Why Do You Soak Kimchi in Salt Water?

Kimchi, the beloved spicy fermented cabbage dish, is a staple in Korean cuisine, known for it’s tangy and pungent flavors. But have you ever wondered why soaking the cabbage in salt water is an essential step in the kimchi-making process? This seemingly simple act actually plays a crucial role in ensuring the delicious outcome of this traditional dish. By submerging the chopped cabbage in salt water, the cell walls of the vegetable are broken down, making it easier for the flavors and spices to penetrate. Additionally, the salt water imparts just the right amount of salinity, creating the ideal environment for fermentation to take place. So, whether you opt for a few hours or even an overnight soak, this initial step sets the stage for the mouthwatering kimchi that will soon grace your table.

What Is the Salting Ratio for Kimchi?

The salting ratio for kimchi plays a crucial role in the overall taste and preservation of this iconic Korean dish. As an integral step in the kimchi-making process, brining the vegetables is vital to draw out excess moisture and create the perfect environment for the fermentation process. Through this salting technique, the flavors of the seasonings seep gradually into the vegetables, resulting in the distinct tangy and spicy taste that kimchi is renowned for.

The salt concentration in kimchi typically ranges between 2% and 5% of the total weight of the vegetables. This ratio may vary depending on personal preference and regional variations, such as the level of spice preferred or the specific types of vegetables used.

The salting process usually involves coating the vegetables with the required amount of salt and allowing them to sit for a certain period. During this time, the salt draws out excess moisture from the vegetables, creating a brine that aids in the preservation and fermentation process. The salt also acts as a natural inhibitor of harmful bacteria, allowing beneficial lactic acid bacteria to flourish.

Too much salt can hinder the fermentation process or make the final dish overly salty and unpleasant to consume. On the other hand, insufficient salt may result in inadequate preservation and could potentially lead to spoilage or a less flavorful outcome.

Finding the right balance in the salting ratio is an art that comes with experience and experimentation. Kimchi makers often test the saltiness of the brine by tasting a small portion and adjusting the ratio if necessary.

The Health Benefits of Kimchi, Such as It’s Probiotic Properties and High Nutrient Content

  • Probiotic properties: Kimchi is a fermented food that’s rich in beneficial bacteria known as probiotics. These live microorganisms promote a healthy gut by enriching the diversity of the gut microbiota.
  • High nutrient content: Kimchi is packed with various vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and potassium. It also contains antioxidants that help protect the body against oxidative stress.
  • Improved digestion: The probiotics present in kimchi can aid in digestion and promote a healthy digestive system. They help break down and absorb nutrients from food more efficiently.
  • Boosted immune system: The combination of probiotics, antioxidants, and nutrients in kimchi can strengthen the immune system and reduce the risk of infections and diseases.
  • Weight management: Kimchi is a low-calorie food that’s high in fiber. It can help you feel fuller for longer, control your appetite, and support weight management.
  • Reduced inflammation: Some studies suggest that the active compounds found in kimchi may have anti-inflammatory effects, which can help reduce inflammation in the body and alleviate symptoms of certain inflammatory conditions.
  • Improved cardiovascular health: The antioxidants and fiber in kimchi can contribute to a healthy heart by reducing cholesterol levels, maintaining blood pressure, and preventing the formation of blood clots.
  • Enhanced mental health: Emerging research indicates a possible link between a healthy gut microbiota and improved mental health. Since kimchi promotes a diverse gut microbiota, it may indirectly support mental well-being.
  • Anti-cancer properties: Some studies suggest that the active compounds in kimchi, such as sulforaphane and lactic acid bacteria, may have anti-cancer effects and potentially inhibit the growth of certain cancer cells.
  • Overall well-being: Consuming kimchi as part of a balanced diet can contribute to overall well-being due to it’s nutritional value and potential health benefits.

In order to maintain the optimal consistency of kimchi, it may be necessary to replenish it with brine. To create a salt brine mixture, simply combine 1 cup of water with 1 1/4 teaspoons of fine sea salt. Stir the mixture until the salt has dissolved, and then carefully pour it over the kimchi to ensure it remains submerged.

How Do You Top Up Kimchi With Brine?

When it comes to topping up kimchi with brine, the process is fairly simple. The first step is to mix water and salt at a specific ratio to create the brine. To ensure that the brine is properly mixed, it’s highly recommended to use fine sea salt. For every 1 cup of water, you’ll need approximately 1 1/4 teaspoon of fine sea salt.

To start, combine the water and salt in a bowl or container and stir it together thoroughly. This will help dissolve the salt and evenly distribute it throughout the liquid.

Make sure to pour the brine slowly and evenly over the kimchi, paying close attention to any areas that may need extra submersion.

Once the kimchi is fully submerged in the brine, cover the container with a lid or airtight seal to prevent air exposure. This will help prevent spoilage and keep the kimchi in optimal condition. Remember to store the kimchi in a cool and dark place to enhance it’s fermentation process and flavor development.

