Taste comparison – 10 Days, 5 Days and 3 Days

From left to right – Kimchi ripened for 10 days, 5 days and 3 days

The last jar is in the fridge.  Yesterday, R and I participated in a fundraiser with our homebrew club, Pour Standards.  The event benefited Autism Speaks, and we poured a Lightly Smoked Oatmeal Stout and a Winter IPA (which perhaps had been sitting around a bit too long for optimal freshness).

We got such nice compliments on our beer, one couple actually coming by several times to tell us that our stout was their favorite beer of the day.  And, one of the best parts of these events, R and I took turns wandering around and tasting beers from fellow home brewers and getting their notes and suggestions on ours.  Pour Standards is such a  lovely, supportive group of people – every time I go to a meeting or event I am impressed by the level of quality and creativity of my fellow brewers and am inspired with ideas on how to improve or new tweaks to recipes I want us to try.

Back to the kimchi – the event went all afternoon and, in the one glitch, ran out of food.  So, by the time we got home we were both famished.  To get dinner in our bellies as soon as possible, we made a crispy rice noodle cake with mushrooms, kimchi and fried eggs – about 30 minutes from start to finish.

I took this as an opportunity to do a side by side taste test of the three jars of kimchi – aged 10 days, 5 days and 3 days.  The difference between the three was surprising:

  • 3 days – This kimchi was slightly sour and slightly sweet. The smokiness from the paprika was the most pronounced and there was a little spicy kick.  The cabbage, radish, carrot and even apple retained bit of crispness.  The touch of effervescence that I noticed when I first tucked this away in the refrigerator was gone.
  • 5 days – Noticeably more sour than the 3 day kimchi, with the smokiness receding and a savoriness for the garlic asserting itself more. The vegetables were still crisp, although the cabbage had softened quite a bit.
  • 10 days – Mouth puckeringly sour.  The apple was soft (although not mushy) and the cabbage was much more supple.  This was also the spiciest version, with a more noticeable garlic funk.  This would be my favorite kimchi to cook with.

Fascinating how much difference even two days made!  So, about a week and a half after I first chopped up this vegetable medley, (1) I am most definitely hooked on kimchi and am going to have to make much bigger batches from now on and (2) I want to learn more about why the fermentation would have an effect not only on the sourness (from the lactic acid) but also enhancing the level of spice.

Fun with fermenting food so far!  Kimchi was the perfect place to start, it was so easy to make with astonishingly complex results.  I highly recommend it to anyone who is thinking of exploring this world, and I can’t wait to pick out my next project.


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