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A custom that provides in abundance

Kimchi, Korean winter’s best yield

Dec 21,2003
The following is a tip on traditional Korean customs in response to a query from a Ms. Goodyear, who wrote to the JoongAng Daily from Incheon:

Q. Mr. Falk:
Ms. Goodyear: Is there any particular reason why Korean families and cabbage sellers at the local markets made so much kimchi over the last month or two, when kimchi is sold on store shelves all over?

A. IHT-JAD:
A variety of fresh kimchi is commonly sold in supermarkets and Korean delis year-round, but making kimchi for the winter, a process called gimjang, is a national tradition. For generations, Korean housewives have bought the year’s freshest produce, mainly Chinese cabbage, radishes and garlic, to make large amounts of kimchi, enough to last the family the entire winter. In the past, kimchi was packed in earthenware jars and then buried underground.

Greenhouse vegetables and special refrigerators designed to preserve kimchi in its ideal condition have made the tradition less common, but many Koreans who believe the centuries-old custom provides the best-tasting kimchi still do things the old-fashioned way.


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