Mustard Greens Kimchi


I love growing mustard greens, both because they are so easy to grow and because I love the flavor, whether raw or cooked, including in soups and even turned into chips in my food dehydrator after coating them in sesame oil, brown sugar and my fermented sriracha. I may have to post that recipe at some point.

I bought mustard greens only once ever and each season leave a few plants to go to seed. I use the seed the next year, putting it right in the ground in mid summer, and haven’t had to buy new plants in a number of years. I started growing so many this way that I can’t eat them quickly enough. This is where fermenting (preserving) them comes in.

After picking these leaves rather than uprooting the whole plant, it will regrow them throughout the growing season, particularly in the late winter / early spring (region 7b)

Whether you grow your mustard greens or buy them in the store, you can ferment them in a kimchi style. Mustard greens are a popular vegetable in Korea and a kimchi preparation is one of the hundreds of types of kimchi eaten in Korea.

This is my own simple kimchi recipe which offers some different options such as a traditional or vegan style.

This recipe will perfectly fill a one quart jar. Modify quantities for a different sized container.

You will need: a quart jar; large mixing bowl; knife & cutting board; kitchen gloves for handling hot pepper powder; measuring cups and spoons; and blender or food processor (either recommended but neither required); airlock fermenting lid (recommended); not required but nice for this recipe: salad spinner and canning funnel


  • 2 lbs. mustard (or other) greens
  • 3 TBSP non-iodized salt dissolved in two cups filtered or distilled water
  • 5 scallions

For the red pepper paste (gochujang):

  • ~5 cloves garlic (20g), chopped
  • Nub of ginger (15-20g), chopped
  • 2 TBSP + 1 tsp Korean red pepper powder
  • 1 TBSP reserved saltwater brine (details below) (add another tsp if paste is too thick)
  • 1 TBSP + 1 tsp of choice of: fish sauce; tamari or organic soy sauce; or Bragg’s liquid aminos (choosing one of these will provide the Kimchi’s umami flavor; alternately, another TBSP of the saltwater brine can be used instead)
  • Optional, for a spicier kimchi: Add hot pepper flakes or minced hot pepper to taste
  • Note: I used 1 TBSP of the Bragg’s for my umami but the remaining 1 tsp was fish sauce. I like it used sparingly.


1.) Rinse all produce.

2.) Make the saltwater brine as detailed above (suggested: fill the quart jar with two cups water and the 3 TBSP salt, seal lid and shake vigorously).

3.) Pour the saltwater brine into large mixing bowl and add the whole mustard leaves, submerge with a plate or other suitable object, and wait for two hours.

4.) Without yet blending, place the chopped garlic and ginger along with the red pepper flakes into a blender or processor. When the two hours has elapsed of soaking the greens in the saltwater, remove the 1 TBSP of the brine and add to the blender/processor. Add the other selected liquids. Blend thoroughly until an even but thick paste is formed.

If you don’t have a blender or processor, simply mince the garlic and ginger, using a garlic press and knife, into a paste as much as possible. Then thoroughly combine in a bowl with the pepper powder and liquids.

5.) Drain the remaining saltwater from the mustard greens and shake them dry (or use a salad spinner as mentioned above). However, it is not recommended to rinse them off with water, otherwise you will need to add back in some salt to the kimchi mix to get a salty flavor

6.) Using the knife and cutting board, slice the greens across the spine and then perpendicular to make small squares or rectangles around 2″. If you have large variety leaves like the ones shown here, make additional cuts for a uniform size. Alternately, you are free to keep the leaf whole; just make sure they are evenly coated.

7.) Slice the green onion into 1/4″ or 1/2″ slices.

8.) Rid the large mixing bowl of any residual water and place the sliced mustard greens in along with the gochujang paste and the sliced green onions. Wearing kitchen gloves, gently massage all the ingredients together until they’re evenly mixed and the leaves are coated.

9.) Transfer everything to the quart fermenting jar. Using a canning funnel like this is recommended for a much cleaner and easier experience.

This fresh kimchi is just starting to form its brine at the bottom of the jar. After around 24 hours, the moisture in the ingredients will continue to release, and the brine will typically rise to the top of the greens. Unlike other ferments, however, kimchi varieties typically don’t need to be fully submerged to prevent mold growth. As a precaution, you can still opt to press the kimchi below the brine and add a fermenting weight.

Ferment length: For the first time making it, you could see how the flavor progresses over the first week to see your preference. I normally would ferment this for about a week and then transfer to the fridge where it will keep for a long period, but there are those who will only go a couple days and others who go beyond a week. Just bear in mind the longer you go, the softer it can become. After a week I still have a good crunch and place it in the fridge where it will slowly ferment further, developing more flavor over time, if you’re able to keep it that long!


  1. Is it acceptable to “CAN” this in glass jars to extend the life of your kimchee and if so, how long will it last?

    • Daniel Berke

      Although canning can preserve things longer than ferments, I see little need. The ferment will stay crisp for at least 6-9 months in the fridge and will be good to eat quite a while beyond that. Canning instantly will soften things and to boot it will also kill all the probiotic benefits. The only reason I see to can is if you ran out of refrigerator space or need it to last for a period of years.

  2. Gary E Zmitrewicz


    You don’t say if or when you cover the vessel you put the final mixture in?

    • Hey. There is not really a need to cover kimchi ferments with a glass weight (or other weight) during fermentation or stored in the fridge, if this is what you mean.


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