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How long will sealed, jarred kimchi last?

I found a jar (still sealed) of kimchi in the back of my fridge, I don't remember buying it (likely why I forgot it way back there) but it is likely from the end of the summer. I know that in general the shelf life of kimchi isn't the greatest, but in these conditions should it still be good? And if so, how long can I expect it to last?

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  1. What do you mean "the shelf life of kimchi isn't the greatest"? Kimchi has quite a long shelf life! If it's sealed it's probably good for a year or longer.

    I've never bought kimchi that was sealed in a jar, but have kept the fresh stuff for several months at a time.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Humbucker

      My understanding is that it typically only lasts a couple of weeks to a month. For instance, doing a google search on kimchi shelf life turned up a few things in the first couple of hits.

      I wouldn't mind at all being wrong on that, as it'd be a shame to waste it, and figured it should be fine.

    2. I enjoy my homemade kimchi for months at a time. I make a gallon batch a few times a year. My local korean resto serves very fresh kimchi, which I like, but I do prefer the stuff that's fermented longer. Has your jarred kimchi been pasteurized?

      1. Every year at about this time (late fall) most Korean compaines give their employees a fairly generous bonus so that they can go buy ingredients for "kim-jjang". This is the end-of-harvest kim chee making where each family makes huge amounts of kimchi to last through the winter. In the country the jars (a jar in this case is typically about 25 gallons) are buried in a shady place. In the city they are placed in a corner of the balcony or other cool place. The kimchi will last through to the spring. The salt and spices along with the cold keep the kimchi from spoiling. During the warm months fresh kimchi is made daily.

        So in response to your question, yes your kimchi should still be good.

        1. When I buy kim chee I open the bottle to break the seal then put the lid back on and push it to the back of the fridge. It sits there for at least a month, maybe two, then I eat it. It seems to develop more complex flavors. Also, my favorite way to eat kim chee is in soup. The stronger it tastes the better the soup is.

          1 Reply
          1. re: srr

            I totally agree. I think new kimchi is best eaten fresh, just as it is, but older kimchi is best for jjigae (soup) and kimchi pancakes (flour + water + kimchi). And with super old kimchi, my mom usually rinses it off with water, and makes a soup out of that. By that point, the flavors are already in the cabbage leaves, so rinsing it off won't take away the flavor.

          2. How long will it last? How long do you have??

            1. It should last longer than your taste buds should allow.


              1. it lasts as long as you want it to last. If you like sour kimchi, then it'll last forever. My mother still keeps kimchi that is over a year old, but she does have a kimchi fridge. She also told me that a good way to keep kimchi kinda fresh is to put it in the freezer and take out a little bit at a time when you want to eat it. This would work well with baechu kimchi, but I'm not sure about it working for moo kimchi

                1. i was always under the impression that kim chi would last until armageddon....or was it *through* armageddon?

                  1. I don't know about store bought kimchi.
                    Watching a Korean TV show about restaurants and "secret" ingredients not too long ago, a restaurant that had their huge 50 gallon crocks sealed and stored in a cave behind the rest was unsealing and serving 10 year old kimchi.
                    Their customers swore that the jjigae and buchim served there was the best in Korea.

                    1. I must admit, I am a terrible Korean. The posts saying that your kimchi should still be good are correct, but it is a matter of taste. I (gasp) don't like cooked kimchi, and older kimchis are best cooked into soups, pancakes, pizza and spaghetti sauce (yup, my mother swears by her Korean style spaghetti sauce, and there are many people who agree. I however, cannot eat the stuff).

                      If you like sour kimchi, you are in luck. I prefer kimchi that has been fermented for a certain period of time, not too fresh, but also not too sour. My ideal time to eat kiimchi is stuff that has been fermented for about 1 week outside the fridge, or 2-6 weeks inside the fridge. If that is true for you, well, then I hope you like cooked kimchi. But your jar will not kill you.

                      1. um...last time i checked kimchi is a fermented/pickled item. still hermetically sealed in the jar that will last longer than your car (ha. maybe not that long). fermentation/pickling was one of the earliest ways of preserving foods. the vinegar does not allow for bacteria growth.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: SiksElement

                          True and traditional kimchi does not have vinegar.

                        2. Kimchi will last 2 to 3 months (for eating as is) under ideal condition (i.e., kimchi refridge). However, the length of how long it will last depends on type of kimchi and and the conditions in which it is store. As an example, kimchi made from cucumber last no where as long. I think eggplant kimchi may have the shortest shelf life. As opposed to kimchi made from large chucks of radish (large ones called mu) can last 2 to 3 months.

                          However, once it goes sour doesn't mean it is spoiled. Those are best used for jiegae or bokum. It makes for a better dish then fresh kimchi. I know sour kimchi can be eaten as is and some people like it but I am not partial to them.

