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Can You Freeze Kimchi?

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By Olivia Sheppard

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Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish of salted, fermented vegetables. Its salty, spicy and umami flavours make it a great accompaniment. There is a bit of a labour of love when it comes to making homemade kimchi, so if you do make a big batch, what do you do with it?

Can You Freeze Kimchi?

Yes, you can freeze kimchi for up to 3 months. Although it is a fermented product and can last a long time in its original jar, freezing it will extend its life further, especially once opened.

Does Kimchi Freeze Well? Yes

Can You Refreeze Kimchi? No

How to Freeze Kimchi

Similarly to how kimchi is made, freezing kimchi is a delicate process as improper storage could cause textural and flavour changes which could impact the overall dish.

Whether you are freezing homemade kimchi or store-bought, the steps to take to preserve it in the freezer are pretty much the same. Follow the steps below for perfectly frozen and preserved kimchi:

  1. Make Your Kimchi: If you are making your own kimchi, follow your favourite recipe and follow the steps to the letter. Fermenting kimchi at home can take a few weeks. 
  2. Portion: Divide the kimchi into portions and spoon into airtight containers or high-quality, freezer safe ziplock bags. Be sure to squeeze out any excess air if you are using ziplock bags.
  3. Label and Freeze: Label your container or bag with the date of freezing and food product inside and then place back into the freezer for up to 3 months.

3 Tips for Freezing Kimchi

Now you know how to freeze it, we’ve got our 3 top tips which we strongly recommend following when freezing kimchi to have the best results:

Choose Your Container Wisely
You do not want a container that is too big as you do not want your kimchi to come into contact with too much air. That said, you do want to leave a bit of space towards the top so that the liquid in the kimchi has room to expand as it freezes. 

Use Ziplock Bags to Save Space
A great benefit of zip-lock bags is that they can be squashed flat and therefore save more space when you store them in the freezer. 

Label It Clearly
The last thing you want to do is think you’re defrosting one dish only for it to turn out to be kimchi. Kimchi is a punchy, bold dish so make sure you label it clearly.

How Long Can You Freeze Kimchi?

It is best to eat kimchi that has been frozen within 3 months to ensure that the flavour and texture is as high quality as possible.

However, the kimchi will technically last much longer than that whilst in the freezer but it may degrade in its flavour and texture. 

How Do You Defrost Kimchi?

Freezing affects the crispiness of the vegetables and defrosting them using the wrong method will further affect their texture. If you want to preserve the texture of kimchi and have it as close to fresh as possible, it is best to defrost kimchi in the fridge.

Simply remove the bag or container from the freezer and place it into a fridge. Place a piece of kitchen towel or a small plate under the container to prevent any water from leaking into your fridge.

Leave it for a few hours and you will have perfectly defrosted crisp kimchi.

It is important not to expose frozen kimchi to drastic temperature changes, so defrosting it at room temperature is a no-go as this will cause the condiment to become mushy and lose its crispy texture. 

One thing to note is if you plan to add kimchi to a stew or a sauce, you do not need to defrost the kimchi beforehand. Simply add the frozen blocks or cubes of kimchi to the hot dish and it will thaw. 

Can You Refreeze Kimchi?

It is not recommended to refreeze kimchi. Refreezing kimchi will severely affect its flavour and texture.

When you freeze food, the cells expand and burst and therefore, repeating the freezing process multiple times will make the shredded vegetables, such as cabbage, in kimchi overly mushy.

The condiment will also become less flavorful as a result of refreezing, so freeze your kimchi in small portions to avoid needing to refreeze!

Does Kimchi Freeze Well?

Kimchi is a great condiment to store in the freezer to extend its shelf life whilst preserving the delicious, sharp, spicy flavour and crisp texture of the shredded vegetables.

Kimchi can be incorporated into so many dishes including stews, fried rice and dumplings, so it does not have to be just a side sauce. 

If you’ve still got questions about freezing kimchi or kimchi in general, then these may help:

Is It Bad to Freeze Kimchi?

Purists would say it is a bad idea to freeze kimchi as it may have an impact on the flavour and texture. But if you have no choice and want to extend the shelf life then there’s nothing wrong with freezing it.

How Long Does Kimchi Last?

Kimchi will last in the fridge, unopened, for a few months. Once opened, it should be consumed within a few weeks. Remember, it will continue to ferment for months on end.

Can You Freeze Kimchi Jjigae

Yes, you can freeze kimchi jjigae. Once cooled, portion it out into airtight containers and seal. You may want to wrap it in a sheet of cling film to avoid your freezer stinking of kimchi! kimchi jjigae

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