Friday, August 19, 2011

Gimjang

Gimjang is the traditional process of preparing kimchi. One little post about my fast and loose fermented cabbage spawned a stream of comments from some good friends, one who is half Korean and one who lived in Korea for several years. I thought I'd share what I learned. Thanks for the culinary lessons, guys. I love learning new things!

There's a Korean saying: "There are as many types of gimchi as there are holes in the ground." Reason being that that's how gimchi/kimchi is traditionally made.

Jess informed me that traditional kimchi is made in fall, left in kimchi pots in the ground for several months during winter, to ferment naturally. Although most Koreans now, she wrote, have special "kimchi refrigerators" - sort of like wine fridges - that keep the kimchi at the right temperature until it's ready in spring. Wow.

And Kathey told me that she uses ground apple to cut down on the sugar. If I like this recipe, I'll have to experiment with the apple as a sweetener. Here's what wikipedia has to offer on the subject.

So, my version of fermented cabbage may be the furthest possible process from authentic gimjang, but I hope it tastes good. We'll see in a few days.

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