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Can I freeze kimchee?

  • j
  • jan Jan 20, 2007 10:19 PM
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Just bought some fresh made kimchee at a korean store, but bought a ton! Can it be frozen??

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  1. I imagine freezing would adversely effect the texture of the vegetables (especially if you have a cabbage kimchee). This stuff keeps for months in the fridge, though. I have a Korean friend who makes two huge batches a year (she always gives me a lot). This pretty much keeps me in kimchee year-round.

    1. I would definitely not freeze it. (cabbage will get soft and limp and flavors will somehow... "separate"-- not sure how to describe it, but probably due to too much water getting released as the cabbage freezes)

      Just keep it tightly covered in the fridge. It will gradually get more and more sour. Once it's more sour than you like for snacking, start using it in soups (kimchi jjigae), in stir-fried rice (kimchi bokkeumbab) and even on pizza! (no tomato sauce)

      Also, it might sour less quickly if you open it less often-- so when you take some out from the big container, take out enough for a couple days, and put into smaller temporary container.

      2 Replies
      1. re: another_adam

        Thanks to you both. And thanks alot for some great ideas for different uses!

        1. re: jan

          sure thing! if you google around, you can find lots of recipes that are cooked using kimchi. (even when it's too sour for your taste to eat fresh, it works well for cooking). bacon and kimchi, or tuna and kimchi, kimchi with tofu, the list is endless... :)

      2. thank you google and chowhound, and thank you jan for asking this question! my mom just dropped off a ton of kimchi. looks like i'm going to have to share with the neighbors since she does this every two weeks or so! :D

        2 Replies
        1. re: djc200

          Kim Chee is a Korean form of krauting and the whole point of krauting is to preserve vegetables by fermentation. It should just get better with age so long as it's kept cool and all of the vegetables are covered by liquid. The most it should need is an occasional skimming to remove wild yeast from the top layer of liquid.

          1. re: hoodat

            this thread just keeps getting better and better. :)

        2. My mom taught me to freeze really old kimchi, the kind that's destined for soup. You can get really old kimchi at Korean markets in California, they're in nondescript plastic bags in the same section as the pretty jarred fresh kimchis. I don't notice a difference in texture when I eat it, but it looks quite limp although I always attributed that to just being... really old. But I love super funky, sour kimchi for soups and I hate the fresh super crunchy stuff, so I'm a fan of freezing.

          3 Replies
          1. re: esquimeaux

            wow. even more wisdom. thank you INTERNET. lol.

            my good friend came over the other day, saw all the blueberries and pomegranetes, orange-flavored fish oil squeeze packs (check amazon - amazing), mealchi (dried, seasoned anchovies) and kimchi... she called our apt an "antioxidant powerhouse". :)

            I personally detest the sour kimchi (and my polish wife would kill me if i started cooking kimchi jigae in our studio apt), though I know that it's got way more good bacteria in there for your GI than fresh kimchi, which is my personal preference.

            A personal note on mealchi (anchovies) - I recently learned that we all should be focusing on eating fish with a shorter life span so as to avoid eating contaminated fish (the longer they live, the higher the likelihood that they've acquired toxins in their lives in the waters).

            1. re: djc200

              hah i've always got the anchovies in my freezer also. use it all the time for quick stocks.

              1. re: djc200

                Hey djc, welcome to Chowhound!

                It's a shame that you can't cook old kimchi in your house because cooked kimchi is very interesting. I've been experimenting with chopping old kimchi fine and caramelizing the way you would with onions and it completely changes the flavor. Made a caramelized kimchi chili for a super bowl party (Kimchili - I'm trademarking it!) and it was a huge hit.

                As someone else mentioned, you will ruin the texture of your kimchi by freezing it, but that's fine if you're going to cook with it. Not if you eat it raw though.

                If you search the forums there are some great threads with ideas on what to do with kimchi too...there's some crazy ideas out there (I think someone makes kimchi pb&js or something).

            2. Fuzzy memory, but I recall some Koreans storing their batches in large (ceramic) containers, which were sometimes dug into the ground, throughout winter.

              1. We always have a ton on hand and it pretty much never goes bad. Just gets stinkier, which means better tasting.

                1. Freezing cabbage will wilt it significantly. I remember Julia Childs method for stuffed cabbage started out freezing the cabbage after removing the core, rather than pre-cooking it. It just peels away in whole limp leaves easy for rolling over stuffing.