This Is The Best Way To Store Kimchi

Having extra kimchi, you want to make sure it’s properly stored. Therefore, let’s find out the best kimchi storage.

The best way to store kimchi is in a sealed glass jar in the refrigerator. Properly stored it will last up to six months in the refrigerator. The refrigeration slows down the fermentation process, extending its shelf life.

This article will outline how you should store kimchi in the fridge and explain why. In addition, I’ll discuss what should be done with opened kimchi and if it can be frozen to extend it’s life even longer.

How To Store Kimchi In The Fridge

Kimchi stored in a glass jar inside my refrigerator.
Kimchi stored in a glass jar inside my refrigerator

As a Certified Health Coach I was asked about storing kimchi. To find out the appropriate recommendations for kimchi storage, I contacted the people who make and store kimchi professionally. I reached out to 50 different Korean restaurants either by phone or email to find out the best answers for storage.

Opened or unopened, the best way to store kimchi is in the refrigerator. If it’s unproperly done, it won’t last as long as it should. Therefore, let’s find out the best way to store it in the fridge.

The best way to store kimchi in the fridge is in a sealed glass jar. The colder temperatures slow down the fermentation process extending the shelf life. The kimchi should be submerged all the way in its brine. Opening the glass jar less often will prevent it from spoiling faster.

Most of the time, kimchi comes in a glass jar easy to seal. If you bought it from a local restaurant that makes all theirs in-house, it might come in a Tupperware or plastic bag.

These aren’t airtight storage methods, therefore, if you want to keep a batch of kimchi good for longer than a week, you’ll want to invest in a glass jar or two.

If you need a jar to store it once you open it, regular Ball Mason Jars should do the job. They come in all sorts of sizes and have been trusted by home cooks for over 100 years. 

They sell affordable jars on Amazon which can be used for a variety of liquids and foods other than kimchi. Check them out here, Ball Mason Jars.

Disclaimer: Some links in this article are affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Does Kimchi Need To Be Refrigerated?

Kimchi needs to be refrigerated to extend its shelf life. If left out at room temperature, the fermentation process will speed up significantly, and it will turn to mush within one week.

If you’re making a large batch, you will likely use it up in one week, there may be no need to refrigerate the kimchi at all. However, most people find they make too much to eat in one week and need it to last a bit longer1.

Kimchi can be stored in the refrigerator for six months if it’s properly sealed in a glass jar and covered with its brine.

Kimchi in a bowl prior to storage.
Kimchi in a bowl prior to storage

How Long Will Kimchi Last in the Fridge After Opening?

Kimchi will last in the fridge after opened for up to six months. After six months the cell wall will start breaking down, and the cabbage and radishes will turn into mush. 

Some people don’t mind it being mushy and sour, so they may keep it for a bit longer.

How Long Will Unopened Kimchi Last Unrefrigerated?

Before a jar of kimchi is opened, it will keep fermenting at an extremely slow pace for one year. If you’re like most people, though, you’re going to open it immediately and eat it all pretty quickly2.

How To Store Kimchi in the Fridge Without the Smell

The kimchi smell is really strong and if it’s stored unproperly can make the whole refrigerator smell. Even after closing the door, the smell can remain in the kitchen.I know because I have some in my refrigerator at this very moment.

How to store kimchi in the fridge without the smell:

  1. Store the kimchi in an airtight jar.
  2. Before closing the lid cover the top of the jar opening with plastic wrap.
  3. Close the jar lid tightly.
  4. Place the sealed jar into a freezer food storage bag and seal the bag.
  5. Keep an opened box of baking soda in the fridge to help absorb the odor.
  6. Keep a bowl of ground coffee grinds in the fridge to help absorb the odor.

For some people who always have kimchi in their refrigerator, it’s easier for them to use a mini refrigerator just for kimchi. Keeping the refrigerator in a garage or basement keeps the smell out of the kitchen and living areas when it’s opened3.

Why does kimchi smell bad? Kimchi smells bad because it is prepared with much crushed garlic and ginger. The preparation produces sulfur compounds adding to the smell.

Kimchi inside my refrigerator in a sealed jar with plastic to help with the smell.
Kimchi inside my refrigerator in a sealed jar with plastic to help with the smell

Why Does Kimchi Keep So Long?

Kimchi keeps for so long because the vegetables are fermented. The kimchi has been brined with salt and spices which removes the moisture. Less moisture preserves the vegetables and makes space for the spices to saturate them. 

Fermented kimchi will have a sour, almost vinegary taste from the briny liquid leaching from the veggies. This is intensely flavorful and pleasant to most Korean food lovers.

Of course, fermentation won’t keep the vegetables from developing mold forever4. Keep an eye on it, and when it begins to taste too sour, you can throw it out. 

How To Tell If Kimchi Is Bad

It may be difficult to determine if kimchi is bad by smell alone because it smells already. Besides the smell you’ll need to know how to tell if kimchi is bad.

To tell if kimchi is bad:

  • Smell the kimchi. If it smells different or more sour than typical, it’s gone bad.
  • Check for mold. Look for fuzzy, small dots colored green, black or blue.
  • If it has been stored in the fridge for longer than six months it may be bad and should be discarded.

How To Freeze Kimchi

How to freeze kimchi properly:

  1. Place the kimchi into a plastic freezer bag.
  2. Remove as much of the air from the bag as possible.
  3. Seal the bag.
  4. Write the date on the freezer bag.
  5. Don’t freeze it in a glass jar because it may crack and break in the freezer.

The best way to defrost kimchi is removing it from the freezer and placing it in the refrigerator until it thaws thoroughly. Store bought kimchi unopened can be frozen in its package.

This video shows how to store kimchi.

If you have any questions to ask me about this article don’t hesitate to comment below or email us. You can find an email on our contact page.

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  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Metagenomic Analysis of Kimchi, a Traditional Korean Fermented Food []
  2. National Center For Biotechnology Information: Kimchi and Other Widely Consumed Traditional Fermented Foods of Korea: A Review []
  3. The Washington Post: To promote kimchi Abroad, Korean scientists are trying to get rid of the smell []
  4. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Survival of Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella enteritidis, Staphylococcus aureus, and Listeria monocytogenes in Kimchi []

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