Some foods add flavor and aroma to our meals while giving us incredible benefits. Kimchi is one of those foods, providing us with a spicy burst of flavor while being great for gut health. The fermentation process of kimchi makes it a valuable addition to your diet, but it might leave us wondering whether kimchi goes bad.
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Does Kimchi Go Bad?
Typically kimchi is made with vegetables that are left to ferment. This Korean side dish has become extremely popular worldwide, with people enjoying it with meat and seafood.
It is most commonly made with cabbage, but versions using radishes can be found, too. Since it is a fermented food, it doesn’t go bad quickly. In fact, leaving your kimchi for longer only allows it to ferment more, resulting in your kimchi tasting more sour and spicy.
However, if your kimchi isn’t stored correctly, it can go rancid quickly, resulting in overly sour kimchi that tastes and smells rotten.
How Long Does Kimchi Last?
If your kimchi is unopened, it will last quite a long time, even a year after the date stated on the container. This is as long as your kimchi is properly stored in your pantry and the container isn’t damaged in any way.
Since people made kimchi and kept it under the ground for years without it going off, it shows that the fermentation process continues as long as the kimchi isn’t disturbed.
These days kimchi isn’t made the traditional way anymore; and instead, it is put into airtight containers with brine or vinegar and then sealed. Your airtight container of kimchi will remain fresh for a long time since the bacteria in your kimchi continues the fermentation process if stored correctly.
However, once you open your kimchi, the quality of your kimchi will naturally start to decline. Therefore, keeping your kimchi in the fridge once you open it is essential because the cold temperature will help improve your kimchi’s shelf life.
If you place your opened kimchi in the refrigerator, be sure to consume it within three months. If you keep it in longer than that, it may still be fit for consumption, but the fermentation process could lead to it tasting too sour for enjoyment.
However, if you enjoy your kimchi very sour, you can still eat it for up to six months after opening your kimchi, but you must check that your kimchi hasn’t gone bad before eating it.
Leaving your opened kimchi outside the fridge isn’t recommended since it will dramatically decrease your kimchi’s shelf life. Your kimchi will be fit for consumption for only about three days if left outside the fridge once opened.
How Long Does Kimchi Last?
|Stored in the pantry||Stored in the fridge||Stored in the freezer|
|Unopened||1 year after best by date||6 months after best by date||7 years|
|Opened||3 days||3 to 6 months||18 months|
4 Tips to Tell if Kimchi Has Gone Bad
Kimchi can be enjoyed for several months after opening if kept in an airtight container in the fridge. Although not all kimchi recipes are the same resulting in slightly diverse shelf lives, the ways to tell if your kimchi has gone bad remain the same.
Your kimchi looks different.
Kimchi has a colorful appearance due to the spices and vegetables used to make it. If your kimchi has become dull, it isn’t fresh anymore. Likewise, if your kimchi has a lot of extra moisture in the jar, it has gone past its best.
Of course, if you notice any mold or organic growth on your kimchi, it is advised to avoid eating it. Similarly, any dark spotting is a sign that your kimchi isn’t fit for consumption anymore.
Your kimchi smells different.
Kimchi has a very delicious smell because of the fermentation process. It has a slightly sour aroma that gets stronger over time. So it is perfectly normal for your kimchi to have a sour or even a vinegary smell.
However, if your kimchi smells terrible, it is probably best not to eat it, primarily if any fish paste, fish sauce, or oyster sauce was used to prepare it.
Your kimchi tastes different.
Kimchi has a robust sour flavor that is enhanced over time. Therefore it isn’t unusual for your kimchi to taste slightly off. However, if your kimchi is tasting unpleasant, don’t eat any more of it. You won’t enjoy it anyway.
In addition, your kimchi might become too fermented for your liking as time passes. If you take a bite of your kimchi that still appears fine and you dislike the sourness in it, then you shouldn’t eat it any further.
Finally, it is essential to be careful with non-vegan kimchi because the pastes and sauces used to make it can be harmful if they have gone bad.
3 Tips for Storing Kimchi
Knowing how to store your kimchi correctly will lead to a much longer shelf life and enjoyment of this delicious side dish.
Store your unopened kimchi in your pantry
If your kimchi container remains unopened, you can keep it with peace of mind that it will last well after the date printed on the container.
However, it would help if you remembered that kimchi shouldn’t be placed near heat elements or in an area where it will receive direct sunlight since unregular temperatures will shorten your kimchi’s shelf life dramatically.
Therefore, never keep your sealed kimchi container close to a window or next to an oven or stove. Instead, keep it in a dark cupboard until you are ready to open and enjoy it.
Store your opened kimchi in the fridge
It would be best to keep your opened kimchi container in the fridge since high temperatures will make your kimchi go bad quickly. Be sure to keep it in an airtight container that has been properly sealed for best results.
The cold temperature of the fridge will help your kimchi to last longer because it slows the fermentation process down significantly. If you find that your kimchi shows signs that it has gone bad, don’t eat it.
Freeze your kimchi
You can place your kimchi in the freezer for very long shelf life. Although many people don’t like the idea of frozen cabbage, your frozen kimchi can remain suitable for consumption for up to 7 years.
The Risk of Consuming Expired Kimchi
If you eat expired kimchi that is non-vegan, you can get sick. This is because clam, oyster, or fish sauce or paste is often used in the preparation process.
If these sauces go past their best, consuming them can lead to foodborne illnesses such as food poisoning. Therefore you must look at the ingredients that your kimchi has been made with.
If you notice that it includes any of these sauces, you have to keep an eye on it. If you have eaten expired kimchi that contains these sauces, you might experience vomiting, nausea, severe cramping, a fever, and diarrhea for a few days.
If your symptoms don’t improve after 48 hours, you should see a doctor. Remember to stay hydrated while the symptoms of food poisoning work their way through your body. Dehydration will lead to you feeling even more unwell.
People with seafood allergies must read the label carefully before consuming kimchi since these sauces can lead to a severe allergic reaction. If you have a seafood allergy and you accidentally consume kimchi with these sauces, seek medical help if you don’t have an EpiPen in your possession.
If you love kimchi but you are nervous about your store-bought kimchi containing traces of seafood, it is a good idea to make your own. Several beautiful recipes and how-to videos are available on the Internet today that will guide you through the exciting and fun process of making your first kimchi.
Can you Freeze Kimchi?
Yes, you can freeze kimchi. In fact, kimchi freezes surprisingly well. Keep your kimchi in an airtight container or a ziplock bag when placing it in the freezer.
Remove the amount of kimchi that you want and allow some thawing time before enjoying your kimchi. An unopened container of kimchi will last up to seven years in your freezer, whereas an open container will last up to 18 months.
If you love kimchi to the point where you just can’t get enough of it, keep some kimchi in your freezer so that you always have some on hand.
Kimchi is a superfood that livens up most dishes that it is added to. In addition, it offers many fantastic health benefits making it an excellent ingredient to have in your home.
It is also relatively cheap and easy to make, so make your own if you want complete control of what is in your kimchi. Just be sure to use a sterile environment to prepare your kimchi and use good quality ingredients.
You will love your homemade kimchi, and of course, store-bought kimchi is delicious, too. Keep your kimchi stored properly to prevent your kimchi from going bad.