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Kimchi Stinks a Little Bit

Kimchi definitely stinks a little bit but, it sure does help with my gut. My wife and I have been looking into alternative sources to help settle our stomach from time to time. My wife has some sensitivity to dairy and some gluten, while my stomach loves those things but doesn't take kindly to certain meats. That being said, I love all the meats and she enjoys breads and dairy products from time to time. Then some things we can't explain send a trigger and our stomachs become a little unsettled. We have tried a handful of techniques to help relieve stress on the stomach and we like kimchi the best.


  • Inexpensive: Ingredients and spices are very low key. Nothing too out of the ordinary unless you like experimenting.
  • Helpful to gut bacteria: according the Journal of Medicinal Food, "the health-promoting, probiotic and functional food properties of kimchi can be optimized by manipulating the kinds and amounts of ingredients, using appropriate probiotic starters and kimchi preparation methods including fermentation method. Optimally produced kimchi can be one of the best healthy foods."
  • Easy to make
  • Easy to store


  • It stinks: Like the title says, Kimchi does not smell great. As the vegetables ferment, they release gases into the container that need to be released every so often or the top will pop. People have related the smell to food waste, but this is due to the fermentation process.
  • It can be an acquired taste: The fermentation creates a sort of slightly sour taste, but doctoring up with spices and extra flavors is the fun part to help with the sourness.


  • 1 medium napa cabbage
  • 1 red cabbage
  • 1/2 cup iodine free salt
  • water-to fill bowl, depends on bowl size
  • 5-8 garlic cloves finely chopped- medium to strong garlic notes
  • 1 teaspoon coconut sugar - the wife likes coconut sugar
  • 2-5 tablespoons of Korean red pepper flakes
  • 8-10 radish - peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 1-2tablespoons fish sauce (optional)

Equipment needed

Cutting board and knife

One or two large bowls


Storage container - large mason jar or jars depending on your yield

Tongs are helpful

Quick and easy run down

  1. Cut cabbage lengthwise and remove stem. Cut into quarters for best results.
  2. Salt the cabbage a good deal. Rub salt in and around the leaves and let sit until the leaves begin to soften then add to your bowl, fill it with enough water to cover the veggies, and let sit for 2 hours to overnight. (I have read a few different ideas on this, we let sit overnight but many recipes call for a shorter period)
  3. When ready (cabbage has become softer) rinse cabbage thoroughly and set aside.
  4. Make spice paste by adding all other ingredients together in a bowl until well mixed.
  5. Combine cabbage and spice paste and mix well, coating all sides and inside the leaves of the cabbage.
  6. Pack the jars with kimchi, pack down well. Press the kimchi down well into the jar so the Kimchi is covered in the brine (the solution that comes out after packing the veggies into the bottom of the container).
  7. Seal the jar and let it sit at room temperature for up to 5 days. (No direct sunlight as that can alter the reaction. You can choose to leave the jar slightly open which will allow the gases to escape, but this just makes for a very smelly room/ refrigerator. I slightly open the jar once a day in the afternoon and outside to keep the stink out).

We hope you enjoy giving this a shot. It was really fun to use in dishes that we like or have a bite when we felt our stomach being a little upset. Health benefits of Kimchi are only limited to the ingredients you put in there, so experiment and have fun.

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