Jars used for storing kimchi
Many westerners mention Kimchi when they boast of their little knowledge about Korea. Some believe it is a main dish. But it is not true. It is one of banchan (Banchan (also spelled panchan), refers to small side-dishes served along with cooked rice in Korean cuisine) eaten with rice. Kimchi is catching on worldwide due to its unique taste and the popular belief it is good for health. Some research says it is a preventive food for SARS (Severe acute respiratory syndrome). After such a report comes out to the world, Chinese are believed to enjoy Kimchi more than ever.
The following article features Kimchi, which is described on Wikipedia (open source online encyclopedia)
Kimchi, also spelled gimchi or kimchee, is a traditional Korean fermented dish made of seasoned vegetables
Kimchi is the most common Korean banchan eaten with rice along with other banchan dishes. Kimchi is also a common ingredient and cooked with other ingredients to make dishes such as kimchi stew (kimchi jjigae) and kimchi fried rice (kimchi bokkeumbap). Moreover, because it is both flavorful and healthy, the world-wide appeal and popularity of kimchi continues to grow.
Kimchi has been cited by health magazines as one of the world’s five “healthiest foods,” for being rich in vitamins, aiding digestion, and perhaps even preventing cancer. 
Since kimchi is made of various vegetables, it contains a high concentration of dietary fibers, while being low in calories. It also provides 80% of the daily required amount of ascorbic acid and carotene. Most types of kimchi contain common ingredients like onions, garlic and peppers all of which have well-known health benefits. The main vegetable being made into kimchi also contributes to the overall nutritional value. Kimchi is rich in vitamin A, thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), calcium and iron   and also has active and beneficial bacterial cultures of Lactobacilli which results in a higher lactic acid content in the final product than in yoghurt.
Jars used for storing kimchi
Current style kimchi with chili peppersThe history of kimchi traces back to ancient times. References to kimchi can be found as early as 2600-3000 years ago. The first text-written evidence of its existence can be found in the first Chinese poetry book, ShiKyung. In this book, kimchi was referred as “Ji”, the term used before it was known as “Chimcahe”.
The earliest form of kimchi consisted of only salted vegetables. It was in the 12th century when people began to include other spices to create different flavors, such as sweet and sour savor, and colors of kimchi, such as white and orange.
It is also interesting to note that chili peppers, now a standard ingredient in kimchi, were unknown in Korea until the early 17th century, when they were introduced from Japan or China, where they had been introduced by western traders. Chili peppers were indigenous to the Americas and were unknown in Korea before the early 17th century. This particular style of kimchi made with Chinese white cabbage, popularly known as Napa cabbage, gained popularily in the 19th century and this baechu kimchi continues to be the most common and popular form of kimchi today.
Kimchi's composition can be separated into the main vegetable ingredient and the mix of seasonings used to flavor the kimchi. While the most popular type of kimchi is the napa cabbage variety, countless different types exist, including regional and seasonal varieties. Popular variants include kkakdugi (깍두기), based on cubed radish without cabbage, and oh-ee so-bae-gi (오이소배기), stuffed cucumber kimchi. Kkaennip (깻잎) kimchi features layers of perilla leaves marinated in soy sauce and other spices. The Kimchi Field Museum in Seoul has documented 187 historic and current varieties of kimchi.. Although the most common seasonings include brine, garlic, scallions and chili pepper grind, countless varieties of seasoning and ingredients can be replaced or added depending on the type of kimchi being made. Common seasonings also include ginger, onions, salted fish or shellfish as well as fruit or fresh seafood.
Moreover, kimchi is not necessarily spicy or red. White kimchi (baekkimchi) is seasoned without the chili pepper grind and is neither red in color nor spicy. White radish kimchi (dongchimi) is another example of a popular kimchi that is not spicy. A popular dish of cold noodles in "donchimi" brine (dongchimi gooksu) is eaten widely during the summer months.
Kimchi can be categorized either by regions or seasons. Korea's northern and southern sections have a considerable temperature difference. Northern regions tend to have longer winters compared to the southern regions of Korea. Kimchi from the northern parts of Korea tend to have less salt as well as less red peppers and usually do not have brined seafood for seasoning. Northern kimchi often has a watery consistency. Unlike northern styles, kimchi in the southern parts of Korea, such as Jeollado and Kyeongsangdo, uses salt, chili peppers and salted fish liberally. Depending upon the season of the year, the various weather conditions, and ingredients available in the region, different varieties of kimchi are produced.
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Traditionally, after a long period of consuming kimjang kimchi, winter kimchi during the winter, fresh potherbs and vegetables were popular. These kinds of kimchi were not fermented or even stored for long periods of time but were freshly consumed.
Young summer radishes and cucumbers are popular summer vegetables made into kimchi, yeolmu kimchi, in summer are made with whole summer radishes that are eaten in several bites. Brined fish or shellfish can be added and freshly ground dried chili peppers are often used.
Baechu kimchi is the most common type of kimchi in the fall. It is prepared by inserting blended stuffing materials, called sok(literally meaning inside), between layers of salted leaves of uncut, whole cabbage. The ingredients of sok can vary, depending on the different regions and weather conditions. Overall, beachukimchi tends to have a strong salty flavor because it contains a large amount of fermented fish.
Traditionally, the greatest varieties of kimchi were available during the winter. In preparation for the long winter months, kimchi was prepared in early winter and stored in the ground in large kimchi pots. These days, kimchi refrigerators are used to store winter kimchi. It is often November or December when people begin to make kimchi and women often gather together in each others' homes to help help each make winter kimchi. White kimchi (baek kimchi), is a common kimchi to make during the wintertime. "Baechu" is made with salted cabbage filled with thin strips of radish, parsley, pine nuts, pears, chestnuts, shredded red pepper, manna lichen, garlic, and ginger.