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how long does kimchee keep?

I heard that it gets sour after a while. How long can I keep it before I have to chuck it?

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  1. It'll be good for at least a few months. It does get more sour as time goes by, but I actually prefer it more fermented. Also, sour kimchi is the basis for some delicious Korean stews.

    1. Two-hundred and forty-six years, 243 days, 13 hours, 6 minutes, and 28 seconds, give or take depending on container and temperature.

      1. kim chee is one store bought product that REALLY NEEDS a "best if consumed by" date on the label. it cant actually go bad but it can easily become sour and soggy (i prefer crisp and not soggy). so there is always a kim chee guessing game going on as to whether the contents will be enjoyable ( depending on your tastes). even in korean markets

        1 Reply
        1. re: MarkG

          I can usually tell how "fresh" a jar of kimchee is by looking at the cabbage itself. I like mine more fermented, so I look for it to be less white and opague and more translucent. I'll dig around the refrigerated case until I find the jar that has aged enough for me. :) Since you like it not very aged, I would look for those w/very white, firm cabbage and very green leaves.

        2. what would be more useful than a "best if consumed by date "is a "made on" or "packaged on" date because as you say, "best consumption" rate is so subjective. I agree, I hate sour kimchee, having had it inflicted upon me in all of its pungent stages since birth and I always hesitate to buy it for that reason. I scutinize the color and viscosity of the juice, the plumpness of the green onions... and all in vain.

          1. See, if the kimchee is too 'old' for your personal plain consumption taste, you can use the soured kimchee for kimchee jigae. The sourer, the better for jigae. I actually prefer kimchee cooked to eaten fresh.

            1. eh.. a lot of kimchee you buy at the markets these days have the "made on" dates.. just check the back or look carefully on the label. both packs i have at home (one made in the US and one imported from Korea) have "made on" dates.

              as for how long you can keep kimchee .. it's like .. almost forever.. unless it's contaminated with something yucky..

              there're restaurants in korea whose main attraction to fame is that they serve 3-year old kimchee.

              if you like the "fresh" taste (as my mother does also), you should buy "gut-jul-ee", which are exactly that kind of kimchee. remember, there isnt just one kind of kimchee.. there're literally 100s dif kinds..

              eating the "soured" kimchee may be acquired taste but for a lot of people it's the preferred taste, which may be why packaged kimchee doesnt have "eat by" dates but rather "made on" dates.

              i've kept kimchee in my refrigerator for over 6 months and it tasted fine to me.. =)

              1 Reply
              1. re: koreankorean


                There's a branch called LA Omogari in...LA, if you can imagine. They guarantee the kimchee in the jjigae to have been fermented at least a year. Seriously, mozzarella gaeran-mari + olllllllllld kimchee = awesomeness.

              2. It should also be said that if you want to keep your kimchi viable for a long time, you should use a clean implement when taking kimchi from the jar. No eating directly out of the container with your hands or a spoon you just ate ice cream with.

                1 Reply
                1. Speaking as a *big* kimchee fan, and someone who's spent a lot of time experimenting trying to make it: it definitely does go sour, and I have a hunch that the reason is that after you start a container, there's a lot of oxygen in the container--and if you think about how you make it (if you make it *properly*), it's *anerobic* fermentation, i.e. in the absence of air.

                  I have a strong hunch that you can prevent it from going sour by packing the unused portion of the container in another container (jar etc) that has as little oxygen present as possible, i.e., up to the top.

                  I'm doing some research on this subject right now! I transferred the contents of a 1-qt jar to a 2-cup jar, and 2 1-cup jars. I'm going to wait another week before I check the results. I will try to remember to come back here to report my results; if I don't, you should try this too to see if it works.

                  What do you think--does this make sense?

                  Another thought: so far, an overwhelming percentage of the recipes I've seen for kimchee omit some crucial aspect, such as the fact that you have to prevent oxygen from getting to the fermenting product, or the need to use Korean pepper (or sometimes, the benefits of adding some fish product such as fish sauce, anchovy paste, etc.).

                  1. Ugh. I bought a pail of kimchi a week ago and it already tastes totally different. I don't like it. It's not sour exactly, but it's pretty... stale, almost dirty tasting. Anyone got any idea what's going on here?

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