Side note before we begin:
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Things you will need for Kimchi
Fermentation Vessels!: Crock or fermenting mason jar lid
Radishes, Carrots or other root vegetables
Fish Sauce (Optional)
Chlorine Free Water (purified)
Sea Salt (If you used iodized the hippie gods will kill you) You can use salted sardines which is more traditional if you’d like!
Hot Pepper Flakes
Most of these ingredients are just an option. It is impotant to have cabbage, a couple types root vegetables, and generally a quartet of onion, garlic, ginger and hot pepper flakes in any of their many fomrs. I asked a Korean friend for his grandmother’s recipe and he told me she has never once used a recipe. She makes it a little differently every time and has a lot of fun playing around with ingredients. There are some steps you MUST follow but for the most part YOU SHOULD HAVE FUN TOO!! Koreans made their kimchi based on what was available in their environment at the time so why should you be any different?
NOTE: I am not going to pretend to be an expert on this subject but here is some interesting information on the rich Korean culture behind Kimchi.
Koreans were the masters of fermented fish (Jeotga), fermented soybeans (Miso in Japan doenjang in Korea) and fermented vegetables (kimchi). Kimchi has been made for centuries in Korea, and the changes of this cuisine are indicative of the history of the country and the availability of resources. Since the introduction of hot pepper spices and napa cabbage into their cuisine they are now some of kimchi’s staples. However, they were were only recently introduced to Korea during the 17th (hot peppers) and 19th century (napa cabbage). They would store them in giant crocks that they would bury underground for the entire winter (or longer if needed). Original kimchi was made primarily out of wild radishes. To this day the average South Korean consumes 40 pounds of kimchi per year! It is even common for businesses to pay their workers more in the fall because that is when they buy their kimchi making supplies for the whole year.
Put a little plate on top (the jar full of water is there to hold it down) And cover with a clean cloth.