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Kimchi (김치) is a traditional Korean food made from vegetables, widely with Chili pepper. It often contains things like Chinese cabbage, radish, garlic, red pepper, spring onion, shrimp, ginger, salt, and sugar.
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. A typical batch of kimchi 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.
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.