Ah, yes! Infamous “Kraut-chi”… is it sauerkraut, or is it kimchi? Do I list it in my sauerkraut section or kimchi section?? Well, the way I’ve prepared it, it’s quite a bit of both, and is in both categories!

I still have so much sauerkraut from my cabbage harvest last fall, but I recently ran out of kimchi. This gave me the opportunity to try this fusion approach out when I received a couple small heads of organic cabbage from my awesome CSA Rise n’ Shine Farm here in Georgia.

I cut the cabbage kraut style, and salted it to release the brine. But whereas I include all the brine in sauerkraut, I typically only use a portion of it in kimchi. This is then mixed with the gochugaru, garlic, ginger, and any other ingredients I may want like fish sauce or minced hot peppers, to make a paste. This was my chosen method here as well.

The last question for me was about length. I typically let my kraut go for at least 4-6 weeks before refrigeration, but my kimchis can be anywhere from days to weeks or months. As is the practice in Korea, it depends on what it is you’re fermenting. Many types of kimchi are fermented on the shorter side, and include sugar, as this combo helps promote that fizzy effect you may have experienced. (Likewise, as the sugar feeds the lactobacillus bacteria, creating more lactic acid, ultimately it will help attain an even more sour flavor, but this is associated with a long ferment.)

Any of these approaches is fine. You’re free of course to play with these variables; as is often the case with my recipes, it really can just serve as a template for you. I first started eating and refrigerating this after eight days and at that point I thought it was simply exquisite.

This recipe is for a quart jar of kraut-chi. For a half gallon, just double the quantities below.

You will need:

Note: a fermenting weight isn’t really necessary with kimchi, as it is coated in paste rather than submerged in a thin brine. I made use of one as seen in the photos in order to take up headspace, but this was really done as an easy precaution and not out of a serious fear of spoilage.


  • 2 – 2.5 lbs. green cabbage (or substitute with Savoy or even purple cabbage), peeled, cored, and thin-sliced
  • 1 TBSP additive-free salt
  • 1/2 cup gochugaru powder
  • 1/2 cup retained brine
  • 1 TBSP minced garlic (run through garlic press)
  • 2 tsp finely minced ginger
  • 3-4 stalk green onion, 1/2″ slices
  • Optional: 1 carrot, shredded or matchstick cut
  • Optional: 1 TBSP fish sauce
  • Optional: 1 TBSP sugar
  • Optional: minced hot pepper such as red jalapeno, for a spicier kimchi


1.) Peel the cabbage. Cut it in half lengthwise. Cut a v-shape around the core to remove it.

2.) At the “V,” cut the cabbage again down the middle. Then turn on its side to thin slice.

3.) Place the shredded / thin-cut cabbage (and optional shredded carrot) in bowl and coat with the salt. Allow to stand for several hours, then massage out the brine as needed. Alternately, instead of letting the cabbage stand for hours, you may vigorously massage it for around ten minutes to release the needed brine.

4.) Strain the brine out and retain a 1/2 cup of it. Any extra may be discarded or used for another purpose.

5.) In the mixing bowl, combine the 1/2 cup brine, and all other ingredients. Mix thoroughly.

6.) Using the canning funnel (suggested), pack all the kraut-chi in the quart jar. Apply the airlock lid and allow to ferment at room temperature for a minimum of 5-6 days. You may also sample it and refrigerate when the flavor is to your liking.

7.) When ready to refrigerate, place a regular lid on. (Plastic is recommended so as not to rust.)

This was 2 lbs. of cabbage. To fill the jar closer to the top, 2.5 lbs. is recommended.

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