year around November, a remarkable thing happens in Korea.
Kimchi is a traditional spicy pickled vegetable dish in
Korea. While its usually made with cabbage, there
are more than a hundred kimchi varieties, using everything
from cucumbers and radishes to eggplants and pumpkin blossoms.
Most kimchi recipes are based on three essential steps:
the vegetable is salted. This extracts the liquid,
making the vegetable firm.
spices are addedparticularly powdered hot red pepper,
crushed garlic, and green onionsgiving kimchi its
the vegetable is fermented in its own salty juices.
From Seouls massive five-block Karakdong market square
to rural roadside vegetable stands, produce markets across Korea
grow more frenetic than at any other point during the year.
As farmers arrive with their harvests, shoppers flock to sift
through towering mounds of cabbages, radishes, mustard greens,
and other vegetables.
The frenzy marks the arrival of kimchi-making season, when Koreans
collect ingredients for kimchi, and prepare supplies of this
traditional pickled vegetable dish for winter.
Most Koreans eat kimchi every day, so its not surprising
how significantly it can affect activity in local markets. In
fact, families usually serve three or more varieties of kimchi
at every meal, breakfast included. So central is kimchi to everyday
life that its not uncommon to see kimchi coverage in the
daily news, including money-saving tips, commodity price reports,
and "how to" cooking advice for consumers.