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Making kimchi at home: Bubbling question

I made kimchi for the first time. 4 days in a bar jar with screw top lid. Opened a jar this morning and got bubbly juice everywhere. It's just like when you open a seltzer bottle without letting it settle first.

The kimchi smells ok but did not taste it yet.

Any advice, warnings, danger, help?

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  1. It's common for Kimchi to expand during the fermentation, that's why you should always allow some space between the kimchi and the container top.
    It also helps when using an airtight container to release pressure now and then. Sealed glass jars have been known to explode on occasion.

    Traditionally kimchi is made in earthen crocks with a heavy, but not airtight, lid.

    1. That just indicates that all those complex sugars are fermenting, which is where the savor of the kimchi develops.

      1. Yes that's the fermentation happening. It's fine and it should be pretty sour after four days...I normally don't leave it out at room temp more than two days.

        1. another way to do it is in a crock or large glass jar with a plate sitting directly on top of the vegetable matter, and a (nonreactive) weight on top of that, pushing the cabbage etc. down and keeping it thoroughly submerged. it is okay if the liquid comes up over the plate. no exploding jars/lids that way. or, if you like the way you are doing it now, leave the jar lid loose and put the jar on a rimmed tray or in a bowl to catch any overflow.

          your kimchi is fine.

          2 Replies
          1. re: soupkitten

            Exploding kimchi jars are ugly.

            Had some explode in checked baggage coming back from Korea once.

            1. re: hannaone

              oooh. i would imagine new suitcases were in order. not to mention the unmentionables replacement costs. i haven't experienced a kimchi bomb *knocking on wood, now,* but i did once open a true double-door fridge to find that a one-gallon glass jar of sauerkraut (aka the german kimchi) had exploded..... it had been sitting on the top rack, of course, all the better to cascade fermenting cabbage and leeetle teeny glass shards..... all. over. everything. then, at home, there was the "home-brew closet incident," ...remind me why we even mess with fermentation? oh yeah--delicious :)

              btw i am happy to see you back with us, yay!

          2. It's the fermentation process. Next time don't fill the jar completely, leave some room for the liquid to accumulate. Also, don't screw the lid tightly. Leave it loose. If you want the kimchee to last longer without becoming too fermented, you can leave the jar in the fridge to slow the process and extend the period before the kimchee becomes too sour. Makes good kimchee gigae when it gets overripe.

            1. I'm new to making kimchi and get confused by all the recipes on line. there must be as many ways to make it as there are Koreans:) the basic cabbage(chow) works well for me but do you "top off" the jar with some of the brine or leave it kind of dry?

              4 Replies
              1. re: southernchow

                You should drain the brine from the cabbage after soaking.
                The seasoning mix should have enough moisture in it, and the cabbage itself will release some liquid.
                No need to "top off".

                1. re: hannaone

                  many thanks...mixing up some this morning..am trying some apple in it for the first time. read that this improves flavor and speeds fermentation.

                  1. re: southernchow

                    I did this one a couple months ago...it was really good. Though I thought much better after a couple of days

                    quick Bok - Choi Kim-chee with banana

                    http://www.beyondkimchee.com/bokchoy-...

                    1. re: sparky403

                      thanks sparky...I'm going to make that but I think that banana idea can go into my normal kimchi. I just made a batch of the basic cabbage kimchi and added apple..really shortened the cycle for fermentation..two days and just a little fermentation ..I like it like that...the banana should do the same thing.

              2. I have tried a batch with apple and pear after reading about it. seems to ferment much quicker..will this keep ok or be a short term thing?