Apple-fermented kimchi is easy to make at home, probiotic, super tasty and paleo.
My home-made kimchi has a twist. Usually kimchi is fermented with added rice porridge and sugar, but I prefer mine with extra nutrients minus the refined sweetener and starch. Instead, I use fresh apples, which are readily available during napa cabbage season. The apples add sweetness and aroma, and when pureed help to bind the other ingredients together like the rice porridge would.
How to Make Paleo Kimchi
Salting and washing whole napa cabbage and making rice porridge for the paste as in traditional recipes are more labour-intensive. I have taken a simplified approach for this apple-fermented kimchi without sacrificing the taste.
The photos below illustrate the steps on a high level:
- Cut and salt the cabbage;
- Let the cabbage rest until the juice is released and the cabbage shrinks in size;
- Strain the juice from the cabbage, add the pre-cut daikon;
- Place all other ingredients in a food processer;
- Blend the ingredients well into a paste;
- Mix the paste with cabbage and daikon.
After all the ingredients are combined, I use a large mason jar as the fermentation vessel for my apple-fermented kimchi. The recipe makes about 2 quarts (half a gallon). As you can see in the next photo, I used a half-gallon mason jar to store the entire content of this recipe. Simply move the mason jar to the fridge when fermentation is complete. Remove the portion you desire from the mason jar when you are ready to serve.
Many more fermentation recipes are on my blog – fermented foods provide potent probiotics to aid digestion. You can try your hands on fermenting a variety of foods using just mason jars:
- Homemade Fermented Sauerkraut /w Caraway Seeds
- Pineapple-Turmeric-Ginger Probiotic Sauerkraut
- Wild Fermented Salsa
- Honey Fermented Garlic: A Natural Remedy for Cold and Flu
- Fermented Pickles /w Green Tea and Dill Flowers
- 11 Important Things To Know for a Successful Kombucha Brew
Paleo Apple-Fermented Kimchi
- 4 pounds napa cabbage cored
- 1/4 cup sea salt
- 2 cups daikon peeled and julienned
- 12 cloves garlic peeled
- 1 medium yellow or white onion peeled, cored and roughly chopped
- 2 medium organic apple peeled, cored and roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons ginger minced
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 3 tablespoons Korean red pepper powder (gochugaru)
- Cut the cabbage into quarters length-wise, then slice each quarter into half inch pieces.
- Place sliced cabbage into a large bowl. Sprinkle 1/4 cup sea salt and toss evenly into the cabbage.
- Let the salted cabbage sit for 3 to 4 hours, or until the cabbage pieces shrink in size and release a good amount of cabbage juice. To speed up the process, massage the cabbage with hands.
- Squeeze out as much cabbage juice as possible, and place the cabbage in a seperate bowl. Add the daikon into the same bowl with the cabbage.
- Put the rest of the ingredients, including garlic, onion, apple, ginger, fish sauce, and red pepper powder into the food processor.
- Blend all the ingredients in the food processor into a paste.
- Pour the paste into the bowl of cabbage and daikon. Mix the paste with cabbage and daikon until well combined.
- Transfer the kimchi mixture into a mason jar, or any glass jar or fermentation crock. Cover the container loosely to allow air pressure to escape. Let the kimchi ferment in a dark spot for up to 7 days. Gently press down the kimchi with a fork if the kimchi starts to rise up due to gas released during fermentation; take care of the fermentation so that it doesn't overflow. You can taste it along the way to check if the flavour is ready. If you live in a warm place, it may take less time to ferment. Move the kimchi to the fridge once fermentation is complete.
- I save the cabbage juice from above step 4. The cabbage juice is full of vitamins, but keep in mind it is very salty. I reuse it to make soup later on. The cabbage juice store well in the freezer for extended time.
Arlene Travnik says
Ooops! I see the answer in notes. I’m so sorry! lol
Arlene Travnik says
This looks wonderful! I have a question I don’t see answered here. Do you discard the cabbage juice when you drain and squeeze out the cabbage after salting? Or do you add it to the food processor with garlic, etc to make the paste?
Thank you for your recipes!
I love your twist, adding apples! I also really appreciate the helpful step by step photos. I can’t wait to try it!
I can just taste the delicious, sweet apple in this wonderful kimchi! The sweetness will balance so well with the spiciness of the gochugaru!
I love that you found a way to omit the sugar and add more flavor. I haven’t had kimchi in a long time so I’d love to make my own!
I love the addition of apple in this! Yum!
Carol Little R.H. @studiobotanica says
WOW. This looks like a wonderful version of kimchi and so delicious!
I will pin this one and add it to my list of ‘food projects’
Joni Gomes says
I have stared making kimchi myself but am always looking for a better and healthier version. Love that your recipe has apple!
What a great idea to use an apple to ferment — love the idea of that flavor in the kimchi and am definitely going to try it out.
Jean Choi says
So interesting to ferment with kimchi! I make kimchi pretty often but never tried this. I’ll have to next time I whip up a batch!