It’s been six days since I initially made my very first batch of kimchi. This will be the second of a trilogy of kimchi making posts with the final post finally answering the question: If you get a vague kimchi recipe from an old Korean lady who vaguely speaks English and if it looks vaguely like kimchi when you finish preparing it, will it taste like kimchi or something vaguely like it?
New evidence has surfaced that kimchi is not as easy of a dish as I had originally thought. From what I understood from the old Korean lady, or OKL, I could eat it right after making it. But, and this I know from a M*A*S*H episode I heard about but never actually seen, kimchi must be in a cool dark place and allowed to ferment before eating. Since television is my second mother, I followed it’s lead and stored my kimchi at the bottom of a kitchen cabinet on Sunday, July 12th.
I checked on my six jars stored throughout the week. On Tuesday I found that while the seals on the lids had popped up indicating a tight seal, there was a slight odor coming from each jar and that the lids still had to be re-screwed for a totally air tight environment.
When I looked in on my little darlings on Wednesday, I noticed one tipped over and leaked a little. After wiping the jar, putting the lid back on and tightening all the other lids, I then inspected all the jars on Friday. The lids were on tightly. Too tightly. I used a spoon to pop the seal and a towel to unscrew the lids.
While the cabbage had wilted, each jar was only about 1/3 full of brining liquid. I wanted more, dammit. So, I went to the internet. Turns out kimchi ripens, or ferments, best in a constantly cold environment. Now, what major appliance do I have that’s constantly cold? Hmm…
As of Friday night, July 17, 2015, there are six jars of homemade kimchi sitting on the bottom shelf of my fridge. Before putting them in the icebox, I added about a teaspoon of salt to each jar to help with the brining process. Following online advice, I also squished the ingredients into the jars and into the liquid and there it has stayed. I sneaked a taste and it tasted like kimchi, sour and crunchy. This is good news. I was beginning to feel pitiable and stressed that it was all a waste of time, $25, and empty Alfredo jars. But, as always, I stand corrected.
Part Three with Words and Pictures Again will be up in about two weeks. Don’t touch yourself too much thinking about it until then.