Three-Day Kimchi

Piquant, fiery, and fast to make, this lacto-fermented version might just get you hooked.

Written by Wendy Jehanara Tremayne Image Photographed by Gunther Kirsch

Time Required:

30 Minutes Prep,

3 Days Ferment





» 1 head of your favorite cabbage

» 1lb carrots

» 8 cloves chopped garlic or chopped onion

» 2 Tbsp minced ginger

» 2 Tbsp sesame oil or fish oil

» 2 tsp salt

» ½ tsp dry red pepper flakes

» Juice of 2 limes

» 1 pint whey from kefir, yogurt, or live cheese. Making cheese and other dairy products produces a byproduct called whey, a protein- rich liquid full of probiotics.

» Mason jars with lids

» Airlocks (optional)


( pursues a post-consumer life ( in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, where she and her partner make their own fuel, power, food, medicine, and domestic goods. She founded Swapo-Rama-Rama, now a mainstay of Maker Faire. Her book, The Good Life Lab: Radical Experiments In Hands-On Living (Storey 2013), won the 2014 Nautilus Book Silver Award for Green Living/Sustainability..

KIMCHI IS THE FUNKY, SPICY, ANCIENT KOREAN FERMENTED CABBAGE DISH that’s being rediscovered by chefs today. While traditional kimchi takes months to make, our lacto-fermented kimchi is ready in days because it cooks the vegetables enzymatically. (Microorganisms work with enzymes, a chemical catalyst, to “predigest” your food.) It’s full of healthy probiotics and vitamin C. And did I mention it’s delicious and inexpensive?

1. Shred cabbage and carrots and fill mason jars with the mix. Press them down with the back of a spoon to pack the jar tight.

2. Mince the garlic and ginger in a bowl with sesame oil, salt, red pepper flakes, lime juice, and kefir whey that has been inoculated with a spoonful of kefir culture. (Any whey that contains a live culture will do: Try yogurt, live cheese, or kefir.)

3. Pour the liquid mixture over the vegetables so that they’re completely covered. Leave a little space at the top for expansion. Cap tightly and store at room temperature, away from sunlight.

4. After about 24 hours, the lid will pop up from pressure. Refrigerate to slow fermentation.

Finishing: After 3 days in the fridge, the culture has fermented the vegetables and spices in the jar, and your kimchi is ready to eat. Serve over rice. Image

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