How to Make Pickled Cabbage (Kimchi)

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Short Description

  • Problem: To preserve cabbage longer time
  • Idea: To make pickled Cabbage
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Price Range: Less than 10 US$
  • Material Needeed: Cabbage, Salt
  • Geographic Area: Global/ Speciality of Korea
  • Competencies:
  • How Many people? One
  • How Long does it take? Several Weeks

Pickled Cabbage (Kimchi)

Kimchi is probably the most important processed food product in Korea. It is an essential dish, eaten at most mealtimes. Production is estimated at over one million tons, mainly at household level. Daily consumption is estimated at 150 to 250 grams per person.

Kimchi is a general name for a range of closely related fermented products. It is similar to Sauerkraut in Europe and the United States. There are numerous variations of kimchi depending on the production technique. The main pickled cabbage kimchis are tongbaechu-kimchi tongkimchi and bossam-kimchi. This section refers to kimchi produced from cabbage, the following section deals with pickled radish products.

Raw material preparation

Appropriate cultivars of Chinese cabbage, with light-green coloured soft leaves and compact structure with no defects, are required for production of kimchi. After removing outer leaves and roots from the cabbage, it is cut into small pieces.


The prepared cabbage is placed in a salt solution (8-15%) for two to seven hours to obtain 2.0-4.0% (w/w) salt content in the cabbages. This is then rinsed several times with fresh water and drained to remove extra water by centrifugation or by standing still.

Kimchi fermentation is carried out by various micro-organisms present in the raw materials and ingredients of kimchi. Among the two hundred bacteria isolated form kimchi, the important micro-organisms in kimchi fermentation are known to be Lactobacillus plantarum, L. Brevis, Streptococcus faecalis, Leuconostoc mesenteroides and Pediococcus pentosaceus.

After fermentation, the product can be left to mature for several weeks if refrigeration is available. If stored in the warmth, the kimchi deteriorates rapidly.

Flow Diagram

Korean cabbage

Cut into four parts.

Add brine

5% for 12 hours or 15% for 7 hours.


Drain water.


With salt, spices and flavourings.


Reference and further reading

This Howtopedia entry was derived from the Practical Action Technical Brief Pickled Cabbage (Kimchi).
To look at the original document follow this link:

Kawal: Fermented Green Leaves, Practical Action Technical Brief
Gundruk: Pickled Leafy Vegetable, Practical Action Technical Brief
Traditional Foods: Processing for Profit by P. Fellows, IT Publications, 1997

Useful addresses

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