The quality and species of the major ingredients (Korean baechu cabbage, Brassica cam-pestris sp. Pekinensis or oriental radish, Raphabus satirus L.) may significantly affect the product characteristics of kimchi. For example, only carefully selected baechu are used for baechu kimchi. The best baechu fit for a high quality kimchi has a compact structure, an oval-shaped head, white tissue, and green leaves. Essential to this selection process are the evaluations among the cabbage varieties for their physicochemical and organoleptic properties (8). In addition to the quality of the raw ingredients, the cultivation method, the kind and type of the vegetables or salt-pickled seafood can also affect the fermentation behavior and quality characteristics of the kimchi.
There are two major ways to prepare baechu cabbages for kimchi. One is used for tongbaechu kimchi, a more elaborate baechu kimchi preparation using whole cabbages, preserved for the long-term winter season. The other method is used for chopped or cut matbaechu kimchi, a common preparation style for commercial products, export, and daily, informal family eating. The preparation of these two baechu kimchis is very similar, including ingredients and recipe, except for the cabbage preparation process. For the preparation of tongbaechu kimchi, graded and washed baechu cabbage is slit lengthwise into two or four parts with a knife inserted through the bottom of the cabbage head. The cabbage sections are treated with dry salt for several hours or with 10 percent brine for about 10 hours. The macerated cabbage is rinsed to remove excess salt and then drained. A premixture of spices and other ingredients, according to a given recipe, are packed between the layers of the cabbage leaves. The stuffed cabbages are then placed in a jar that allows for a facultative anaerobic condition for the fermentation. A flow chart for processing the baechu kimchi is shown in Fig. 1.
For chopped matbaechu kimchi preparation, cabbage is cut 3 to 5 cm in length, macerated in a salt solution (8 to 15 percent concentration) for 2 to 7 hours, rinsed with fresh water, and then drained. As an alternative salting method, a whole cabbage that is cut into two or four pieces is first macerated like tongbaechu kimchi before being cut into smaller sizes. Separately premixed sliced radish, cut green onion, chopped garlic, chopped ginger,
red pepper powder, salt-pickled seafood, dry salt, etc. are combined to make a premixture of spices with other minor ingredients as directed by the recipe.
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