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Kimchi (Hangul: 김치; Korean pronunciation: [kimtɕʰi]; English pronunciation: //), also spelled kimchee or gimchi, is a traditional fermented Korean side dish made of vegetables with many seasonings. In traditional preparation, kimchi was stored underground in jars to keep cool during the summer months and unfrozen during the winter months. There are hundreds of varieties of kimchi made from napa cabbage, radish, scallion, or cucumber as a main ingredient.
Kimchi is usually very strong for non-Koreans. There are many different types and Koreans typically eat kimchi in every meal. It is a staple of Korean food. Kimchi can be stored for a long time and it does not go bad easily. However, when it is exposed to hot weather for certain time, kimchi turns sour. So, it should not be put out unless it is going to be eaten soon. In Korea kimchi pots are a common sight. They are large terra cotta pots where the kimchi is stored until it can be eaten or until it ferments. Kimchi usually takes about 2 weeks to ferment, but some varieties can be eaten right away. Some must be stored for over a year to be finished.
The fermentation gives the kimchi a pickle-like quality and generally soggy or limp kimchi is not good.
Every different kind of kimchi has a special taste and a different amount of time to ferment. Baechu Kimchi is one of the most famous kimchi. Kkakdugi is made of cubed Korean radish (mu). It’s especially contains more water and is hard to chew. Baek kimchi uses milder ingredients. It’s not spicy. Chonggak kimchi has a smallish white radish that comes with a ponytail. Gat kimchi is made from dark green Korean mustard (gat) leaves and stems. These can be kept for months or even longer. As these age, they taste like lemons. Oi Sobagi has a refreshing, cool, and hot taste. Cucumber is the main ingredient for it. It can be kept for about a week. As it ages, it also taste like a lemon. Dongchimi is a food and a beverage all in one. When it ferments, it becomes sweet and taste a lot like lemon water. It can be kept for about a month.
The most common variety of kimchi is made from cabbage, radish, garlic, red pepper, salt and sugar. The cabbage is soaked in salt water for a few hours. Coarse rock salt is then rubbed in between the leaves of the cabbage. Red peppers are also rubbed in and most Kimchi has a lot of pepper in it. The radish is usually cut into long thin strips and added to the mix. A little sugar is added to help the fermentation process along much in the same way beer is made. The amounts of each ingredient vary between the type of kimchi you are making and the personal taste of the maker. Most kimchi has a special taste with shrimp or fish. The kimchi is allowed to ferment for a period of time, usually outdoors in a large kimchi pot. It is also quite common for these pots to be buried under ground. Kimchi can be kept for a long time and does not go bad. Koreans make kimchi with their families in December.
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