How to Preserve Kimchi After Making it

Kimchi is a recipe of Korean origin made from Chinese cabbage or napa cabbage, which is fermented with many spices that give it its characteristic flavor, but have you ever wondered how kimchi is preserved?

The kimchi can be left at room temperature for a week at most. Moreover, it will last about six months if you refrigerate it and freeze it for 9 to 12 months.

Preserve Kimchi

To know the proper way to preserve kimchi continue with reading.

How to store kimchi at room temperature

Kimchi at room temperature does not have a very long lifespan, as fermentation occurs quickly and constantly, not because it gets bad, but because it is too acid to eat. In addition, if you live in a place with a climate that exceeds 25°C (77°F), it will ferment faster. 

I need to mention that my favorite storage is in the fridge, but if you want to store kimchi at room temperature, do the following:

  • Step 1: Sterilize the containers where you will put the kimchi.

Use glass containers to preserve and ferment the kimchi, but only if you have sterilized them. To do this, you only have to boil them for 15 minutes with their respective lids.

  • Step 2: Dry the containers.

Before putting the kimchi in these jars, they have to be well dried, so leave them for a while on a rack to drain and dry.

  • Step 3: Put the kimchi inside the containers.

 Once the containers are dry, you can put the kimchi. Just make sure the cabbage is tightly squeezed and covered with the marinade. Then close it tightly.

You need to open the container every day or two since the CO2 produced by the fermentation could break the container.

  • Step 4: Tag.

Write down the date of storage of the kimchi on the container or put a label with that information.

  • Step 5: Save the kimchi in the pantry.

Kimchi can be at room temperature for a week at most, just do not put it near other foods that absorb odor because even if it is covered, the kimchi gives off a strong smell. 

How to keep kimchi in the fridge

If you want to keep the kimchi you prepared for a good season, refrigerating it is your best option. Just follow these tips:

  • Step 1: Sterilize the glass jars where you will put the kimchi.

As you will keep the kimchi for a long season, you should put it inside some airtight glass jars since this material does not release particles over time.  

You have to sterilize it before putting on the kimchi. Boil the jars with their respective lids for 15 minutes.

  • Step 2: Dry the containers.

Remove the glass jars from the water using tweezers and place them on a rack so that they drain and dry for a couple of hours.

  • Step 3: Put the kimchi inside the containers.

When the glass jars are dry, introduce the kimchi so that it is tight and that the marinade completely covers the napa cabbage. Before covering it, place the plastic film on top and put the lid on so it does not emit so much odor.

  • Step 4: Put the jar with kimchi inside an airtight bag.

This is optional. As I have already mentioned, kimchi emits a strong smell so that other foods in the fridge are impregnated with it, put the jar with the kimchi well covered inside an airtight bag, and seal well.

A couple of tips that can help you with the smell is to put a handful of baking soda or ground coffee inside the bag so that it absorbs the smell of kimchi and does not reach other foods.

  • Step 5: Tag.

Label the jar with the date of storage of the kimchi.

  • Step 6: Store the kimchi in the fridge.

Put the jar in the coldest part of your refrigerator, away from foods that quickly absorb the smell of others. So the kimchi can be kept in good condition for about six months in the fridge. [1]

Also, I advise you that even if you are not going to grab kimchi, open and occasionally the jars to let out the gases produced by the ferment. 

How to freeze kimchi

Can kimchi be frozen? Yes, although it is not an option that I recommend you apply since it will harm its flavor and texture.

But if you have no choice, either because you ran out of space in the fridge, you can freeze kimchi as follows:

  • Step 1: Divide the kimchi.

As kimchi can not be re-frozen, it should be divided into small portions to thaw only those you need.

  • Step 2: Put the kimchi in airtight bags.

An excellent way to freeze kimchi is to put them in a bag to freeze that they are airtight, be sure to take out all the air before sealing it. You could also use airtight plastic containers that are suitable for being in the freezer.

  • Step 3: Pocket the portions.

It is advisable to put all the portions of kimchi, which you divided into bags, in another giant bag suitable for freezing to prevent you from suffering frost burns.

  • Step 4: Tag.

Write the date of storage of the kimchi on the bag.

  • Step 5: Save the kimchi in the freezer.

This way, you can freeze the kimchi for 9 to 12 months. Then, when you want to thaw it, pass the portions you need a day before to the fridge.

How do you know if kimchi is bad?

Although by smell, it is difficult to determine if kimchi is bad. If it does not smell as it should or already smells rotten, throw it away.

Nor should you eat it if it tastes bad because it means that its shelf life has already ended.

If you see that kimchi has black, green, white, and even blue spots, it is because it developed and is no longer safe to eat because you could get intoxicated.

Why is kimchi spoiled?

When we talk about “prebiotic food”, aging isn’t the real problem. Instead, the acidic environment acts as a natural antimicrobial agent, so the decomposition bacteria never get a role. The longer it ferments, the more acidic it becomes and safer against external pathogenic bacteria.

The kimchi is a product from anaerobic fermentation, which means the container where it ferments is usually close and does not run the risk of fruitflies or bugs as kombucha. Still, you can contaminate it when preparing it.

Also, if the fermentation process is not optimal, it can also get bad since the acidic environment won’t form.

Therefore, if the kimchi is spoiled, it is because you didn’t handle it well.

How long does kimchi last?

Kimchi at room temperature1 week
Refrigerated Kimchi6 months
Frozen Kimchi9 to 12 months

What is the best way to preserve kimchi?

With total security, I can tell you that the best way to preserve kimchi is to keep it in the fridge since it keeps it for a long time without negatively affecting its flavor and texture.

If you leave the kimchi at room temperature, fermentation will make it taste too acid.

To know how to preserve some other food, you must keep surfing because this website has a complete list of food and product storage topics.


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