Spicy Cucumber Kimchi-Style Pickles — 17 Comments

  1. What if I don’t have that airlock thing you are using. I will check it out on line. Never saw one, and probably won’t. Sandy

    • Airlocks are used in making alcohol too so if there is a place around you where they sell beer making supplies, that might work. I know it’s hard to find stuff in Thailand sometimes. I just used an airlock for this, but you can do this like any ferment where you put in fermenting vessel, compress and make sure liquid level rises above ingredients, and then cover. Later this spring, I think I’ll write a post simply about different fermenting techniques. Good luck with all your fermenting!

  2. one more thought..i’ve been brining everything lately, (broccoli is great, but lower stem gets mushy fast, so next time i’d do the tops separately.) and i find that i can re-use the brines forever it seems. if a bit of mould formed on top during a batch, i filtered it and boiled it, then used it with fresh veg. they re-liven it, and the sourness must help preserve it,as it gets going. most of all, i’m not dumping out all that salt.(about 1/2 c per gallon jar of cucumbers-etc.)thanks,v

    • It will last a long time! All ferments such as this will effectively keep indefinitely when refrigerated but will continue to become more and more sour/acidic the longer you store it. They may lose a little of their crispness over time too. Effectively, it becomes more of a question of taste.

  3. I would like to make your recipe. I want the kimchi to be very heavily pasted and less liquidity, can you offer suggestions to tweak it. I love to taste the heat! Thanks

    • Since cucumbers have a significant amount of liquid in them which gets released during this process, I’d suggest perhaps salting them and pouring off a bunch of the liquid before adding your spices. You could also pour off a lot of the liquid after the fermentation is complete and then add a bunch of red pepper to it and give it a couple more days for the pepper to settle in to the overall flavor. Let us know what you end up doing and how it works out. I’m curious for sure!

  4. Greetings, I’m one of your regular ‘lurkers’, and I appreciate your postings – thanks. I do quite a bit of fermented foods, and one of my favs is cucumber kim chi, and I’m looking for a few new versions. I’d like to try yours, but I’m confused about one part of this recipe – why is the initial brine thrown away and the cukes rinsed? Seems contrary to the necessary fermentation process. I’m going to make this version (as soon as my cuke patch delivers next picking), but I’ll be leaving the brine in there, and not rinsing the cukes. But I would like to hear what you think about my concern (that the fermentation process may be harmed by tossing the brine and rinsing the cukes).

    • Hey John, thanks for writing. The recipe came from a friend with a fermented goods food company so I trusted it and liked it. As for the salt, salt serves a couple of functions in fermentation: breaking cell walls down to release trapped liquid, and stabilizing the fermentation environment, especially as the fermentation gets established. As there is a lot of liquid in cucumbers and their cell walls are broken down easily to release that liquid, the salt isn’t needed for long to effectuate the release of sufficient liquid. I think the potential downside of leaving too much salt with the cucumber pieces is that perhaps they’ll become mushy as they break down further. They may also simply absorb too much salt and end up too salty to be palatable. As to the stability of the environment, all I can really say is this recipe worked well. Perhaps cakes get their fermentation established more quickly and don’t need the added protection of too much salt. Just some thoughts for both of us to stew on. Please write back afterwards and let us know how this goes without rinsing the cucumbers. Thanks so much. You asked a helpful question in that you’re making me think this one through a little more.

  5. I really Like this site and have been using the recipes for a long time. I appreciate the information and the common sense approach to eating healthy.

    Thanks Ted

  6. For me this is one of many Banchan side dishes we have here with Korean BBQ. My question is can I make it with fish sauce, sesame oil and soy? I would also add Korean chives and sesame seeds. Will that ferment properly?

    • I haven’t tried your recipe so I can’t guarantee it will ferment properly, but it sounds like it should work fine. The oil would be my only question, really. If you can add the oil and soy after the fermentation, that might be more likely to support a successful fermentation. The sesame seeds might get soft in the ferment if it ferments a long time. If it were me, I’d simply give it a try with all the ingredients you mention and see what happens. Good luck!

  7. I have been fermenting and eating fermented foods for some time regularly. I have recently been told that my system cannot tolerate as much salt as I have been allowing it. I have cut out most salt, but really dont want to give up my daily ferments. especially Kim Chi. Do you happen to have any ideas on lowering the overall salt that ultimately goes into the recipients system? I appreciate your advice and great feedback.

    • Hey Larry, I’d simply cut back on the salt in the ferments you make. Most ferments can tolerate having less salt, but it does make them a little more subject to failing, as the salt kind of stabilizes the environment.

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