Kimchee Fermentation Chamber

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Learners make kimchee or sauerkraut, which is really just fermented cabbage, in a 2-liter plastic bottle. The fermentation process takes from 3 days to 2 weeks to complete, and learners measure the progress by taking a daily pH (acid level) test. This activity can be used to teach about anaerobic bacteria, acidity, osmosis, concentration, and density. It comes from a printed book that is also available in Spanish, though the Spanish version is not available online.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
1 to 2 hours

Learning Time:
1 to 4 weeks

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 4 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per group of students)

  • One 2-liter soda bottle
  • One plastic lid about 9 cm across
  • One 2-3 lb. Head of Chinese cabbage (Brassica rapa), also called napa or petsai, cut into 4 cm Chunks. (For sauerkraut use European round-headed green cabbage.)
  • Chopped hot chili pepper, or chili powder
  • Two cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 20 grams (3 tsp) non-iodized (pickling or kosher) salt
  • pH paper or red cabbage juice
  • Marker, wax pencil or crayon for drawing cutting lines
  • Cutting blade or utility knife to start cut
  • Scissors to cut bottle


  • Life Sciences
    • Cells
    • Diversity of Life
      • Viruses and Bacteria
    • Human Senses and Perception
      • Smell
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Acids and Bases
      • Solutions

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see color
  • smell
  • taste

Learning styles supported:

  • Links STEM to other topics of interest such as arts and humanities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • Science After School Consumer's Guide


Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation