Kimchi 101

Kimchi is a staple in Korean cooking, Traditionally a side dish of salted and fermented vegetables such as Napa cabbage and Korean radish, made with an array of seasonings including Gochugaru (chilli powder), spring onions, garlic, ginger and Jeotgal (salted seafood) it has now evolved into a hundred myriad versions and is enjoyed all over the world.

In Korea, Kimchi was traditionally made during the winter months by fermenting vegetables and burying it underground in big brown ceramic pots called Onggi. The labour-intensive process allowed for a lot of family bonding time. Prior to modern refrigeration pickling was the only way to preserve vegetables for a longer lifespan. Kimchi’s recipe has evolved over time, historically it was not a spicy dish. The first mention of chilli pepper is noted in 1614 and by the 19th century it was widespread and more closely resembled the modern kimchi we know and love.

The fermentation process for Kimchi is based around lactofermentation and creating an environment in which the Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB) will flourish. The act of salting the vegetables halts the pathogenic and putrefactive bacteria present in the microflora, by stopping the bad bacteria and allowing the LAB to become the dominant microorganism present the fermentation process can begin.  As the LAB gets to work it produces lactic acid and carbon dioxide as by products which have beneficial attributes, the lactic acid lowers the PH level of the kimchi creating an acidic environment which is uninhabitable for bacteria that survived the salting, the lactic acid also modifies the flavour of the ingredients to give that lip smacking tang and also can increase the nutritional value of the vegetables. Carbon dioxide functions as an extra preserving agent, flushing out oxygen from the ferment to create an anaerobic environment as well as creating the lively bubbling that comes with this ferment.

Our traditional kimchi is our interpretation of the classic kimchi recipe, with the omission of any fish sauce to keep it vegan friendly, we also produce seasonal variations like our winter Brussel sprout and miso kimchi, which has a crisp, sweet, and nutty flavour from the sprouts and miso adds an umami punch which adds depth of flavour to the ferment.

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