1. Cut the cabbage lengthwise into quarters and remove the cores. Cut each quarter crosswise into 2-inch (5 cm) wide strips.
2. Place the cabbage and salt in a large bowl. Using your hands, massage the salt into the cabbage until it starts to soften, then add enough water to cover the cabbage. Put a plate on top and weigh it down with something heavy, such as a can of beans, or a mason jar filled with water. Let stand for 1 hour.
3. Rinse the cabbage under cold water and drain in a colander for about 15 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, combine the garlic, ginger, sugar, and fish sauce, if using, in a small bowl and mix to form a smooth paste. Mix in the gochugaru, using 1 - 2 Tablespoons (5 - 10 ml) for mild, or up to 5 Tablespoons (25 ml) for a real kick.
5. Combine the cabbage, daikon, and scallion with the paste. Mix everything together with your hands, or use a pair of tongs.
(If you use your hands, gloves are highly recommended to protect your hands from chili stings, and smell.)
6. Pack the kimchi mixture, including the liquid that has been released, into a quart-size, wide-mouth mason jar, pressing down on it firmly with a wooden spoon or rolling pin until the vegetables are level with the shoulder and there is 1 inch (2.5 cm) of brine above the top of the vegetables.
7. Place Kraut Source onto the jar. Allow to ferment for 5 - 10 days in a cool spot, away from direct sunlight. Letting it ferment for up to 14 days is even better. Check every few days that there is water in the moat, and top off as needed (see Note).
8. Replace Kraut Source with the standard mason jar lid and ring. Transfer to the refrigerator.
Note: As Napa cabbage releases a lot of water, keep an eye on your kimchi during the first 24 - 48 hours. There should be about 1 inch (2.5 cm) of liquid above the top of the vegetables, so pour off excess if it looks like it will over flow.
*Gochugaru, or Korean red pepper flakes, is widely available in Asian grocery stores.
I have made this recipe before and LOVE it!! I made a new batch five days ago and it seemed to be vigorously producing the proper gases until now…everything seems to have slowed down or stopped. I’d like to let it go the full fourteen days, but not if that would ruin my lovely batch of kimchi! If the Kraut Source remains on so no air gets in, is it okay to let it sit out for nine more days? Thanks so much!
@Jessica: I apologize for any confusion. The liquid in step 2 is not brine, it’s just water to help break down the salted cabbage. The liquid referenced in step 6 is any liquid that might have been released when you mix the cabbage with the other ingredients and the seasoning paste. As you pack your cabbage into the mason jar, you’ll see liquid build up, and that is what we refer to as the brine. And also please see the Note at the bottom of the recipe. I hope this helps.
This recipe is unclear regarding the brine. Do we reserve the brine from step 2 and include it in step 6?
@Lynn in Tucson: You let the kimchi sit at room temperature while it’s fermenting. Thanks!
Hi – Does this sit out at room temp while it’s curing?
@NORBY RUDEL: we recommend in the recipe to watch the kimchi for the first 24-48 hours after installing Kraut Source; the cabbage might release more liquid over this period. As long as you have 1 inch of brine over the top of the vegetables, it’ll be fine. If you don’t seem to have enough brine, prepare one using the ratio of 1 teaspoon sea salt to 1 cup filtered water, and pour that into the jar until you get 1 inch over the top of the vegetables.
I am making kimchi for the first time today. I followed your instructions to a tee. I packed the mixture firmly into a quart container but there is very little if any brine. Am I supposed to add water to cover the mixture. I
May have let the cabbage drain too long. Help!
@JENNA: this recipe is for a quart-size mason jar (32 oz).
Love it! What size jar will this recipe use?
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January 20, 2021
@Shari: the bubbles signal the fermentation being at its most active state, but it continues even if bubbles have stopped. You can let it keep going to 14 days; just make sure there’s always water in the moat. You can also open the system before then and taste it. If you like the taste, you can stop the process. If you want a deeper flavor, put the system back and continue fermenting. Good luck!