The Finished Product: Selkirk Gets A Treat.
When the fermentation process is well under way some of the brine will back up into the air trap but that's not to worry, and it's why you should put a plate underneath your mason jars.
So, this morning after the Dragon Lady left for work, I brought my two jars of kimchi up from the garage where they'd been resting next to a motorcycle clutch and a pair of carburetors-all of which are dry, so don't worry folks.
First thing is to remove the plastic lids and air traps and give them a good washing. They'll be ready for a couple of jars of pickles if I can get the cucumbers and fresh dill.
Then you can install the lids loosely and tap the jars on the table a few times to "burp" them-a number of air bubbles will rise to the top. Screw down the lids and date the product with a sharpie marker and into the fridge they go.
But first, first taste.
Your taste buds will tell you that they're very happy-you'll get some onion perfume, the pleasant tartness of a fermented product, the crunch of still fresh vegetables, and the heat of the chile. Then, creeping in will be notes of the fresh ginger and garlic. The beauty of kimchi is that it's very much a free form, artistic kind of thing-you can use any number of vegetables and fruits to craft it to your liking. You don't get that with the commercial product.
The nice thing about making your own is that you get a lot of very fresh kimchi, and it is about as far as the store bought stuff as it can be. I ended up with two quarts of the stuff, and my total cash outlay was about $11 for the produce. The air traps were bought online for about $14 and are reusable-and there's that old standby, Ball jars-still a bargain for a dozen 1 quart wide mouth jars for $12. They may be the original recyclable and reusable product.
By comparison a small jar of the commercial stuff, about a 12 ounce jar, will cost you about $8 at Hy-Vee and you could probably devour it in a single sitting. So, if you enjoy the stuff as much as I do, you're going to have plenty of fresh tasty kimchi and money in your pocket. Pretty soon you'll start trolling the net for new recipes you can use your jars for.
Now, it'll chill in the fridge until lunch. Bon appetit.
This tastes a lot better if you let it age in the fridge for a few weeks.