I made kimchi at home.and I can't find that sour taste and smell as it ferments.maybe because rice wine is not available.can I use the regular vinegar or apple cider?

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    It might help to post the recipe. I've not heard of "traditional" kimchi being made with rice wine or with vinegar.. the sour taste will come from fermentation. – janeylicious Jan 15 '16 at 5:08
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    As far as I know there is no rice wine in kimchi at all. This is a fermented cabbage. Maybe you're not letting it set long enough? – NKY Homesteading Jan 15 '16 at 8:37
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    I've never added rice wine to my kimchi. The sour taste is a by-product of the fermentation process. You're probably not letting it ferment enough. If you're keeping it somewhere cold (such as the fridge), it can have a hard time getting going. – dopiaza Jan 15 '16 at 16:54
  • Kimchi is like fancy sauerkraut with hotsauce. It makes its own vinegar as it ferments. It can start pretty slow in the winter, take a week or more to just get going. But in the summertime it'll be as vinegary as it can get with a week. – Wayfaring Stranger Jan 16 '16 at 0:33

You should use patience. The sour taste comes from lactic and acetic acid (more lactic than acetic) produced by the fermentation process. Kimchi is essentially "spicy sauerkraut" and both get their acidity from bacteria which are naturally present on the vegetables, aided (over other bacteria) by the right amount of salt (typically 2% by weight or slightly less), and lack of air.

The lack of air part means you should not be opening the jar to check on it for at least 6 weeks or so (and hopes that you are using a proper jar that keeps the air out with a water seal or the like.) A plain canning jar with the lid correctly tightened but not overtightened can work, but you should keep it in the dark. The bacteria eat sugars present in the vegetables and produce the acids.

Ideal temperature is a subject of debate - for speed, 70F or even 75 (which is dangerously close to too warm in my opinion) (can cut your time down to 3 weeks), for quality (but there is debate) at lower speed, 60-65 F for 6-8 weeks or more.

Per someone's mother in law from Korea, bury the jar in the garden in early winter and dig it up in spring (not one I've tried.)

  • You can also just use an airtight plastic tupperware for the container. – user3932000 Jun 21 '18 at 1:34

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