Making Kimchi

IMG_0236It was a kimchi Sunday! My college roommate, Heidi, is Korean (via New Jersey), and she’s the one who introduced me to kimchi. One day, with her chopsticks, she pulled out some red speckled, fishy smelling soggy leaves from a jar stored in the dorm refrigerator. It was delightful!

Maangchi’s website is so useful and easy to follow. As a first-timer, I used her simple kimchi recipe (with salted shrimp instead of the salted squid). Joe got me the salted shrimp from HMart. I got the daikon radish, ginger, napa cabbage and fish sauce from my local supermarket. Other changes – I substituted some more scallion and some bok choi for the leek, and I started salting Saturday night and made the rest on Sunday, so this made my cabbage look terrible and nothing like her beautiful pictures. However, it tastes great! Tip: I had bought a large bag of dried chilis somewhere along the line (maybe Hmart, maybe the Indian grocer?) and since the recipe calls for 1/2 to 2 cups of red pepper flakes, I ground these up in my food processor rather than buy the little jars at the supermarket. It worked really well.


I halved her recipe, which started with six pounds of cabbage. I canned this in six medium mason jars plus another plastic container for my fridge.  The canned ones were processed in a big pot for about 10 min. I’ll open one in a month and see how it is. I always get nervous when canning; I don’t want to kill anyone. I think that with fermented foods you don’t really get bacteria that will make you sick, though, just bacteria that would make the food taste bad. Anybody know about that? That was the case in brewing beer. Maybe I didn’t even have to process the kimchi. I couldn’t find official food safety instructions on preserving kimchi. The closest thing was university extension sites that talk about fermented pickles. Please comment so I can update this with the correct information!

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