Both my kimchi and my sauerkraut were ready for a side by side taste test. First though you get their smell. Kimchi has an overpowering smell to me. When I've been to the local H-Mart (Asian food megastore), I always stay out of the kimchi wing. It is just too much for me. My own isn't quite that bad as it is just one jar, but still it is strong. Sauerkraut's aroma is a bit more subdued. Either aren't really all that bad right now as I can open the windows and the smell dissipates. But in the winter I might not like it much.
As for taste. The sauerkraut is OK. Kind of boring. It was a bit too salty. So I'll try a lower salt content next time. But very edible. The kimchi surprised me. For something with such an strong smell, the taste was quite nice. I could see eating this on a regular basis. Of course anything that has an underlying taste of garlic and ginger has to be good. I think next time I might drop the ginger just a bit. The cherries really didn't add much either. But I liked the turnips and carrots in the mix. And the sweetness was just right.
My problem with the kimchi though is storage. This is a way to preserve cabbage for me. Well and get some probiotics. But the kimchi when it ferments really goes for it. I left about an inch on top of both the sauerkraut and kimchi. The sauerkraut raised up a bit, but not enough to overflow. The kimchi overflowed a lot. I poured some liquid out to help out. But it just did it again. It was a very vigorous fermentation. But since I lost so much liquid, once it had cooled off in the fridge, the liquid sunk down to about half way up the jar. So I have no liquid covering my kimchi. I think it is necessary to keep it from growing mold in storage if I keep it for any length of time. I'm thinking I could cover it with a fresh brine, but if I do what percentage do I make so it still tastes good? Maybe 2%? Anyone have any clue?
I'm assuming the kimchi is such a vigorous fermenter because of the sugar that was added. I didn't add as much as a lot do. And I didn't add that much fruit. Next time I'll have to leave a lot of space on top to keep it under control. It would be interesting to make a mix that was flavored like the kimchi (garlic, ginger, cilantro) but fermented more like sauerkraut. I might really like that and it might not have the smell or the out of control fermentation. It might be time to play with my mix.