                          There are account of kimchi lasting months or years but they will not be generally served fresh (i.e., as is). They are too pungent and sor are added to various dishes.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Soup

                            It also depends on the recipe. For example, When you just started making it and you keep the cabbage in the salt water for a couple of weeks and then make kimchi out of it, it'll taste pretty nasty. In my opinion anyway. Also depends on the quality of your products,etc,etc. This is a really general question in my opinion because the consumer's personal preference has to be taken into account. Personally, I can't stand kimchi that's been sitting for more than a week(I got sick off two week kimchi D:). The salty taste disappears and the whole thing doesn't become pleasant to me. I like it fresh, when it's only a couple of days old :D

                          2. Kimchi has a half-life similar to that of Uranium-238 - measured in mega-years!!!! It's a preserved food and should last literally years.

                            1. Shelf life of kimchi.... ?

                              It differs to what kind of kimchi you want.
                              If you want crisp & fresh .... a week or two might be the deadline.
                              If you want it old & extra sour .... you can keep them until recognizable.
                              (well... edible but might not suit your taste)

                              For example.... in Korea... Kimchi Jiggae is a ordinary dish, but when it comes to Kimchi Jiggae made of 3 year old kimchi , it becomes a specialty Jiggae that has less odor than ordinary kimchi jiggae, has an extra depth & dimension of taste, with very unique soft but still crunchy feeling of kimchi.
                              It'll totally make you crave for more...

                              Anyways... Kimchi shall be good untill you like the taste of it . period.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: chirp

                                Ok so i bought a jar of kimchi from the store and i hate it AAHH!!! getting tired of trying to find a good one.Is there a way to fix this one it tastes too sour for me?! I suspect the one at my local korean eatery is fresh as their jars to buy taste similar to this:( Is it possible to rinse it and add kimchi paste?Also noticed reading labels some have fish and or anchovy whats the diffrenence?

                                1. re: Amber11

                                  sounds like it needs to age....

                                  1. re: alkapal

                                    If it's too sour, it's probably the opposite as joonjoon pointed out below. My favorite way to get rid of it is kimchi fried rice. One of very few savory dishes I can make (which means ridiculously easy.)

                                  2. re: Amber11

                                    Amber, kimchi turns sour as it ages. If your store bought kimchi was sour right off the bat it means it either sat for a while at the store or was aged to be sour. There is no way to 'undo' this.

                                    Unless I'm in a pickle (hee) and have no other choices, I only buy kimchi at the market when I can see it being made in front of me and can ask for a sample. I know this probably isn't an option for most folks though...

                                    If you find the kimchi too sour, the best thing to do is to cook with it. Try doing a stir fry or a braise with the sour kimchi and some pork., and maybe a little honey, wine, and sesame oil. It's tasty!

                                    As far as fish/anchovy, kimchi is traditionally made with some combination of fermented (or some times fresh) fish/anchovy/shrimp/seafood product. Each recipe is different...

                                    1. re: Amber11

                                      Buy an actual head of cabbage that has been spiced from asian market. Don't buy that jarred stuff. It's not fresh. The longer kimchi ferments, the more sour it will taste.

                                  3. Alrighty Then...I just found some unopened (sealed) Young' s Brand Authentic Korean Kim Chee waaaaay in the back of the fridge. If my recollection is correct, this jar is at-least two years old.
                                    There is no, "use by date" either. I have gone online and found no brand by that name. It is distributed by "SEAsia Distributors in Seattle. They seem to be out of business as well. So I may have a valuable item here. Maybe I should put it up on E-Bay for the highest bidder. Or crack the seal and risk my life. If you don't hear back from me well, you will know how long you (can't) wait for a safe bite of matured Kim Chee. Ha! Ha! Ha!

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: caseypons

                                      "Dag Namit" I knew I should have put it on E-Bay. I could have gotten a million bucks. I just got through opening my forgotten bottle of (Two Plus) year old Kim Chee. I have been a fan of, and eating Kim Chee for over 25 years. That said, this reluctant substitute for an appetizer was the best Kim Chee I have ever tasted. Seriously, it was like a fine old bottle of Cabernet. It had a nice mellowed flavor to it, unlike the almost carbonated effervescence of a (younger) bottle so often tastes. So there you have it, Kim Chee does have legs, I am living proof. For now that is, tomorrow maybe not. ;~}}}

                                      Note: I want to prefice this by stating, this bottle was (sealed and refrigerated) and had never been opened for any possibility of external contamination from an unknown source.

                                      1. re: caseypons

                                        Lol "Kim Chee"

                                        It's a food, not a stereotypical asian name

                                        1. re: KoreanGal

                                          Isn't "Kim Chee" a new superhero that saves everything?