Kimchi is a traditional Korean prepared vegetable mix of cabbage and radishes fermented with salt and seasoning. It’s straightforward to make and delicious to eat, but 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 kimchi 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. With these tips, you can enjoy your kimchi year round!
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How To Store Kimchi In The Fridge
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 to kimchi 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 kimchi 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 the kimchi from spoiling faster.
It is a time-honored tradition of storing kimchi, as people used to bury sealed glass jars of kimchi in the ground.
Most of the time, kimchi comes in a glass jar easy to seal. If you bought it from a local restaurant that makes all their kimchi 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 the kimchi 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. While you’re at it, enjoy your Korean dish with Korean chopsticks and spoon sets also sold on Amazon here, Korean Chopsticks.
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 the kimchi will turn to mush within one week.
If you’re making a large batch of kimchi, you will likely use up in one week, there may be no need to refrigerate the kimchi at all. However, most people find they make too much kimchi to eat in one week and need it to last a bit longer 1.
How long can kimchi be stored in the fridge? Kimchi can be stored in the refrigerator for six months if it’s properly sealed in a glass jar and covered with its brine.
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 their kimchi 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 your kimchi immediately and eat it all pretty quickly 2.
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.
How to store kimchi in the fridge without the smell:
- Store the kimchi in an airtight jar.
- Before closing the lid cover the top of the jar opening with plastic wrap.
- Close the jar lid tightly.
- Place the sealed jar into a freezer food storage bag and seal the bag.
- Keep an opened box of baking soda in the fridge to help absorb the kimchi odor.
- Keep a bowl of ground coffee grinds in the fridge to help absorb the kimchi 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 opened 3.
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.
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 forever 6. 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 the kimchi 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:
- Place the kimchi into a plastic freezer bag.
- Remove as much of the air from the bag as possible.
- Seal the bag.
- Write the date on the freezer bag.
- Don’t freeze kimchi 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.
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- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Metagenomic Analysis of Kimchi, a Traditional Korean Fermented Food
- National Center For Biotechnology Information: Kimchi and Other Widely Consumed Traditional Fermented Foods of Korea: A Review
- The Washington Post: To promote kimchi Abroad, Korean scientists are trying to get rid of the smell
- Colorado State University: Understanding and Making Kimchi
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: The impact of vegan production on the Kimchi microbiome
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Survival of Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella enteritidis, Staphylococcus aureus, and Listeria monocytogenes in Kimchi