When it comes down to spicy and savory foods, it’s hard to miss out on kimchi. Widely consumed in Korea, kimchi is one of the most traditional and ethnic foods in Korea and is loaded with flavors and nutrients. It has a lower calorie count and has various probiotics which aid in weight loss. This dish has been around for centuries and there are various varieties available. However, fresh kimchi vs fermented kimchi remains the two most popular varieties. To help you understand the differences between both, we have some facts to share!
Fresh Kimchi vs Fermented Kimchi
Fresh kimchi is a somewhat new variety that has less or zero probiotics as compared to fermented kimchi. Fresh kimchi is commonly known as geotherm and is not fermented. It is known to have a fresh and raw flavor (yes, much like salads). In the majority of cases, it achieves a crispy and crunchy texture and you will be able to enjoy the flavors of every vegetable. All in all, the flavor is mellower.
The fresh kimchi looks like a bowl of fresh salad since there is no fermentation. The veggies used in fresh kimchi are easy to differentiate and the spice paste is not blended with the veggies – the spice paste looks like a dressing. As far as the preparation is concerned, it’s made in the summer and spring seasons because the napa cabbage is easier to find during these seasons.
Having said that, the napa cabbage can be used to create a tasty and fresh salad. The cabbage tends to be smaller, promising a fresh flavor. When it comes down to the preparation, the fresh kimchi uses less amount of salt. The fresh kimchi can be consumed right away because you don’t need to wait for it to ferment. Similarly, it makes a great side dish and complements the Korean BBQ meat and noodle soup.
It is needless to say that the fresh kimchi is unfermented, you can use it right away, which is why the bringing time is reduced to half an hour or an hour. Keep in mind that fresh kimchi has to be consumed in the least time possible as you don’t want to it ferment. For this reason, it’s better that you store it in the refrigerator for around one week.
To begin with, fermented kimchi has probiotics. The fermented kimchi also goes by the name of beachy-kimchi, which is made from napa cabbage leaves. This kimchi is known to have a strong and tangy flavor. That’s because, during the long fermentation process, different flavors of the vegetables mix up and whip up a unique flavor. Usually, the fermented kimchi has a sourer and stronger flavor.
When it comes down to the fermented kimchi, it is likely to have more liquid and the veggies/ingredients are properly mixed in. With the addition of spice paste, the vegetables tend to change color, which is why they are hard to differentiate. People usually make fermented kimchi in the winter and fall seasons as it helps with storage.
In particular, the fermented kimchi has to be stored at low temperatures as it allows for slower fermentation, resulting in a more pronounced flavor. Since salt helps speed up the kimchi fermentation process, more salt is added. If you are concerned about the usage, you must not consume the fermented kimchi right away because the fermentation process takes a long time; days or weeks, so plan the usage accordingly.
The fermented kimchi can be used with rice cakes, porridges, and rice. In addition, it makes a great base for pancakes, stew, and soup. You need to remember that the brining time is longer, ranging from three hours to eight hours while the entire fermentation process goes over weeks. Honestly, there is no specific timeframe because it depends on the taste and texture you prefer. It can be stored in the refrigerator for over six months while room-temperature storage will be over two weeks.
The Bottom Line
At this point, it’s pretty clear that both forms of kimchi are made from the same ingredients but the brining, fermentation, and quantity of salt can impact the flavor and texture of this recipe. Overall, both fresh kimchi, as well as fermented kimchi, are delicious, so just determine what you want to serve it with!