Due to the frigid winter months, the Koreans had a huge problem when they first started using agriculture. The most effective solution to preserve food during that time was to salt them. Over the centuries, Koreans mastered the art of preserving vegetables using salt. During the Three Kingdoms period, other kingdoms noticed how the Koreans preserved their food. This period was also marked as the first time kimchi was created. The first vegetables used were radishes, since they were a local staple.
During the Goryeo period (918 – 1392), the first writing about Kimchi was created. At that time, trade flourished with other kingdoms, and new vegetables were introduced to Korea, including napa cabbage. This led to a change in the way kimchi was prepared.
Japanese influence in the making of kimchi
During the Joseon Dynasty (1392–1910), the Japanese tried to conquer Korea multiple times. As a result, some Japanese influences were found around this time, especially in the food traditions and ingredients. One of the Japanese products that had the most impact was soy sauce. Soy sauce quickly becomes a new way for Koreans to preserve their food.
The introduction of red peppers
Although, some argue that chili peppers may find their way to Korea through trade with the Chinese. It is commonly believed that the Japanese were the ones who introduced chili peppers to Korea, as they were more involved in the world at that time compared to China. Chili peppers were introduced to Korea as a result of the war between Korea and Japan (1592 – 1598). Since then, many different kimchis have been made, including spicy kimchi using gochugaru. The famous napa cabbage kimchi that we know today was invented around 200 years ago. At that time, around 100 other kimchi variations were already available. The numbers increased until today.