, and super spicy foods.

    I wonder if this could be made with cauliflower.

    Hey, do you ever think you would open a little stand at your farmers market and sell it?

  6. @Sheila – I think your cauliflower idea is wonderful. I see a few recipes out there. I’m going to try fermenting it this week.

    Our local farmers market has a FireFly Kimchi stand. You really need a professional kitchen to scale up enough volume to make it profitable.

  7. i always loved kimchi but didn’t realize how easy it was to make till i read this blog. i just started my second batch last night. the smells of garlic and ginger were so good, i almost started eating it right away. hopefully this batch is as good as my first one.

  8. @Chuck – Congrats on the kimchi success. Every time I make it, I alter the ingredients. I’ll be reviewing a book on the topic soon.

  9. I have enjoyed reading all around your blog (found you on a link from paleohacks). I love kimchee and I think I will have to give a shot at making it.
    I made sauerkraut a while back, while the taste was fine, the texture was not. It was too crunchy. I will have to let it ferment longer next time. Have you ever heard of taking it out of the refrigerator and back on the shelf to ferment more??

  10. @Lisa _ I sample my ferments multiple times before I put it into the frig. You may be able to jump start the ferment again. Might be a good experiment.

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