Daniel’s Kim Chee

This is a general kim chee recipe, adaptable to any vegetable, sent to us by our friend Daniel, who did an internship at the Cultured Pickle in the Bay Area. While these instructions are for turnip, cauliflower and carrot, the method works for any combination of vegetable.

-Shredded pickles: this is essentially the same method for sauerkraut but it works really well with root vegetables. Basically you shred the vegetables (with a food processor is easiest) and then salt them. The salt draws moisture out of the veggies creating a brine. Here are step-by-step instructions for this method.

1. Wash the roots and cauliflower and trim off any soft spots

2. Weigh all the veggies and record the weight

3. Calculate anywhere from 1.5 – 2% of the vegetable weight and weigh out that much salt.

4. Shred the root vegetables and cut the cauliflower into small pieces combining all in a giant bowl as you go.

5. Thoroughly mix the shredded roots and cauliflower with the salt (you can add any spices, chopped garlic, shredded ginger, minced anchovies, herbs or citrus zests that you want at this point. Be aware that garlic flavor tends to bloom and get stronger during the pickling process).

6. Let the mixture sit for a couple of hours and see how the liquid is drawn from the vegetables.

7. Pack the vegetables with their liquid into a crock or as many gallon glass jars as it takes to hold them. Try to press out as much air as you can and leave some head room because the fermentation will bubble up.

8. Put some sort of cover on the surface of the veggies and a weight on top of the cover to keep them pressed under their liquid. I like to use the outer leaves from a head of cabbage folded as needed to cover the shredded vegetables with a gallon jug of water as weight.

9. Let the jars ferment for anywhere from 2 to 8 weeks. It should be in a corner somewhere with a temp around 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit. Taste it as it goes. Push it back down every once in a while. Skim off any mold or white yeast blooms that show up on the surface (they are not harmful, don’t worry).

10. When the flavor has gotten sour enough for you, pack the pickles into jars in the fridge to stop them changing further, or move them to a cool root cellar. (If you want the pickles to be stable for months and years at above refrigeration temperature, you can up the salt percentage to near 3%.


-Whole Brined pickles: these are very easy and quick and take less shredding.

1. Wash and trim the vegetables

2. Cut the cauliflower into florets and if the roots are large I would cut them into about two-inch chunks.

3. Make a brine: measure out enough water that you will be able to cover all the prepared vegetables in your crock or gallon jars. Then dissolve in this water 50 percent of its weight in salt. For example, 1 liter of water gets 50 grams of salt, 6 liters gets 300 grams of salt. Also add any flavoring to the brine like flowering dill and smashed heads of garlic. I like to add a bunch of dried chiles. Chile flakes and ground spices are good too. You can also heat the brine to dissolve the salt and add the spices like a tea for more flavor,  just make sure it has cooled completely before the next step.

4. Put all the prepped vegetables in your fermentation container and pour the brine over to cover them completely.

5. Again put some sort of cover with a weight to keep the vegetables from coming to the surface.

6. Let them ferment for at least two weeks. Check them as they go.

7. Refrigerate to stop the process or put in a cool place to slow it down.