Fresh Rainbow Kimchi

Makes ~5 Cups in 3 Days

This fresh, California-style kimchi is more like sauerkraut than traditional Korean kimchi. Be sure to use organic vegetables that retain their natural microbes instead of pesticide residues. The alchemy of fermentation occurs naturally (without the addition of vinegar) when the bacteria adhering to the cabbage leaves (even when rinsed) digest it in the presence of salt water. I first tasted this delicious kimchi with my friend and colleague, Dr. David Field, who makes the most wonderful kimchi I have tasted!

Kimchi helps repopulate the large intestine with beneficial bacteria like Lactobacillus plantarum. Evidence suggests that fermentation increases myrosinase, the enzyme that releases the anti-cancer compounds from the cruciferous vegetables.

Fresh kimchi is made in two steps over two days, so the hardest part is waiting for it to ferment! From day 3 on you can enjoy it, but eat it in small portions as a tangy condiment in salad bowls, tacos, wraps and burgers. Remember to not overdo it – a little kimchi goes a long way!

  • 1 - 2 pounds crisp organic Napa cabbage, sliced into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 carrot, cut into small “match stick” size pieces
  • 4-inch stalk daikon radish, cut into larger “match stick” size pieces
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped to the greens
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 5 shitake mushrooms, sliced thick (1/2 inch)
  • 1 tablespoon Korean chili powder or cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • ¼ cup cilantro, leaves chopped (optional)
  • 6 cups purified water (avoid chlorine which kills microbes)
  • ¼ cup + 1 tablespoons sea salt (regular salt has caking agents that hinder fermentation)

DAY ONE: “FINE BRINE”

Rinse and slice the cabbage. Peel the carrots and scrub the daikon and chop into “match stick” size pieces. In a large bowl, dissolve ¼ cup sea salt in 6 cups purified water. Add the cabbage, carrots and daikon to the salt water and loosely cover with a plate. Soak 12-15 hours in a cool, dark place.

DAY TWO: “NICE SPICE”

Drain the cabbage through a strainer, reserving the salty soaking water! Chop the ginger, garlic, scallions, shallots, cilantro and mushroom. Toss the cabbage with 1 tablespoon of sea salt and chili powder and massage slightly for a minute to help break down the cell walls of the veggies. Mix them with the rest of veggies and pack into a 2-quart jar. Cover with the retained salt water, leaving ½ inch headspace. Cover the jar and refrigerate. You can begin eating it the next day but finish it up within a couple of weeks, occasionally lifting the lid for gas to escape

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Sally LaMont, ND, LAc