I made kimchi more than a year and a half ago. Because I live in Europe, I know and I often eat sauerkraut (fermented sour cabbage). When I made the kimchi, I committed a big mistake. I added too much salt. The final result was inevitably salty. So I went the same way as when sauerkraut was prepared.

I dropped the kimchi into a fermenting barrel, I stamped it with stone and hermetically sealed. I let it 20-25 C° warm place until the fermentation started (it started very slow because too much salt). Then I took it to a cooler place and I let it for 5-6 months. After then I tried to taste it. The kimchi doesn’t rotten, just turned like sauerkraut, but it was too salt yet. Due to the extremely high salt content fermentation was very difficult.

Then I put it the refrigerator and I let it more 4 moths. After I made another portion of kimchi but I was very cautious with the salt.

For the previous one, it was a mistake to put cabbage with very large amounts of salt, pushing it with weight and leaving for a night. The cabbage made a lot of juice and swallowed the salt almost completely. I could not wash the salt out of it. And I added extra salt to it. (Don't know why.)

Next time I used less of salt and I left it for less time in the salt. The old salty Kimchi was still in the fridge, so I found out to mix the old with the new one.

After that, I put it back in the barrel and waited for a few days until fermentation started. Salinity just started to ease but didn’t disappear completely.

Afterwards, I was put back into the refrigerator again for 5 months. After 5 months, the salinity almost disappeared. But the whole thing was very sour. the taste has changed, it tastes like very spicy sauerkraut. (But it didn’t rotten.)

Has anyone been here like this? Added too much salt and fermented the kimchi too matured? What should I do with it? Can I use it for some of dishes which requies matured kimchi?

(I struggled a lot with it, so I do not want to throw it away.)

  • 1
    I think, I figured how to use it. In the meantime when I waited the answer, I tried to do something. I have some instant korean soup (Shin Ramyun) at home. I like Asian dishes so I have many cooking ingredients. First I made a Japanese style soup base, „dashi” (with kombu and bonito flakes). Commented Nov 1, 2017 at 13:11
  • After filtration I added the the soup seasoning, some dried (and soaked) shiitake and jelly ear mushrooms, a little matured kimchi, little frozen seafood (of course before I washed the ice from it) and I wait for boiling and left to cook approx. 10 to 15 minutes. For extra flavors, I added 1 tablespoon rice vinegar (because the kimchi sourness almost disappeared while cooking and I like the sour taste), 2 tablespoon tsuyu sauce (I used Yamasa kombu kelp tsuyu) and a little soy sauce. Commented Nov 1, 2017 at 13:11
  • 1
    After then I added the noodle, I cooked for a couple of minutes and then took it off the fire. I cooked soft-boiled eggs for. Man, this food was AMAZING! Hot-spicy-sour with perfect umami flavor! I would also like to recommend it to others. Next time I try kimchi guk with this matured kimchi or mix it with Natto. But if someone could give me some extra good tips, I’ll accept it with welcome. Commented Nov 1, 2017 at 13:11
  • 2
    You don't have to eat it as is. Kimchi is a very common base ingredient in Korean cooking. You can stir fry it with pork, or make fried rice out of it, or even make it into a soup with ox tail. Commented Nov 1, 2017 at 14:30
  • 1
    @user3528438 Probably is onto a good idea. Cook it into something you normally would have to add salt to... your extra salty Kimchi could balance it out nicely.
    – SnakeDoc
    Commented Nov 1, 2017 at 17:14

2 Answers 2


I have quite a bit of experience making homemade kimchee.

There are two distinct stages, for me, where salt is used. The first is the initial salting/wilting phase. The cabbage leaves are heavily salted and left to sit, some recipes call for pressing under weight, others do not.

Then there is the "stuffing" that flavors the kimchee - chives, scallion, garlic, salted shrimps (if you use them), hot pepper powder, etc, along with..... some salt.

Before the cabbage is stuffed with or mixed with the "stuffing," there is another step.

The cabbage gets pressed to get excess water out, then thoroughly rinsed to get all that salt off, and drained of excess water. THEN the stuffing goes in and the kimchee is allowed to ferment/pickle.

I suspect that you aren't rinsing away the original salt you use to draw the moisture out from the cabbage and jump-start the pickling process.

So.... now you have well-aged kimchee that is a lot more sour than the normal "eating" kimchee. What to do?

One fantastic dish that requires over-soured kimchee is the kimchee stew, aka Kimchee Chigae. Traditional recipes call are made with kimchee, scallion, sesame oil, tofu, and pork belly. Since Koreans have a particular passion for Spam, my mom always made it for us with spam instead of pork belly. If you're worried about the salt level, you can give it a little bit of a rinse, since the hot and the sour is what's needed for the stew.

If the kimchee is particularly salty, then you would not want to substitute Spam for unsmoked, uncured pork belly. You might also want to hold off adding soy sauce until the end (recipes usually call for a little bit) and reduce the amount or use a low-sodium variety (never, ever thought I'd recommend that), after tasting it. I always eat the stew mixed with a lot of rice, so a little bit strong or salty is not a major issue.

Just Google "kimchee chigae recipe." Also, I'd strongly advise cooking outdoors or at least in a well-ventilated kitchen. Simmering a kimchee stew is obviously going to come with a certain amount of odor.


There are so many "recipes" for kimchi. My style is mak kimchi, where the napa cabbage is sliced into ~1" squares. The way I learned: salt the cabbage, let it set for at least 2 hours or even overnight, then rinse the cabbage three times, changing the water each time. If you taste the wilted cabbage at this point, it is vaguely salty. Next, I add the rest of the ingredients. If I add fish sauce, I use a small amount to avoid too much saltiness. Then, I pack the crock. I ferment at room temperature for about a week, or until the bubbles slow down, and then ferment for a month or more in a refrigerator. I liked the low amount of salt in my kimchi, so I started rinsing my sauerkraut before packing it in the crock, and I like it much better with low salt. I only ferment in the winter, when the house temperature is below 70 degrees F. I use an airlock on my crock. I think you can make adjustments for the next batches based on your experience this time. If you follow the basic idea, it is okay to modify the recipe.

  • 2
    Hello Eve and welcome. You provided your method for making kimchi, but that does not answer the question. As a new user, we invite you to visit our Help and Tour pages to better understand how this site works. Both can be found in the dropdown under the question mark (?) at the top of the page.
    – Cindy
    Commented Jan 18, 2018 at 15:36

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.