For how long and at what temperature should my kimchi be fermented?
For the best kimchi, think low and slow. Low - at a temperature around 39 F, and slow - 2 to 4 weeks for the kimchi to fully ripen. Leave the kimchi out for 1 to 3 days based on the temperatures below to speed up the fermentation process.
If you live in a colder climate (at or below 68 F), leave the kimchi out for 2 to 3 days. For hotter areas (above 68 F), we recommend leaving it out for 1 day. Before storing your kimchi in the fridge, burp the jar and press down on the kimchi with a spoon so that it is properly sealed with a layer of kimchi juice.
If your kimchi smells strongly of yeast or alcohol, this means that the kimchi was fermented in an area that was too warm. Temperature plays a huge part in making sure you get the delicious, buttery kimchi you deserve!
What should I use to store my kimchi?
You can use a mason jar, freezer bag, or any type of airtight container to store your kimchi. It is extremely important to make sure that you only fill ¾ of your jar or container with kimchi when fermenting it. The extra space will ensure that your kimchi does not explode, and leave room for the delicious kimchi juice to properly seal it for longer shelf life. This will help it ferment properly, preventing oxygen from creating mold and other unwanted bacteria.
Is my kimchi fermenting?
When the kimchi is fermented you will see a foam-like texture at the top of the jar with air bubbles. It will smell pungent and taste slightly sour as the ingredients create a uniform and full-bodied flavor. However, if the kimchi is not fermented you will be able to smell and taste the individual ingredients of garlic, ginger, fish sauce, etc.
What do I do if my kimchi is too salty? Or not salty enough?
If your kimchi is too salty, add more vegetables to the mix! Mix well and leave the kimchi out to sit on the counter for 1 to 2 days depending on the temperature (1 day for hotter areas above 68 F and 2 days for colder areas at or below 68 F). If it’s still not perfect, that’s okay! As the kimchi ferments, it will become less salty and more balanced over time.
If your kimchi is not salty enough, add coarse kosher salt in small quantities salt to taste. If you’re planning to eat your kimchi fermented, make sure it is a bit saltier than usual. As your kimchi ferments, it will become less salty over time, creating the perfect balance of flavors as it ripens and sours.
What types of produce can I “kimchi”?
Get creative! You can experiment with all sorts of produce to make fresh kimchi at home. Simply copy any fresh kimchi (Geotjeori) recipe to customize your own. For longer shelf life, make sure to add sesame oil before serving.
As for fermented kimchi, we recommend using hard, cruciferous, or root vegetables like:
Cabbage, Kale, Carrot, Radish, Beets, Cucumbers, Carrot, Turnip, Celery, Mustard Greens, Broccoli, Cauliflower
Does kimchi expire?
If properly salted and stored with a top layer of liquid that seals it from oxygen, your kimchi can last up to six months in the refrigerator. It will turn wildly sour at the end of its shelf life - making it perfect for the recipes listed here.
What do I do if my kimchi is too sour?
There are recipes that specifically require wildly sour and fermented kimchi! This kind of kimchi is perfect for kimchi fried rice, kimchi stew, savory Korean pancakes, and more. Really sour kimchi will help deepen the flavors of these dishes because using fresh or even only slightly fermented kimchi will result in a bland or boring taste.