It is no surprise that kimchi, a traditional Korean condiment, is gaining global recognition. People all over the world enjoy kimchi, whether homemade or store-bought.
This Korean dish is simple to make yet delicious. It consists of shredded cabbages pickled in plenty of seasonings and spices.
People consume kimchi as a side dish, but some prefer adding it to other dishes. You can add kimchi to burgers, slaws, soups, quesadillas, and even fried rice.
The temptation to prepare a large bowl of kimchi is always high, given how it improves several dishes. Kimchi is also delicious when consumed alone. But when you prepare large bowl of kimchi, how do you plan on storing them?
Here is the question that may cross many people’s minds at this stage. Can you freeze kimchi? If so, how’s it done, how long will it remain fresh, and can you refreeze it? We’ll address these questions and many more here.
Keep reading to learn more!
Does Kimchi Freeze Well?
Yes, kimchi does freeze well. The fact that kimchi is pickled with salt helps to extend its shelf-life. So the dish can stay fresh for a while.
However, if you prepare more kimchi than you can finish in one day, the best step is to freeze the leftover. Freezing kimchi can help you preserve it for several months.
Please, note that storing kimchi in the freezer past three months is not advisable. The vegetables and other ingredients would experience a change in texture by then.
It is also essential to learn how to preserve kimchi in the freezer and do it right. Otherwise, it might not last longer than anticipated.
Now, let’s discuss the simple ways to freeze your kimchi perfectly.
How To Freeze Kimchi?
We’ll discuss how to freeze kimchi depending on the source. There is the homemade kimchi and the store-bought ones prepared commercially.
Method 1: How to freeze your store-bought kimchi:
If you don’t have time to make kimchi yourself at home, there’s nothing wrong with purchasing the dish from the store. But here’s something to understand about preserving this dish in the freezer.
Usually, store-bought kimchi comes in a glass jar. But please, resist the urge to freeze the kimchi in the glass jar. Why? The glass could shatter under the cold condition in the freezer.
So, never put a kimchi glass jar in the freezer, whether you have opened it or it remains sealed.
Instead, here’s what you need to do and how you can store your store-bought kimchi with ease.
Step 1: Pour the kimchi in the glass jar into a heavy-duty freezer-safe bag or airtight container.
Only store the amount of dish you can eat at a go once thawed. Don’t think about refreezing the leftover dish.
Again, ensure the dish isn’t too small for the container. Otherwise, it could create room for air to get into the container.
When using a freezer-safe bag, try squeezing the bottom of the bag to remove air. And finally, whether you’re using a container or freezer bag, endeavor to leave some space at the top.
The kimchi would expand when it freezes, and it won’t be good for it to spill over the packaging used.
Step 2: Divide kimchi into smaller portions. Please, take note. Don’t store a large amount of kimchi in a container or bag. Divide it into smaller portions, as doing so will ensure you don’t thaw and then try to refreeze leftovers.
Step 3: Now that you have filled the containers or freezer bags with kimchi, you can now label, date, and transfer them to the freezer right away.
A Handy Tip: The formation of water crystals is possible in poorly packaged or exposed kimchi. So package the dish well before moving them to the freezer.
Method 2: How to freeze your homemade kimchi:
The first step is to give the homemade kimchi some time to cool down. Don’t throw a meal that’s still warm into the freezer.
Now, let’s assume your dish has cooled down to the point you can store it in the freezer.
Step 1: Transfer the kimchi from the pot to the airtight container or freezer bag. And make sure you divide the dish into smaller portions to avoid a scenario where you have to consider refreezing the leftover.
Step 2: If you’re utilizing freezer bags, try squeezing the bottom of the bag to push the air away. You can also use a vacuum sealing machine to get the job done satisfactorily.
Step 3: Now that you have sealed the container or freezer bag, it’s time to label and date the container before you place it in the freezer.
How Long Does Kimchi Last in The Freezer?
Kimchi can sit in the freezer for three months. And it would still taste as good as the freshly prepared dish when thawed and reheated.
Now, let’s get something straight. You can preserve kimchi in the freezer for more than three months. But it’s not worth your time and energy.
Bear in mind that the longer kimchi remains in the freezer, the more the flavor and texture diminish.
How To Defrost Kimchi?
The focus when it comes to thawing kimchi or any dish is to ensure the flavor and texture of the food remain the same. If the texture changes, then you have lost the essence of preserving and thawing the dish in the first place.
So, defrost your kimchi properly, and avoid doing so in a hurry. Note that using the wrong method to defrost kimchi can lead to a change in texture.
Additionally, when you defrost kimchi under room temperature, you’ll be left with a mushy dish.
So, thaw your dish appropriately. Remove the amount of kimchi you want to thaw from the freezer and transfer it to the fridge.
Let the frozen dishes remain in the fridge overnight, but remember to put them in a bowl so that sweat released from the container or freezer bag won’t mess up the fridge.
Your kimchi would thaw in a few hours, though portion size plays a huge role.
Additionally, if you plan to incorporate the kimchi into hot sauce, stew, or other hot dishes, you can add the frozen kimchi straightaway.
Can You Refreeze Kimchi?
You can, but we don’t recommend it. It is a complete waste of your energy and time.
Note that when foods freeze, their cells tend to expand and burst. It happens to all foods, including kimchi.
In the case of kimchi, the shredded vegetables added to the dish would become mushy when you refreeze. But that’s not all. The dish would lose its flavor partially, and you won’t even enjoy eating it.
So, resist the urge to refreeze your kimchi. Your taste bud doesn’t deserve such treatment.
How can you prevent scenarios where you have to refreeze your dish? When transferring the dish into airtight containers or freezer bags, divide them into smaller portions.
This way, you would only thaw the portion of kimchi you can consume without having leftovers.
What To Do With Defrosted Kimchi?
Let’s assume you followed the kimchi freezing and thawing instructions provided here, but the dish didn’t appeal to your taste bud. Should you continue freezing kimchi? Well, yes. It’s the best way you can preserve the dish.
Freezing kimchi allows you to have the dish on hand whenever you need it. So, what can you do with the kimchi dish you just thawed?
You use kimchi as a side dish or incorporate it into other dishes.
Here are dishes you can add kimchi to after defrosting it:
- Rice bowl
- Fried rice
- Ham and egg cups
Signs Your Frozen Kimchi Is Bad
Kimchi can last in the freezer for three months. But that doesn’t mean it can’t go bad before then. If not stored properly, one or more freezer bags or containers with kimchi might go bad.
The major thing is for you to know how to identify bad kimchi to avoid consuming them. So how can you tell if kimchi is bad and uneatable?
Watch out for the following signs.
#1: Mold – Have you noticed any dot on the container, freezer bag, or food? If yes, that’s mold, so you have to discard the dish.
#2: Off-putting sour smell – Normally, kimchi smells sour. But you have to watch out for signs like an extremely sour smell.
If the dish starts smelling like it has turned to alcohol, discard it at once.
Conclusion: Can you freeze kimchi?
Yes, you can, and your frozen kimchi will remain preserved for three months in the freezer. However, it’s essential to understand how to freeze the dish appropriately.
When freezing store-bought kimchi, remember to avoid storing the glass jar in the freezer. Why? The low temperature can shatter the glass jar, damaging the freezer, including the kimchi.
Remember to resist the urge to refreeze kimchi, as the texture and flavor change when refrozen. Instead, thaw only a small portion you can finish at once.