Placement in Crocks

The premixtures of subingredients for stuffed tongbaechu kimchi are either stored for ripening or packaged for sale. Traditionally, a large quantity of cabbage heads were used for making kimchi, which were stored in underground potteries for the winter. This practice is called kimjang, and it is a major annual event for the Korean family. Kimjang kimchi is the most traditional way to make baechu kimchi, and it is made between mid-November and early December, depending on the climate of the particular year and region. This kimchi is then consumed the following spring. The freshly prepared, unripened kimchi is tightly stacked into the large earthenware crocks (Fig. 2) and covered with the remaining leaves of the brined cabbage. To maintain the cabbages in a facultative anaerobic condition, large stones are used to weigh down the pottery. The tiny pores naturally found in crocks trap air and provide the facultative anaerobic condition for endogenous microorganisms needed

Figure 2 Traditional crock for kimchi storage that is buried in the ground.

during the fermentation. To maintain a constant temperature, crocks are buried underground (80 to 90 percent of the container's depth) and are covered with thick rice straw mats for protection from direct sunlight and cold air.

Recently, lesser amounts of winter kimchi are prepared owing to the more ready availability of ingredient items, including meats, fish, and fresh vegetables as well as commercial kimchi products. Koreans now enjoy freshly fermented kimchi any time of the year owing to the year-round availability of fresh vegetables and of common household refrigerators and commercial kimchi products. It is common for Korean families to make small batches of kimchi as needed and to store it under refrigeration for short periods to extend its freshness.

Recently, home appliance companies have developed a kimchi refrigerator. This invention provides Korean households with better fermentation and storage by permitting a programmable low temperature fermentation as well as giving a convenient storage place in which to make a better quality of kimchi.

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