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?
The process of fermentation 4keeps kimchi safe to eat and delicious for several months 5. But what does fermentation mean, exactly?
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.
Read Next – More Food Storage Articles!
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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[↩]
Refrigeration: After the kimchi has been fermented to your desired taste, it is recommended to store it in the refrigerator. The cool temperature of the fridge slows down the fermentation process and helps preserve the flavors.What is the best way to store kimchi? ›
The refrigerator is a popular choice for storing kimchi due to its convenience and ability to slow down the fermentation process. When storing kimchi in the refrigerator, it's important to keep it in an airtight container to prevent odors from permeating and affecting its flavor.Where do you store fresh kimchi? ›
Kimchi should be stored in the fridge as chilling is the only thing that keeps its level of fermentation (i.e. the activity of those happy little probiotics) slowed down. If you leave kimchi outside of the fridge, over time it will become over-fermented and won't taste so great anymore.How do Koreans store kimchi? ›
Traditionally, winter kimchi, called kimjang, was stored in large earthenware fermentation vessels, called onggi, in the ground to prevent freezing during the winter months and to keep it cool enough to slow down the fermentation process during summer months.
The easiest way to keep kimchi from spoiling is to put it in your freezer. This will help to slow down the fermentation and keep out nasty bacteria. But this method ruins the texture of the cabbage, so it's better to simply keep it refrigerated.How do you store kimchi long term? ›
Kept at room temperature, kimchi lasts 1 week after opening. In the refrigerator, it stays fresh much longer — about 3–6 months — and continues to ferment, which may lead to a sourer taste. Be sure to refrigerate your kimchi at or below 39°F (4°C), as warmer temperatures may accelerate spoilage.How do you store kimchi when fermenting? ›
Ferment! Option 1: Kimchi may be placed in refrigerator so it ferments slowly over 3 to 4 days. This may be preferred, especially during hot weather. Option 2: Place sealed container in a well-ventilated location (may become pungent), with a relatively constant room temperature, around 68° F is ideal.How do you store kimchi from a bag? ›
Just double bag it in a zip-top bag. When I've had a lot of kimchi (thanks to a very generous friend, Yun Ho), I put it all into an airtight glass or plastic container and kept it refrigerated. Korean markets sell dedicated kimchi containers of varying sizes but I find that what I have around the house works just fine.Can you store kimchi in ziplock bag? ›
It is better to keep your Kimchee not to contact with too much air. You don't have to have this fancy container, of course. You can put your Kimchee in a ziplock back and let the air out, seal it, and then put in a container.Can I store kimchi in freezer? ›
Kimchi can last in the freezer for 12-18 months, but ideally eat kimchi which has been frozen within 3 months. This is because you want to eat the kimchi at the best possible quality. If you're planning to freeze kimchi when making it in a large batch for a future event, then make sure to factor this in.
i never had any troubles with neither plastic nor glass. but be prepared to make the tupperware you stored kimchi in your dedicated kimchi-ware because everything you put into the tupper after you had kimchi fermented in, will taste faintly like kimchi.Where do Koreans store kimchi? ›
Kimchi's History and Cultural Significance
This kept it cool through the summer and prevented it from freezing during the winter. These traditional pots are still used by some families, but many modern Korean households have a special fridge to store their kimchi.
To preserve food through winter in the days before refrigeration, communities came together to prepare fermented vegetables, known as kimchi. The kimchi was then buried underground in jars to keep it cool—but not frozen—and shared throughout the community all winter long.What prevents kimchi from spoiling? ›
For long-term storage of kimchi, just keep the vegetables submerged in the brine, and watch out for visible fuzzy mold on top. So long as the surface of the kimchi isn't allowed to dry out and grow mold, kimchi does not go bad.Can you store kimchi in a jar? ›
In fact, factory-produced kimchi in Korea is kept at a constant 4 degrees celsius - the temperature of your fridge. A mason jar is ideal, though any airtight container should do. Sanitize the container prior to loading it with the kimchi.How shelf stable is kimchi? ›
The shelf life of many store-bought kimchi brands is around eight months to a year. But, rely on your common sense. If you see any mold, toss it. If the smell changes from the usual expected sourness and pungency, to the point of being unpleasant, it may be time to get rid of it and buy more or start a new batch.How long can you keep kimchi in the refrigerator? ›
Homemade kimchi must be kept refrigerated and will last for up to 1 month. Store-bought kimchi that remains unopened can be kept at room temperature for 1-3 months. If you have store-bought kimchi that's been opened, it will be good for 3-4 days at room temperature and up to 6 months when refrigerated.Should kimchi be kept in an airtight container? ›
Kimchi does not need to be sealed or completely airtight to ferment. The fermentation process will begin regardless if the lid is kept airtight or loose. However, not keeping it airtight can increase the odds of spoilage and mold growth and reduce shelf life.