Does washing kimchi just before eating it reduce its sodium content much, or do I have to put it in water overnight or several days?

  • Why do you want to remove sodium from kimchi? Seems like that's part of the flavor ...
    – FuzzyChef
    Mar 6, 2012 at 5:03
  • I heard that it's good to reduce sodium intake and kimchi is something I may eat everyday. If the carbonated taste can stay when gochugaru and salt are washed away, that's still good to me.
    – Jisang Yoo
    Mar 7, 2012 at 7:55

1 Answer 1


Answer depends on how the kim chi is made.

I make it using a variant on this recipe. The protocol there is to treat the leaves with a salty brine for 4 hours, then rinse them extensively.

No further salt is added in the recipe, so any salt in the final product will have osmosed into the leaves. Most of that salt won't come back out except with a prolonged soak*.

I've seen other kim chi recipes that do involve adding back salt after the initial brining and rinse. The sodium content of those could be reduced with a quick rinse, but you'll likely lose flavor too.

  • Juices in with the kim chi are likely at euilibrium with sodium in the leaves, so simply pressing the stuff lightly to remove as much juice as possible might be the best way to limit sodium without sacrificing too much flavor.
  • Are you sure salt can enter into the leaves? I've just read about osmosis and it looks like osmosis would not work if salt can go in and out of the leave cells freely.
    – Jisang Yoo
    Mar 17, 2012 at 12:59
  • With that high a concentration of salt you'll get dehydration to the point of membrane breakdown. Plants have cell walls in addition to membranes, so you won't lose the cytoplasm, and the cell volume won't decrease, it'll just get salty. Mar 17, 2012 at 13:27
  • 1
    Upon further caffeinated reflection, even without membrane rupture, the salt solution wil fill the space between the cell walls and the osmotically shrunken cytoplasmic membrane. That entrapped salt will take more than a quick rinse to remove. Mar 17, 2012 at 16:13

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