Frequently Asked Questions
It's really up to you. The question is, how do you like your kimchi? If you like it fresh, try our Ready-to-mix kimchi or purchase kimchi products that have a long expiration date. For the most part, determining the ripeness of kimchi is simple. After bringing the jar home, open it and take a whiff. Does it smell sour? Do the contents of the jar bubble when you jostle it? If so, then you already have some fermentation going on and only need to let the jar sit out in room temperature for a few hours. If it just smells like seasoned cabbage and doesn't bubble at all, you only need to let it sit out for a day or two to get a more satisfying sour flavor.
Kimchi, like anything else, will ferment faster in a warm environment. The key factor here is your personal taste. If you like your kimchi super sour, then let it ferment longer. If you like it more mild, limit the fermentation time to just a few hours. Once you are happy with the flavor, close the lid and put it in the fridge.
The ideal temperature for refrigerating kimchi is between 33 to 39 degrees Fahrenheit.
All of our products come with expiration dates marked on the jars. But the actual shelf life of kimchi depends on a variety of factors: Did you keep it refrigerated at the ideal temperature? Did you use your fingers or hands to scoop out kimchi or did you use clean utensils? Did you make sure that the lid was completely sealed after each use? All of this plays a factor in how long the kimchi will stay edible.
So does kimchi ever go bad? Technically, no, because some people really enjoy the over-fermented sour kimchi taste. Just remember, the longer it ferments, the more acidic it becomes - and subsequently the more sour it tastes. Even when you see a white fungus layer (technically called film yeast) on top, the kimchi is still ok to eat. It's a common effect seen with fermented foods. You can eat the rest of the kimchi after removing that white layer.
Traditionally, kimchi is eaten as a side dish with rice at every meal. But kimchi is more than just a side dish. You can incorporate it in all kinds of cooking. For extremely ripe kimchi, you can make stew (kimchi jjigae), fried rice, tacos and sandwiches (using kimchi in lieu of pickles), kimchi pancakes and so on. Be creative. Kimchi has such a unique flavor that it can complement a lot of dishes.