Winter Storage: Kimchi and Lacto-fermented Green Tomatoes


This is one of my fermenting crocks. I have about five different types and sizes. You can pick up crocks at garage sales or buy them new.

It is that time of year again to be thinking about winter stores. I spent the day making kimchi. Kimchi is by far my favorite lacto-fermented food. This recipe is based on a Korean Sauerkraut recipe from Nourishing Traditions. It uses mostly local produce that you can get at the Kamloops Farmer’s Market.

If you have never made lacto-fermented vegetables, please read Wild Fermentation. Remember to use organic or un-sprayed vegetables because the fermentation culture can be killed by residue pesticides or herbicides. Ask the Rubinsons at Silver Springs Organic for their organic fermenting cabbages for best results.


This is a favorite breakfast with grilled steak, kimchi, eggs and garden fresh greens.

2 large organic fermenting cabbages, finely sliced
1 large organic onion with green top, grated or chopped
6 large organic carrots, grated or chopped
2c organic daikon radish (any type of organic radish will work), grated or chopped
4T organic ginger, freshly grated
1 organic hot red pepper, finely chopped
6 organic garlic cloves, freshly grated
4T sea salt
4T whey (if not available add an extra 1T sea salt)

In a very large bowl mix together all the vegetables, salt and whey. Put the mixed ingredients in a fermentation crock or follow the directions in Wild Fermentation. I use two types of fermenting crocks in my household. I have two 10L Harsch Gairtopf Fermenting Crock Pots and various sizes of Medalta Crocks.

Lacto-fermented Green Tomatoes
4-5 pounds organic green tomatoes
2 organic garlic cloves, whole
1 organic hot red pepper, whole
1T sea salt
2T whey (if not available add an extra 1T sea salt)
enough fresh water to cover green tomatoes

This is a good recipe if you find yourself at the end of the summer season with too many unripe tomatoes. Only use the hard green tomatoes that have not turned color at all. Follow the directions for Lacto-fermented Horseradish Dill Pickles. The green tomatoes need the same treatment as pickling cucumbers. If you like dill better than hot red peppers, try replacing the pickling cucumbers in the recipe with green tomatoes for a dill favor. The green tomatoes should be tried in a month and the flavor will improve over the winter.

Updated November 8, 2010: I originally wrote this posting back in early October. I had never tried making Lacto-fermented Green Tomatoes but I had lots of green tomatoes and nothing to lose. I have just opened my crock to find a coat of white slimy mold on the top. I have learned from experience not to worry about the mold as long as there isn’t a horrible smell. The mold on top actually seems to protect the contents below. I carefully removed the slime and cleaned the sides of the crock. I lost a bit of the mold to the fluid so I washes the green tomatoes in fresh water (no chlorine please) and filtered the liquid with a sieve. I returned the green tomatoes to the crock and poured the liquid back in. I moved the crock to our cold storage area for the winter. I tried a few of the green tomatoes. They remind me of a cross between an olive and a very crunchy pickle.

8 thoughts on “Winter Storage: Kimchi and Lacto-fermented Green Tomatoes

  1. I asked other WAPF Leaders how they make lacto-fermentation green tomatoes. I got this response from Brad Stufflebeam of

    I learned from my Italian grandmother to layer green tomatoes and green peppers in a crock with salt to ferment similar to sauerkraut. To eat them, rinse them off and fry them in oil for a side dish or to be eaten on bread.

  2. Fried Green Tomatoes GAPS Style

    6-8 smaller green tomatoes, quartered
    1T butter
    1/2tsp sea salt
    1/2tsp whole cumin, freshly ground
    small amount whole red peppers, crushed

    Heat up butter in a cast iron fry pan. Add quartered green tomatoes, sea salt and spices. Fry the green tomatoes until they are well cooked and serve with a savory breakfast.

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  5. The ‘slime’ is not mold, it’s bacteria, yeast or a colony of yeast, bacteria and mold or any combination of the above, except not mold by itself, it would be felt-like, powdery or strandy if it was just moldy. You’re free to eat it that way, but you’re taking a risk if you do, not a great one, but a risk nonetheless.

  6. Hi Jim,

    No, I don’t know what it was! I did live to write about it! BUT I think it’s a good idea to only eat a very small amount of a questionable food before trying to feed it to my family. Always use your good sense.

  7. How come cabbage (sauerkraut) is ferment 2-3 weeks or more but kimchi is fermented days only. Does it have the same amount of good bacteria?

  8. You can eat kimchi when it is very “young” or it will continue to ferment for months as it “matures”. The culture changes as it matures. If you would like to learn more about these changes please see the book Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz.

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