Have you ever wondered how long radish kimchi would last when stored outside the refrigerator (and even inside the refrigerator?).
This article explains exactly that, explores what makes radish kimchi go bad and how you can tell if you have a spoilt batch of radish kimchi.
When opened and stored outside
Radish kimchi would store for about a week and a few days when opened and left outside the refrigerator, provided everything is submerged under the brine that forms during fermentation.
The reason for the quick spoilage is the higher ambient temperature that accelerates or supports the activities of microbes (which gain access to the medium wherever you open the lid to retrieve the radish) and then cause spoilage.
After about a week, you should expect to begin seeing the signs of spoilage which we identify below.
When opened and refrigerated
When you have a radish kimchi that is opened and then refrigerated, it would typically keep for months on end before it eventually begins to show the signs of spoilage or becomes too sour or too mushy to be comfortably consumed.
This is the reason why open jars of radish kimchi are recommended to be consumed within the first 3 months of refrigeration because within that time frame, they’re almost always in their peak state.
For store bought radish kimchi, the same is the case. When you open it, it would only last a couple of days at ambient temperatures. At refrigeration temperature however, it lasts for months on end (when properly sealed) but it is best consumed within the first few months of refrigeration.
How to tell if radish kimchi has gone bad?
There are some telltale signs that would indicate to you that a radish kimchi has gone bad. These are:
Mold is a fuzzy looking entity that comes in various shades and hues of colour from blue green, pink, purple to even black and white.
Mold mostly grows on fermented vegetables that stick out from the brine solution. They would begin to feed on the nutrients of these vegetables and spread their roots all over the rest of the vegetables.
Mold can produce spores that are very offensive to the nostrils and can trigger allergic reactions. So when you suspect mold growth on the surface of a radish kimchi, make sure to not sniff at all.
An offensive smell
Because radish belongs to the cabbage family which means that it naturally exudes that soft sulfuric smell when it’s stored, you would notice a bit of smell coming out from your fermentation jar which in no way indicates spoilage.
When you notice a more strong and offensive odour however, that is usually the sign of spoilage. Begin to carefully inspect the kimchi for signs of mold growth which would further confirm your suspicion.
No one advises you to take a bite from a radish kimchi you suspect may have gone bad. But if you happen to do so and notice a kind of really offensive (not sour) taste, then the kimchi is bad and you should not consume it.
What makes radish kimchi go bad?
There are many reasons why a radish kimchi would go bad. Some of them include:
Radish that has been opened and stored for a very long time in the refrigerator will eventually go bad. This is because in one way or the other, microbes must have been introduced into the jar with the consistent opening which would begin to breed and cause spoilage.
This is why it is always recommended to consume radish kimchi in the quickest time possible after fermenting them.
Picking radish by hand
You may not know this, but every time you put your hands into the jar of kimchi to retrieve a piece of radish, you introduce microbes into the medium which would eventually cause spoilage.
This is the reason why it is always recommended to use a clean utensil to retrieve whatever it is you want to retrieve from the jar and avoid using your bare hands.
Improperly washed fermentation utensils and food items
When the fermentation tool and utensils such as the jar are not properly washed and as well as the food items like radish, they could end up introducing bacteria into the fermentation medium which would cause quick spoilage. Some of these bacteria can even cause food poisoning.
That is why it is extremely important to make sure you properly wash the jars that would contain your fermentation solution.
How you can wash the jars is simple. Use warm/hot water and sponge to go through the interior and over the exterior properly, and rinse thoroughly, making sure to remove as much suds as possible which could end up at affecting the brine of the ferment if not properly removed, then submerge them in a simmering water until you’re about to stuff vegetables in them.
If you want to sterilise the jars instead, which is a much better alternative, check out this article we wrote on how to do it properly.
For food items like vegetables, use a vegetable brush to really get into every corner or ridge and release as much dirt as possible to keep the fermentation brine healthy.
Too warm of a fermentation temperature
Another cause for spoilage in radish kimchi happens when the ferment is left tonstire at really hot temperatures which typically accelerates the activities of bacteria and also spoilage.
Always keep ferments at temperatures between 70 to 75 °F and avoid temperatures higher than that which will cause problems.
Started out with old radish
Starting out with vegetables that are limp or have started to rot will cause quick spoilage because this must’ve already started harbouring bacteria and even mold that you couldn’t see which would persist in the fermentation solution and cause quick spoilage.
Did not remove as much air as possible from the ferment
When you fail to observe the step that calls for pressing the radish to remove as much air as possible, some air will persist and oxidation will occur which will deteriorate the quality of the radish.
So whenever you’re stuffing radish in fermentation jars, make sure to press down (and stir) as much as possible to release trapped air before you cover the jar.
What to do with radish kimchi that has gone bad
There are some people that recommend skimming off the top layer of mould on fermented pickles and consuming the rest of the vegetable that is underneath so long as it does not taste or smell bad or doesn’t look moldy.
Now there are the risks involved with this method due to the fact that some more species of mold actually can produce mycotoxins which can be toxic when ingested. And because it is notoriously difficult to point out what species of mold is actually growing on your mold, the problem gets even worse.
The best thing to do is to take out the guesswork and discard the contents of a mold jar and make sure to sterilise the jar in case you want to use it for another fermentation project.
If your radish kimchi doesn’t have mold but still smells really bad and you suspect that it may have gone bad, do not consume it as it could cause food poisoning when ingested. Discard it promptly.