Korean hot pepper varieties?

(Question)

Hello!
I’m wondering if anyone on this site has information about Korean hot pepper varieties? I love Korean food and really enjoy making my own kimchi, and this year I’m planning to make some from ingredients I grow myself (as much as possible). I would love to know if the variety of hot red pepper that is used extensively in Korean cooking can be grown in the GTA… but so far I haven’t even been able to figure out what said variety is. Any help or recommendations on whom to ask would be appreciated!

(Answer)

Good for you to grow and preserve your own food. I have found an American company that sells pepper seeds specifically identified as Korean peppers, one of which is singled out for making kimchi. You can find them at http://www.evergreenseeds.com. Note that their seeds are from hybrid plants (more on that below!)

I did not find an Canadian source that specifies Korean pepper seeds, but you might want to check out this seller http://www.agrohaitai.com/ which may be selling the pepper you need under a different name.

Now, you might also want to try saving the seeds from a Korean hot pepper that you buy at any of Toronto’s several great Asian groceries, a brief list of which appears in this Toronto Life article: http://www.torontolife.com/guide/food/delis-asian/

However, this brings me back the subject of hybrids. Plants grown from the seed of  “F1” hybrids may not come true to type, i.e. be exactly the same as the plant from which the seed was obtained. The first seed source named above describes their seeds as “hybrid” but not F1, so it is likely they will come true. However, there is no way of knowing the lineage of the pepper fruit you might buy in the store (although it is unlikely to be an F1 hybrid since it was grown in commercial quantity). Here are some good resources that explain this in more detail, along with providing excellent instructions on how to save pepper seeds.

http://www.thechileman.org/guide_seedsaving.php
http://studentfarm.ucdavis.edu/SavePepperSeed-RA1-03.pdf

Good luck with your search and enjoy your homemade kimchi.