When preparing kimchi, it’s essential to give the vegetables enough time to soak in saltwater. Ideally, they should be submerged for a minimum of 6 hours or left overnight in order to achieve the desired flavor and texture. Once the soaking process is complete, the kimchi can be left at room temperature for a couple of days to ferment. After 2 to 3 days, it’s ready to be savored; however, if a longer fermentation period is preferred, refrigeration is recommended. It’s worth noting that kimchi is best consumed within a month for optimal taste.

How Long to Soak Kimchi in Salt Water?

When preparing kimchi, it’s essential to soak the vegetables in saltwater for a sufficient amount of time to achieve optimal results. The recommended duration for this process is at least 6 hours, but it’s even better if the vegetables can soak overnight. This saltwater soak helps to draw out excess moisture from the vegetables and enhances their crunchiness.

After the initial soaking period, the kimchi mixture can be left at room temperature for up to 2 days. During this time, the fermentation process begins, as the beneficial bacteria naturally present on the vegetables start to multiply. This fermentation process gives kimchi it’s distinctive tangy and slightly sour flavor.

However, the flavor and texture develop further with longer fermentation. If you prefer a more intense flavor, you can allow the kimchi to ferment for a longer period. In such cases, it’s advisable to transfer the kimchi to the refrigerator to slow down the fermentation process.

Therefore, it’s recommended to keep track of the date of preparation and consume the kimchi within a reasonable timeframe.

The Health Benefits of Kimchi: Explore the Various Health Benefits of Consuming Kimchi, Such as Improved Digestion, Immune Support, and Potential Anti-Inflammatory Effects.

Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish made from fermented vegetables, such as cabbage and radishes, combined with a variety of seasonings. While kimchi is known for it’s tasty flavor and unique aroma, it also offers a range of health benefits. One of the key advantages of consuming kimchi is it’s positive impact on digestion. The fermentation process involved in making kimchi produces beneficial bacteria known as probiotics, which can help balance gut microbiota, improve digestion, and prevent gastrointestinal issues. Additionally, kimchi is rich in nutrients like vitamins A and C, providing immune support and strengthening the body’s defense system against illnesses. Some studies also suggest that certain compounds found in kimchi may have anti-inflammatory effects, potentially contributing to reduced inflammation-related conditions. Overall, incorporating kimchi into your diet can be a delicious and beneficial way to promote better digestion, support your immune system, and potentially reduce inflammation.

However, there’s ongoing debate about whether or not rinsing kimchi is necessary and if it diminishes the overall taste and health benefits. Some argue that rinsing removes essential probiotics and enzymes, while others believe it helps to balance the flavors and make the kimchi more enjoyable. In this article, we will explore both sides of the argument and give you the information you need to make an informed decision about whether or not to rinse your kimchi before eating.

Should You Rinse Kimchi Before Eating?

However, there are differing opinions on whether or not to rinse kimchi before eating. Some argue that rinsing kimchi is essential to remove excess salt and vinegar, which can be overwhelming to the taste buds.

It’s worth noting that rinsing kimchi in water can also wash away beneficial probiotics, which are the good bacteria that promote a healthy gut. These probiotics are what gives kimchi it’s famous health benefits, such as improved digestion and a strengthened immune system.

Whether you enjoy it as is or prefer a milder version, kimchi remains a versatile and nutritious side dish that can be enjoyed in various ways.

Different Types or Varieties of Kimchi

  • Traditional Kimchi
  • White Kimchi
  • Red Kimchi
  • Green Kimchi
  • Water Kimchi
  • Brined Kimchi
  • Instant Kimchi
  • Mat Kimchi
  • Pickled Kimchi
  • Stuffed Kimchi

Once you’ve rinsed your salty kimchi, there are several delicious ways to repurpose it and make the most out of it’s unique flavor.

What to Do With Salty Kimchi?

If not, continue to rinse until the desired taste is achieved. Another option is to soak the kimchi in cold water for a few hours or overnight. This will help to further draw out the excess salt from the vegetables. If it’s still too salty, you can repeat the soaking process until it reaches your desired taste.

The broth will dilute the saltiness while allowing the flavors to infuse the dish. Alternatively, you can add it to a traditional chicken or vegetable soup for an added kick of flavor.

Start by adding a small amount and taste. Gradually increase the sweetness until the desired taste is achieved. This method works well if youre using kimchi as a topping for dishes like bibimbap or as a side condiment.

This additional fermentation will help to reduce the saltiness and enhance the flavors. Just be sure to taste it periodically to avoid over-fermenting.

Recipes That Use Salty Kimchi as an Ingredient (e.g. Kimchi Fried Rice, Kimchi Pancakes)

  • Kimchi fried rice
  • Kimchi pancakes
  • Kimchi stew
  • Kimchi grilled cheese sandwich
  • Kimchi tofu scramble
  • Kimchi omelette
  • Kimchi dumplings
  • Kimchi ramen
  • Kimchi pizza
  • Kimchi quesadilla

Source: How To Fix Kimchi That’s Too Salty: Easy Solutions!


In conclusion, the process of soaking kimchi in salt water serves multiple purposes in the preparation of this beloved Korean dish. Additionally, this soaking method ensures the correct level of salinity, crucial for initiating the fermentation process that gives kimchi it’s distinctive tang and complex flavors.

Scroll to Top