Gochujang is this very flavorful, spicy, sweet red chili paste originating from Korea that is amazing and versatile. It is a wonderful dipping sauce and is used to make everything from soups and stews to flavoring for ribs and other meats.
But how long does gochujang last? In this article, I’ll discuss the shelf life of gochujang and other tips for storage.
Table of Contents
- How Long Does Gochujang Last?
- How Do You Know If Gochujang Is Bad?
- How Do You Properly Store Gochujang?
- Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Does Gochujang Last?
Since the Gochujang is already fermented and contains lots of salt, this condiment has a very high shelf life. As a rule, Gochujang can last around 2 years after the container has been opened. You can also eat it well past this as long as there is no indication that it has spoiled.
However, it’s important to understand how Gochujang is made. Gochujang is a spicy, sweet, fermented condiment made of Korean chili peppers, barley malt powder, salt, glutinous rice, and fermented soybeans. These ingredients are mixed and placed into a pot, where it is left to ferment for several years.
How Do You Know If Gochujang Is Bad?
Luckily, there are several ways to indicate the sauce has gone bad. The first is mold growth. Mold typically looks like little fuzzy green or white dots. If you see any indications of anything fuzzy and mild, like growing on the surface, throw it out immediately.
Changes in Appearance
This is another easy way to check it. Gochujang, when it is good, has a vivid red color. As time goes on, you can expect some color changes, like with any condiment. However, if your condiment coloring has turned brown, it’s best to avoid consuming it.
Another possible change of appearance is an oily top layer. Oil can rise to the top of your Gochujang because of the fermented soybeans, kind of like how natural peanut butter is. This can be a sign that their container has gone bad for some.
Other sources state when this happens, you can just mix it back together and that it’s perfectly okay for consumption.
I would suggest mixing it up and seeing how it tastes. If it passes all of the other tests we’ve mentioned here and tastes okay, by all means, use it! Though my motto is when in doubt, throw it out!
Weird Sour Smell
Another easy way to check without having to sacrifice your taste buds is to smell it. Gochujang has a spicy-sweet smell that’s a little pungent due to fermentation. If Gochujang smells rancid, sour, or like vinegar, or if the smell is just off in any way. Throw it away!
Gochujang comes as a sauce and as a paste. If you have the paste and it’s no longer a pasty consistency, it could be an indication that it’s gone bad. A good way to check the consistency is to stick a spoon in it. If the spoon stands, the mixture is good to eat.
If the spoon falls, this could mean that your paste has begun to be slimy or the oils have begun to separate. You can also simply look at it or take a little bit of it and squish it between your fingertips. If the consistency is on the watery side, or if it’s hard. It’s most likely gone bad.
If it looks fine, smells okay, and passes the spoon test, try to taste it. As with any condiment, the taste can change over time, which is something to consider. However, if the taste is off, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Try only a small amount; if the taste is off, don’t hesitate to throw it out!
How Do You Properly Store Gochujang?
Like with any condiment, it is best to store it in a cool, dry place if it is unopened. Inside your cabinet, away from the oven, or in your pantry is best away from windows. If the container is open, store it in the refrigerator.
When you open your container, there is typically a plastic layer under the lid. Something you might want to try is keeping the layer. Even though you already have a lid on your container, this layer can help keep your condiment moist. If this layer is gone, the paste can dry up.
Something else you can try to keep your Gochujang moist is to wrap the top with plastic wrap for an added seal or transfer your paste to an airtight container.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you freeze gochujang paste?
No, the paste is not suggested to freeze. The paste may lose its texture if it is frozen. The sauce, however, is!
Does gochujang expire?
Yes, it certainly does! Once refrigerated, Gochujang can last up to 2 years!
Does gochujang have MSG?
Some mixtures do contain MSG, however, if that is a concern for you, some brands do not have MSG in them.
Should I keep the plastic piece under the lid?
Yes! This plastic covering is good for keeping moisture within the container and keeps your Gochujang from drying out.
What happens if I eat Gochujang that has expired?
If you have consumed expired Gochujang, you may experience nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and even diarrhea. This is why it is very important to ensure your condiment is still good and has not spoiled, which is why it is not safe to risk it.
Gochujang is a wonderful condiment that, like most foods, does have an expiration date. It can last in your refrigerator for up to 2 years. However, Just to be safe, check your food, and make sure you’re confident that it is still good before consuming it.