Wild Garlic Kimchi

The sun is shining. The wind is fresh. And there’s that inevitable feeling in one’s bones that Spring may well have finally sprung!

Excitement seems to be going viral. Down here in deepest Devon folks spirits lift dramatically.

You see it in everyone. Faces are beginning to smile again. Say hello as you pass them by.

The seasonal affective disorder is retreating into the shadows. Winter finally gives way to the warmer months.

Folk are hopeful.

I love this time of year”, I hear a young women say to her friend, as I pass them by.

Later in the day, I am visiting an off-grid woodland project.

If things go to plan, I’ll be telling you a little bit more about them in a future article.

Leaving the woods, I pass by yards and yards of wild garlic (or should that be metres? Am I showing my age?).

The smell wafting in through the windows. I pull my rented car into a space in the hedge and hop out.

Time to go a-gathering…

It doesn’t take long for me to fill two medium sized zip-lock bags.

I always carry these kinds of bags, as they allow me to gather just enough for myself and my partner. A good gauge for not overharvesting.

Carrier bags are such a pain. One bit of wind and they take on a life of their own.

So zip-locks it is unless you’re a hand-woven basket gatherer.

Those look great in photos on Instagram. Bloody useless in reality!

So I head home with my wild garlic pickings.

I’ve made all the usual gubbins in the past. The wild garlic pesto. The wild garlic omelette. The fermented wild garlic relish. Pickled wild garlic bulbs. Wild garlic pakoras (these rock!). Homemade goat’s cheese with wild garlic.

Tarts, focaccia, quiche… You name it.

So pondering in the way only Robin can ponder. I set about wondering what the waves of smelly wild garlic were going to dislodge in my brain.

Suddenly it happens!

My creative imagination explodes in a vast colourful display and I am showered in wild kimchi.

Taste buds beg to be satiated.

I see folk on social media posting the usual wild garlic recipes. So I chime in with my own photo of the kimchi I have just made.

The actual recipe still in infancy as scribblings in my notebook.

But I have a photo!

Finally, I spend time to jot down the process.

Shortly afterwards my daughter and the grand-urchins turn up.

I am greeted with “Dad, are you wearing lipstick?”

“Eh,” I say slightly surprised. “Why?”

“You’ve got orange something all over your lips,” my daughter says laughing.

And we all head off to the kitchen following the pong of delicious wild garlic kimchi.

Wild Garlic Kimchi Recipe : Ingredients

  • 1kg of wild garlic leaves and stems
  • 75g of course Korean red pepper powder known as gochugaru
  • 3tbsp grated ginger
  • 150g grated daikon (mooli)
  • 1tbsp clearlight ume shiso/ume plum seasoning
  • 2tbsp dried sea lettuce sprinkles
  • 2tbsp sea salt

Wild Garlic Kimchi Recipe : Suggested Instructions

  1. Wash the wild garlic leaves and stems. Shake dry and roughly chop.
  2. In a bowl combine and mix well the Korean red pepper, grated ginger, grated daikon, sea lettuce, sea salt and ume shiso.
  3. Add this paste to the chopped wild garlic leaves and using your hands, thoroughly squeeze and press the wild garlic until everything is covered with the paste and there is a decent amount of liquid coming from the mixture.
  4. Next put into a clip-top Kilner jar. Press the mixture down, then close the lid. Allow to sit for a week before taste testing. Will keep for a few months (maybe longer) either in the refrigerator or not.

Makes: 1.5 litres


  1. Hi Robin, Living in Bourgogne (Burgundy) we have an abundance of wild garlic (Ours ail). However, living some 480kms from the sea we have a problem getting sea lettuce and our nearest large store (56kms) is not likely to sell plum seasoning or Korean red pepper! We do have sea salt 🙂
    Kind regards

  2. Another great preserving recipe, thanks! Looking forward to trying your magnolia pickle vinegar recipe, just wondering if there’s a reason why you favour rice vinegar for some of your recipes?

  3. Robin this soundsss delish! Is there a recipe for a full foraged Kimchi? I’ve never made it before and I like cooking with native ingredients (as much as poss) so would be amazing to create something using my natural surroundings.
    Thanks again for an amazing read!

    • Dear Molly Moon,
      this reply is only 2 years late, so I don’t know if you will see it, but I have made “kimchi” out of field mustard (Sinapis arvensis) leaves and stems and I just made (as in I just packed the jar and my hands still smell) a second batch of a mix of garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata), water cress and ramps. I salt the leaves overnight, rinse and squeeze in the morning and mix in the kimchi mix of grated ginger and chili powder (and garlic if there are no ramps in the stuff I am fermenting). Today I blitzed half an apple into the mix and added a bit of rice flour and sometimes I add soy sauce or miso. Many people add fish sauce but I have a vegan son who often visits to I try to stay as vegan-friendly as I can for the long-term things in the fridge.
      Anything in the cabbage family turns into great kimchi and there are plenty of forageable cabbages…

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