Radical Ferment: Beetroot and Radish Kimchi

| Fermenting, Food, Food & Fermentation, Preserving | 8 comments | Author :

I can now proudly report that the beetroot and radish kimchi has been a success. And it tastes delightful. Kimchi is normally a spicy cabbage-based Korean ferment, but Rose decided to get a little radical, and use what we had in season.

Previously in Spring, Rose had tried making bok choi kimchi, which did work, but was, well, rather full of bok choi. But I knew from the start that beetroot and radish kim chi was going to rock. And it does. Here’s how Rose did it…

The beetroot in question, pulled from our market garden in December
Spring onion and beetroot harvesting crew: Stephen the OMG, wwoofer Michael, Nick of Milkwood, wwoofer Erin, wwoofer Olivier, and Trev of Milkwood

Rose Newberry’s Beetroot and Radish Kimchi:

Quantities entirely variable, according to your available supply. Get creative… The below recipe is for making about a 30 litre drum of kimchi.

Soak 6 kg of beetroot leaves in salt brine of 2 table spoons of salt to every litre of water over night – use enough brine to submerge leaves

In the morning, drain off brine, reserving liquid.

Blend together 4-6 red chillies or dried chilli flakes to preferred level of heat with 200g of ginger, 1 bulb of garlic and 1 cup of sugar (can use honey instead).

Add to beetroot leaves along with 3 bunches of spring onions cut into batons or 4 sliced red onions, 500g of quartered radishes and 2kg of grated beetroots.

Mix well and place into a large wide mouth container, just cover with reserved brine and place a plate on top with a bucket filled with brine as a weight to ensure all the veg are submerged in the brine.

Place a cloth over the top and leave in cool dark area for 7 – 14 days (we left ours for a month and it was still fine, the longer you leave it the stronger the pickle will be).

Once kimchi is fermented to desired strength, put a lid on it and store somewhere cool. Enjoy.

This Beetroot and Radish Kimchi is great as an accompaniment to just about anything, but particularly food that is spicy.

The other night we served this up to 40 people with lamb mince, pilaf and cucumber raita. It worked perfectly, balancing the fat and the spice with it’s sweet/salty fermented goodness.

Radishes and spring onions, chopped and ready
And a layer of beetroot on top (beetroot leaves underneath)
Submerged in brine and spice mix, with a plate on top and a clean brick on top of that to submerge the veggies
Covered and left to ferment with wild yeasts for 2-4 weeks
The mix at the end of 4 weeks. Now put a lid on it and store it somewhere cold to halt the ferment. The vegies will sink to the bottom
The final product. Smells heavenly, tastes great, and is extremely good for you to boot. Experimental Ferment WIN!

At the moment we have not one but two wild ferment enthusiasts on farm – Rose and our fabulous wwoofer Sophie. So I hope to report back shortly with more recipes, starting with Sophie’s sweet-potato lacto-ferment, which is darn tasty.

Any more great wild ferment recipes to consider? Whose dabbling in this great and wide tradition at the moment?

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  • Yummmmmmmm!

  • Sounds delicious, will have to try that. I’m loving making fermented foods, my favourite so far is butternut squash, grated and fermented in salt water – so simple but delicious. I’ve tried it with various herbs and spices but I prefer it plane. See the recipe section of my blog for some of my fermented recipes and my review of my favourite fermenting book Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz: http://www.rawrob.com/category/recipes/

  • Oh wow! I’m very excited to try this out. We have so many radishes and are always looking for new ways to use them. When I first saw that you were using beets I thought, hm, must be a bit tricky to ferment, seeing as they have such a high sugar content. (I’d only tried fermenting them once and failed.) However! I then saw that you added sugar! So much for what I thought 🙂 I’ve made many batches of kimchi but haven’t ever added a sweetener, so I’m very pleased that you’ve included the recipe. My boyfriend is on a pretty limiting diet, so we’ll be using honey instead of sugar. Can’t wait! Thanks for giving me some inspiration this morning.

  • purejuice



    can add caraway seed, apples, or both. cook 45 mins with sauteed onions, apples, a hair of brown sugar, in apple juice, broth, wine, or all three. burying meat, if you eat it, in the simmering kraut will only make the cabbage, the broth, and the meat happier.

  • Awesome, I’m going to give it a try, I have too many radishes to eat fresh at the moment.
    Here’s another one for you – I found that broccoli leaves make a perfectly good sauerkraut: chop up, salt down in layers with fennel seeds and garlic, bashing it down with your fist for each layer, weighted plate on top – the leaves produce enough juice to cover the ferment (if they don’t I guess you just add brine). Done after 3-4 weeks, keeps very well in the fridge.