Gochujang is a fermented chilli paste from South Korea used in various culinary applications. Gochujang is sure to crop up everywhere, from soup and noodles to different baked goods. To be sure that gochujang stays useable for as long as possible, you may feel the need to freeze it.
Can You Freeze Gochujang?
Yes, you can freeze gochujang for up to 12 months. The best way to do this is to portion and freeze gochujang into an ice cube tray lined with plastic wrap. You can then pop the frozen cubes out and into a freezer bag.
Does Gochujang Freeze Well? Sometimes
Can You Refreeze Gochujang? No
How to Freeze Gochujang
When using gochujang, a little goes a long way. Even if you manage to buy a small tub, if you only use it occasionally, it’ll go off before you know it. So, here’s the full method for freezing gochujang successfully:
- Get Prepared: The first step to freezing gochujang is to gather the odds and ends that you’ll need to ensure that you freeze the paste properly, preventing spoilage. The main things you’ll need are the gochujang itself, along with a spoon, an ice cube tray, and some plastic wrap.
- Line an Ice Cube Tray: Use the plastic wrap to line the ice cube tray, being sure to press the wrap deep into the individual pockets of the tray. This will ensure that you can freeze as much as possible all at once while also preventing the smell of gochujang from staining your ice cube tray.
- Portion Gochujang Into the Tray: Once the tray is lined, fill each ice cube hole up with gochujang, pressing it into the tray with a little force to ensure any bubbles are removed.
- Tap the Tray: Give the tray a couple of gentle taps on the counter a few times to ensure that bubbles are removed.
- Freeze: Transfer the ice cube tray to the freezer before allowing those cubes to freeze solid, ideally over the course of around two hours.
- Bag Up: Then, transfer those gochujang cubes to a freezer bag, ensuring that they’re pressed together as much as possible and that there’s as little excess air in the bag as possible.
- Label and Freeze: Then, label the bag with the correct date, and transfer it to the freezer.
3 Tips for Freezing Gochujang
Now you know how to freeze it, we’ve got our 3 top tips which we strongly recommend following when freezing gochujang to have the best results:
Prevent Excess Air
Excess air in the bag with your gochujang cubes is a great way to allow the flavour to dissipate. The aroma molecules will slowly evaporate over time, making your gochujang a little more flavourless than when you first froze it. Remove excess water to prevent this.
Avoid Watering It Down
Many recipes for freezing items in ice cube trays involve suspending the item in water or oil and allowing that to be frozen over time. That works well for solids that have been finely minced, but gochujang is a water-based paste, so adding liquids to it would detract from the paste itself.
Ensure the Bag is Sealed
Freezer aroma is a well-known phenomenon – the general concept is simple. Sometimes, a freezer will develop somewhat of an aroma as different items are stored in it, and if a freezer bag full of gochujang is stored open, that aroma will permeate through the freezer. This is, understandably, less than ideal.
How Long Can You Freeze Gochujang?
You can freeze gochujang in a sealed container in your home for up to 12 months.
Beyond that point, the water content of the paste will have started to freeze solid, making the rest of the paste succumb to freezer burn. This removes both flavour and texture.
Unopened, a tub of gochujang can last for around 2 years or up to the expiry date on the container, whichever comes sooner. Once opened, the tub should be used within the year.
How Do You Defrost Gochujang?
When freezing gochujang in individual portions, you don’t need to defrost it – it can be added directly to pots of dashi or frying pans with different protein sources.
Be careful when adding the gochujang to frying pans, though, the hot oil can cause the ice to melt instantly and boil quite violently.
Can You Refreeze Gochujang?
Yes, you can refreeze gochujang. Most of the paste is made up of an emulsion of oil and water from the chilli and other ingredients. This means that, when frozen, it maintains some level of flavour and texture over time.
Therefore, refreezing will not degrade gochujang any further than primary freezing would.
Does Gochujang Freeze Well?
Not really, no – gochujang doesn’t freeze well because the texture can be damaged over time.
This doesn’t matter for gochujang being dissolved into soup or used as a marinade for chicken, but it would matter for some dishes.
Therefore, we recommend only freezing some of your total supply of gochujang in case you need to preserve the texture of the gochujang itself for another dish.
Aside from the texture change, gochujang does freeze very well – it’s got a strong flavour that tends not to degrade when kept in an airtight environment.
If you’ve still got questions about freezing gochujang or gochujang in general, then these may help:
There are several ways to determine whether gochujang has expired, including a strange smell, a stickier-than-usual texture, white spots on the surface and separation of oils.
Yes, ssamjang can be frozen into ice cubes using a lined ice cube tray. These cubes of ssamjang can be kept in the freezer for around 1 year.
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