Does Kimchi Go Bad?

Does kimchi go bad or not? How long does kimchi last and how should you store kimchi? Here are all the answers you need.

How do you store kimchi?

It’s so salty. Does it go bad?

How am I meant to tell if my kimchi’s gone bad?

If you have questions about how to tell if kimchi has gone bad, how to store kimchi, and how long kimchi lasts, then you’ve come to the right place.

We’ll even give you a rundown on what kimchi is and how it’s made.

Want the answers now? Kimchi is made from fermenting vegetables in brine. It has live bacteria in it, so you should keep it in the refrigerator, open or unopened. Expect your kimchi to last 3-6 months if stored correctly in an airtight container in the fridge!

What’s Kimchi?

kimchi in bowls and bottle

Kimchi is a tangy Korean food. It’s made by packing seasoned kimchi into a sterile, airtight jar and then topping it with brine. The mixture is then left to ferment for 3-4 days at room temperature or 2-3 weeks in the fridge.

During the fermentation process, lactic acid is created, giving kimchi that tangy flavor. The process needs more time in the refrigerator since low temperatures slow down the activity of the beneficial bacteria.

It’s also super important that the original jar is sterile to prevent harmful pathogens that cause food poisoning from overtaking the vegetables.

How To Tell If Your Kimchi Has Gone Bad

There’ll be a couple of key signs that your kimchi has gone bad:

traditional kimchi
  • Kimchi is naturally pungent, but if it smells more sour than usual or even slightly alcoholic, it’s ready for the bin.
  • Look for mold on the kimchi. Even if you’ve stored your kimchi correctly in the refrigerator, mold can still grow.
  • If you have kimchi that contains seafood like oysters or something called “jeotgal”, which is fermented fish, on the ingredients list, you need to check your kimchi really carefully and go by the best-by date religiously. This is because seafood goes bad faster than kimchi.

How To Store Kimchi

sriracha kimchi

Kimchi is fermented, so it contains loads of live, healthy bacteria. That’s why, in the supermarket, you’ll find kimchi stored in the chilled section below 39°F (4°C).

Once you’re home from the grocery store, you should follow suit and put your kimchi in the refrigerator to slow the aging process.

Once you’ve opened your kimchi, make sure you submerge the vegetable pieces back in the brine before resealing the jar or container tightly. If the container it came in doesn’t create an airtight seal, transfer your kimchi to an airtight container.

Now: remember to always use clean utensils when grabbing a bit of kimchi. If you doubt you’ll remember, then transfer a week’s worth of kimchi into a smaller jar, so you’re not opening and closing your main jar too much. This will prevent bad bacteria and odors from the refrigerator getting in to the jar.

How Long Your Kimchi Will Last

chaesik kimchi

At room temperature, your kimchi will only last a week after opening. This is because the live bacteria in the kimchi are super active unless kept at low temperatures.

With kimchi stored in the refrigerator, it’s a whole different story. Kimchi stored in the refrigerator will last 3-6 months after opening.

In the 3-6 month stage, your kimchi will continue to ferment, be sour in taste due to lactic acid production, and become mushier. It’s still safe to eat at this point, but if you don’t like this mature taste, then discard your kimchi at three months or mix it into dishes to balance the flavor.

The Lowdown On Kimchi

Since kimchi has beneficial live bacteria in it, it only stays good for so long. Expect open kimchi to last 3-6 months in your refrigerator, which is the best place to store this Korean staple.

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Alisa Shimoyama

Alisa eats her way around the world on her travels and likes to have good food ready and waiting for her when she gets back.