Introduction: Mason Jar Kimchi

Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish. There are lots of different recipes out there. They all have one thing in common. They all contain Lactobacillus, the healthy bacteria that your gut loves.

I've had some kimchi I liked, some I didn't, and some I even thought had spoiled.

The only fix I could see is to make my own.

Its not that difficult to make and best of all you can tweak the recipe to your liking.


For this project I used the following items:

2 large canning jars

A fermentation kit with glass weights and airlock lids

Cutting board and knife

Measuring spoons

Assorted bowls

Frying pan and whisk

Rubber gloves

2 heads of napa cabbage

1 large red onion

1 large carrot

1 large garlic

2 bunches green onions

1 tbsp grated ginger

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp sea salt

1 to 2 tsp hot pepper powder

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 to 2 tbsp sweet rice flour

Step 1: Wash Cabbage

Disassemble and wash the cabbage.

Step 2: Chop Cabbage

Stack the cabbage leaves and slice lengthwise then crosswise.

This will give you edible sized pieces, when it comes time to enjoy the kimchi.

Step 3: Prep the Other Ingredients

I chop the onion into pieces that should be easy to eat as well as shredding the carrot into a manageable size.

The green onion slices are angled nicely. It makes no difference but it makes me feel good when I see them like that.

I chop the garlic and ginger tiny enough that it can spread out into the entire mixture.

Step 4: Make a Roux

I call this a roux but it most likely has another Korean name when being used in kimchi.

I use 2 cups of water and add my brown sugar, pepper powder, and sweet rice flour while whisking.

I simmer this until it thickens up a bit. I don't want it super thick but not watery either. Kind of like Swiss Chalet dipping sauce, if you know what that is.

Step 5: Mix It Up

To be safe I wear rubber gloves while I mix it all together. My pepper powder can linger on the fingers for many hours. Nothing reminds you that you made kimchi like touching your eye while watching TV 6 hrs later.

I pour the roux into the bowl of mixed ingredients. I then dredge the cabbage through it on its way to a final mixing bowl.

Step 6: Wash the Fermentation Weights and Lids

I wash the jars, fermentation weights, and lids.

I bought this kit on Amazon with some of the winnings from a previous Instructable. I've only used it for kimchi but I'm sure it would be useful for other pickling ideas. The glass weights hold the solids under the liquid while the fermentation takes place. The airlock lid allows co2 to escape without oxygen entering the jar. If for some reason you have to open the jar, there is a hand pump in the kit to vacuum out the air once you close the jar. A small recipe book comes with the set containing a simple kimchi recipe. I expanded on that the recipe after googling around a bit.

Step 7: Now Fill, Weight, and Wait

Now you fill the jars, install the weights and wait for 10 to 30 days. At room temperature the Lactobacillus will take hold and convert a jar of raw veggies into an amazing culinary treat. These jars are a bit to full and will bubble out the airlock. Not a problem if they are sitting on a plate. I just rinse them off once the bubbling calms down. I enjoy a young ferment of 10 days. I then remove the weight and air lock lid, cover with a conventional lid and refrigerate. I'm unsure how long it keeps because it gets eaten within a month or two.

There is usually to much of the mix to fit into the jars. This isn't a problem, it can be eaten as is without fermenting. It is called Baechu Geotjeori when served fresh. It doesn't have the depth of flavor, but is enjoyable none the less.

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