Tag Archives: white cabbage

Deptford Kimchi

Deptford Kimchi

This recipe is my interpretation of Sandor Elix Katz’s Fruit Kimchi, in Wild Fermentation (p 50). I call it Deptford Kimchi because I bought the exotic fruit on Deptford High Street, where there are many shops that reflect the ethnic diversity of the area. The ingredients are a list of possibilities, with a few must-haves: the basis of the recipe is cabbage, and as long as there is some spice it will be kimchi, and including fruit will make it fruit kimchi.

As for quantities, the balance of fruit and veg is about 50:50.  This ferment needs to be consumed much faster than all-vegetable ferments – because of the fruit, the sugar begins to turn to alcohol, which is a stage on from what we want.  Therefore, I use 1/2 a cabbage and eat it within a week after fermenting.  If you have more to share it with, by all means double the quantities.

Here goes:

1/2 white cabbage

1/2 an onion and/or 1/2 a leek – for variety, take some from the top and some from the bottom

1/2 a pepper (optional)

A selection of fruit, for example, mango, papaya, grapefruit, orange, lemon, lime, ugli fruit, dragon fruit, physalis, grapes, pineapple, fresh or dried figs, fresh or dried dates, pomegranite, sharon fruit, you get the idea!

Note – I haven’t tried banana in this recipe but it hasn’t done well in water kefir.  And I’m wondering what melon would be like, so will try it and let you know.

A few cloves of garlic and/or a chunk of ginger, sliced or grated and/or 1 chilli, chopped

Other spices such as peppercorns, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, star anise, cinnamon sticks – all optional

Unsalted cashew or other nuts (optional)

2-3 tbsp sea salt


Shred or grate the cabbage in a food processor.

Slice the remaining vegetables.

Chop the fruit – this enables you to have a selection of fruit in a serving, but you might prefer to have wedges or slices of fruit – experiment!

Put the fruit and veg into a large mixing bowl, add the nuts, garlic cloves/ginger/chilli, any other spices you’re using and the salt.

Mix gently, taking care with the fruit.

Transfer to a 1-1.5 litre kilner jar or other fermenting vessel.

Press the kimchi down to eliminate pockets of air, top up with filtered water, ensuring the water is about 2.5 cm/1″ above the level of the fruit and veg.

There are several options for keeping the kimchi beneath the top of the water.

1.  Press it down every day.

2.  Fill a food-grade plastic bag with water, tie a knot in the top and place on top of the kimchi.

3.  As 2.  above, but replace the water with clean stones, or a combination of water and stones.

4.  If your vessel has a wide enough mouth, insert a plate and hold it down with clean stones.

Leave the kimchi at room temperature for 1 week, I usually place my ferments on a tray initially just in case there is leakage.

Consume within one week – which really isn’t difficult!!!






So, there are loads of tasty sweet treats around for all those celebrations.  Here’s something to bring a little balance.  This recipe won’t be ready for at least 4 weeks though, so in the meantime you can buy good quality sauerkraut at your local health food shop – make sure it’s unpasteurised though, otherwise the valuable probiotics will have been destroyed.  Once you’ve done this recipe once, it’s possible to have a constant supply, so long as you replenish your stocks whilst still consuming what’s ready.


1 red or white cabbage

2 tbsps sea salt

1 tbsp caraway seeds or juniper berries (optional)

filtered water

Also needed are sterile jars with plastic-lined lids.  (Clean the jars in warm soapy water, rinse and dry.  Place them upright on a tray in a cold oven.  Turn oven to about 130°C/Gas Mark 1/2 or 250°F for about 10-15 mins.  Remove and LET COOL before filling with sauerkraut.  Sterilise the lids by putting them in a heatproof bowl or jug, pour in boiling water and leave to stand for about 30 mins.)


Shred or grate the cabbage.  I use my food processor for this.  Place in a large mixing bowl and add the sea salt.  Add optional seeds or berries.  Mix well.  Spoon into COLD sterile jars, press down, but leave a space at the top of about 2.5cm.  Add filtered water so that the cabbage is completely covered, but there is still at least 2cm left at the top of the jar.  (I once filled my jars too full and woke up one morning to purple striped walls in my kitchen as the juices had bubbled out of the (sealed) jars and dribbled from the shelf to the counter-top!  Fortunately this was a week or so before work started on my new kitchen!

Label the jars – contents and date.  Leave them in a warm place to ferment for several weeks.  After about 4 weeks open one and have a taste.  If you like it, start to enjoy a little sauerkraut with any meals you fancy.  If you don’t like it, leave it for a couple more weeks before testing again.

When I first started doing this I was unsure about what was good and not good, but I got more confident as I progressed.  I’ve had some failures, but not many and it’s most often down to not following sterilising instructions fully.  If it’s got a vibrant colour, is crisp and tastes good then it’s a success.  If the colour is dull and it feels and looks mushy, then it’s probably best to skip the taste test and compost it!  Ditto if you find mould.  Happy fermenting!