How Long Does Kimchi Last? – Grow Your Pantry

How Long Does Kimchi Last?

by Susan Grey on May 31, 2019
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How long does kimchi last in the fridge? Refrigerated kimchi can last 2 to 3 years when stored and preserved correctly (link) compared to that stored at room temperature.
Low temperatures slow down the fermentation process and allow the kimchi to hold its flavor and texture. There are over 300 types of kimchi, each with own storage time.
In this article, we will review the different types of kimchi, how long they last in the fridge, and ways to increase the life of your kimchi.

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How Do You Store Kimchi in the Fridge?

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Refrigeration is one of the best methods to use when storing your kimchi (link).
Unlike other methods, you can easily control the temperature on your fridge. You can control how your kimchi ages by adjusting the temperature dial.
Before storing, you should consider:
  • Amount you want to preserve
  • The type you intend to preserve
  • How long you intend to store
Refrigerated kimchi is stored in airtight containers and left for days uninterrupted.
Before you refrigerate your kimchi, it is best to keep it in a dark storage compartment at room temperature for the active bacteria time to breed and ripen. This also helps to improve flavor and texture (link).

How Do I Store Kimchi? (link)

Things Needed:
  • Refrigerator
  • Airtight jars
  • Vacuum pump (optional)
  • Medium sized spoon
Method:
1. Wash all the jars in clean water and dry.
2. After making kimchi, stack in the jar up to 3/4 full.
3. Add brine to the kimchi until the brine covers the mixture completely.
4. Cover the kimchi jar tightly and ensure that you leave no spaces for air.
5. Leave undisturbed for 2-3 days.
6. Using a spoon, slowly press the kimchi and look for bubbles. If the bubbles appear the kimchi is well fermented and ready for storage.
6. Transfer jars into the fridge.
7. Adjust the temperature dial to 2 degrees C or 35 degrees F.
8. Leave it for the next few days, but constantly check on your kimchi and temperature dial to ensure that your dish is healthy and fermenting properly.

Different Types Of Kimchi and How Long They Last In The Fridge

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1. Baechu (Cabbage)

    Baechu kimchi is made from fermented cabbage mixed with brine and other ingredients (link).
    How long does it last in the fridge?
    1-3 years (link)
    Has it gone bad?
    When storing baechu in the fridge, look for white growths on the cabbage leaves.
    Refrigerated baechu changes smell over time, an unusual change in the smell may indicate it has gone bad.

    2. Oi Sobagi (Cucumber)

    This type of kimchi is made from cucumbers and brine, chili and other spices can be added too (link).
    Oi Sobagi kimchi is stored in glass jars and ranks as one of the most perishable types of kimchi.
    How long does it last in the fridge?
    30 days (link)
    Has it gone bad?
    Properly stored it has a crispy texture and a thick flavor, you can tell it is going bad when it becomes mushy. Bad oi sobagi will smell different compared to a properly stored batch. Regularly smell your kimchi and discard it if you detect changes.

    3. Gat (Mustard Leaf)

    Gat kimchi is made from fermented cabbage, seasoned with mustard leaves (link). When storing gat kimchi, loosen the lid to ensure excess air gases out. When using a plastic container, you can cover the top with paper and an elastic band. Check the temperature dial, ensure the readings remain constant during the fermentation process. Properly stored gat kimchi should have a spicy taste.
    How long does it last in the fridge?
    1 year + (link)
    Has it gone bad?
    Check for changes in the flavor as noticeable changes can indicate that it has gone bad. Properly stored gat kimchi grows a white mold especially when stored for a long period of time, however, blue mold tends to mean the kimchi has gone bad.

    4. Bossam Kimchi

    Bossam kimchi is made from cooked pork wrapped in cabbage (link). Storing bossam kimchi in a fridge affects its flavor since pork is best enjoyed hot. Once removed from storage, the dish can be heated in a pan before serving.
    How long does it last in the fridge?
    3 months
    Has it gone bad?
    Properly stored bossam retains its original flavor as well as texture. This type of kimchi has a crunchy texture. A change in the texture can be an indicator that your kimchi may be going bad. When storing bossam for a long time period, you should frequently inspect your storage containers for changes in smell. Healthy kimchi will have a sharp pungent smell.

    5 Storage Tips To Extend The Shelf Life Of Your Kimchi

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    (link)

    1. Salting

    • You can use this to extend the shelf life of kimchi for up to 3 years.
    • Salted kimchi will be good for longer compared to the unsalted kimchi.
    • Salting will affect the flavor of the dish as it ripens.
    • Salt can be added to the kimchi in the form of brine, saturated brine should completely submerge your kimchi.
    How do you add salt?
    1. Add salt to the water to form a rich brine solution.
    2. Remove your kimchi from the fridge and wash over with clean water.
    3. Soak your kimchi in the saturated brine solution for about an hour.
    4. Clean a storage jar and put your kimchi inside the container.
    5. Add a saturated brine solution and leave to ferment. 

    2. Adding Preservatives

    • Kimchi made with preservatives has a shelf life of 4 years.
    • Processing companies use added preservatives that give it a longer life compared to homemade kimchi.
    • Preservatives work to reduce the rate of fermentation; this is by inhibiting bacteria which makes your kimchi ripen more slowly.
    • Kimchi preserved in this method lasts even longer when put in a fridge.
    How do you use preservatives?
    1. Create a brine solution using salt.
    2. Choose and add the preservative to the brine solution, you should only use the recommended preservatives to extend the storage time of kimchi.
    3. Add the solution to a batch of refrigerated kimchi and discard off excess brine.
    4. Close the lid tightly and store in a fridge.

    3. Freezing

    • Frozen kimchi has a shelf life extending to 7 years.
    • When freezing your kimchi ensure that the jars are tightly closed. You can use a vacuum pump to remove excess air especially if you use zip bags.
    • Frozen kimchi might lose flavor over time and give a slightly different taste.
    How do you freeze?
    1. Cut the kimchi into manageable portions.
    2. Stack the kimchi into storage containers.
    3. Remove excess air from the containers, close the lid tightly.
    4. Place in a freezer until the desired time.
    5. Check on your kimchi regularly.

    4. Canning

    • Canned kimchi can stay for more than 10 years without going bad.
    • Canning kills the bacteria present in the dish, which means your kimchi will have a significant change in flavor.
    • Canned kimchi can be stored in a fridge extending its usage even further.
    • An opened can of kimchi will expire quicker than those when sealed.
    How do you preserve by canning?
    1. Place a sizeable amount of kimchi over a fire and let it cook for a few minutes.
    2. Place kimchi in a can.
    3. Add brine to the kimchi.
    4. Close the lid tightly.
    5. Package and store.

    5. DIY Cellar or Underground Holes

    • Kimchi stored in underground vessels has a shelf life of up to 3 years.
    • You can use this method when storing large quantities of kimchi over an extended time.
    • Underground holes are most effective when temperatures are low.
    • You can use this method of preservation in the absence of a fridge or freezer.
    How do you create underground vessels?
    1. Dig a hole in the ground around four feet deep.
    2. Carefully place a large earthen vessel inside the hole and cover with soil up to 3/4 full.
    3. For best results, you should ensure the vessel is largely below the frost line.
    4. Stack up your kimchi inside the vessel until nearly full.
    5. Fill the vessel with brine
    6. Close the mouth of the vessel and cover with hay or straw.
    7. Monitor the progress of your kimchi regularly.

     

     

    Interested in learning more about fermenting & preserving?
    Check out these articles:
    What is Canning?
    How Long Does Sauerkraut Last?
    What Does Sauerkraut Taste Like?
    What Does Kimchi Taste Like?
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