Does Gochujang Go Bad? How to Tell in 2023 plus Storage Tips

img of Gochujang shelf life, Expiration date, and storage tips

Did you know that Koran dishes are as healthy as they are delicious? That’s because most of their dishes are fermented. (*) Fermentation is an ancient way of preserving food and was widely popular back when there was no refrigerator. This means that fermented food can last for a long time. Does this mean that you can still safely consume that tub of fermented soybean paste in your pantry that’s already one year past the expiry date? Does gochujang go bad?

Gochujang can go bad. But since it’s a fermented product and contains lots of salt, its shelf life is quite long. So you can even consume expired gochujang (as long as it doesn’t have any signs of spoilage).

So how would you know if you can still use your expired tub of gochujang?

Read this article to find out!

When you do, you’ll also learn about:

So are you ready to learn more about this favorite Korean condiment?

Let’s get started!

img of Gochujang

What is Gochujang?

Do you love Gochujang, that tasty Korean condiment? Well, here’s some good news – it’s not just delicious, but also healthy!

Gochujang is made by fermenting gochugaru (Korean chili peppers), meju powder (fermented soybeans), glutinous rice, salt, and yeotgirum (barley malt powder). This fantastic paste adds a special touch to dishes like braises, stews, sauces, and marinades.

Gochujang is an essential condiment when cooking Korean food.

It’s a spicy, sweet, and savory fermented condiment made up of gochugaru (Korean chili peppers), meju powder (fermented soybeans), glutinous rice, salt, and yeotgirum (barley malt powder).

The ingredients are mixed and placed in an earthenware pot outdoors, where it’s left to ferment for many years.

During the fermentation process, the starches from the cooked glutinous rice get converted into sugar which lends the paste its slight sweetness.

On the other hand, the gochugaru delivers the heat that the paste is known for, while the fermented soybeans give the paste its trademark umami flavor.

Because of its unique taste, it’s often used to add depth to a wide range of dishes, including braises, stews, sauces, and marinades.

Fun Fact:

Unlike sriracha, gochujang is not a finishing or dipping sauce. It’s best used as a complementary sauce for rich meat dishes like bulgogi.

Now, let’s talk about how long you can enjoy your Gochujang without worry!

 img of Gochujang Shelf Life and Storage Tips

How Long Can You Keep Gochujang?

The cool thing about Gochujang is that it’s a fermented product with lots of salt, which means it stays fresh for a long time. If you keep an opened tub in the fridge, it can last for up to two years. For unopened tubs, just check the “best before” date for the shelf life.

Pro Tip:

As long as there’s no sign of spoilage and the paste has been properly stored, it’s still safe to consume even if it’s past the best before date.

Table 1: Gochujang Shelf Life

Storage ConditionShelf Life of Gochujang
Unopened TubUp to Best Before Date
Opened Tub (Refrigerated)Up to 2 Years

How Do You Know If Gochujang Is Bad?

So what are the spoilage signs that you should look for to determine if the gochujang is still safe for consumption?

Here are some of them:

Table 2: Signs of Gochujang Spoilage

Spoilage SignsWhat to Look For
Changes in AppearanceSliminess, Oil on Top, Browning
MoldFuzzy White or Green Growth
Unusual SmellSour or Vinegar-Like Odor
Altered TasteSour or Vinegar-Like Taste
  • Look for Changes in Appearance: When you pop open that tub of Gochujang, it should look like sticky red cooked glutinous rice. But if it seems slimy or has oil on top, it’s time to skip it. Also, if it turned brown, that’s a no-go too.
  • Keep an Eye Out for Mold: Nobody wants moldy Gochujang! So if you spot any fuzzy white or green stuff on the surface or the lid, toss it away!
  • Does It Smell Weird?: Okay, Gochujang has a unique smell, but it shouldn’t be sour or foul. If it smells like vinegar, you should say goodbye to it.
  • Give It a Taste Test: If you’re still unsure, try a small taste. Over time, the taste can change, but it shouldn’t be sour or like vinegar. If it does, it’s time to part ways.

Chef Ji-Hyun Kim, Korean Cuisine Specialist:

“Gochujang is the heart and soul of Korean cuisine, and its unique flavor profile adds a delightful kick to a wide array of dishes. As a fermented product, it has a remarkable shelf life, making it a staple in Korean households. Remember to store it properly in the refrigerator after opening to maintain its freshness and rich taste. With proper care, you can enjoy the bold flavors of Gochujang for an extended period in your kitchen.”

Tips for Keeping Gochujang Fresh for Longer

Since it’s shelf-stable, storing gochujang is easy peasy. However, if the tub is still unopened, it must be stored in a cool, dark, dry place like your kitchen pantry or cabinet.

On the other hand, an opened tub must be refrigerated. The cold temperature inside the refrigerator can slow down its spoilage so that you can enjoy the condiment for a long time.

But here’s the most critical storage tip of all: minimize air exposure. When exposed to air, your paste will become dry and risk bacterial contamination.

Pro Tip:

Place the opened tub in a resealable bag to protect it from the cold air inside the refrigerator.

Commonly Asked Questions

Below are some of the answers to the most commonly asked questions about this popular korean condiments:

Wrapping It Up

So there you have it! This condiment is a real treasure in Korean cuisine, and now you know how to keep it fresh and tasty for a long time.

Just be on the lookout for signs of spoilage, store it right, and you’ll be enjoying your Gochujang in many delicious dishes without worries!

Up Next: Your Common Food Ingredient’s Shelf Life – A Comprehensive Guide By Groups

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