Frequently Asked Questions
What is kimchi?
Kimchi (김치) is a Korean side dish that is traditionally enjoyed with every meal: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Kimchi consists of fresh vegetables, soaked in a salty brine solution, fermented with natural Lactobacillus cultures that creates a crunchy, delicious, slightly sour character that is full of healthy probiotics, essential vitamins, nutrients, and minerals. For more information on using kimchi in delicious ways, be sure to check out our recipes page.
For more information on kimchi, check out Wikipedia.
I love your kimchi. Where can I buy it?Unfortunately, our kimchi is not available at this time. The owners of Feisty Ferments made the difficult decision to undertake an indefinite sabbatical back to South Korea. We will greatly miss making kimchi and enjoying everyone's smiling faces at the local farmers' markets.
I live outside of Colorado. Can I order Feisty Ferments Kimchi?
We can only sell and ship Feisty Ferments Kimchi within the State of Colorado. If you are from out of state, you'll have to travel to one of the farmers' markets where we'll be in attendance. Check out our Instagram feed or Contact Us.
Do I need to refrigerate kimchi?
Kimchi should be refrigerated to prolong the stability of the product. Feisty Ferments Kimchi is unpasteurized and contains live microorganisms. Placing kimchi in the refrigerator slows down the natural fermentation process and will stay fresh longer. A kimchi left at room temperature will become more and more sour and will eventually be so sour that it is not palatable.
Many Koreans have a "kimchi fridge" which stores kimchi around 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius), which is the optimal temperature for preservation. The salty brine keeps it from freezing at this temperature. Kimchi will become quite sour at normal refrigeration temperatures after 2-3 weeks.
If you prefer a slightly sourer kimchi, leave the container at room temperature overnight for 6-8 hours and taste it (open it over the sink: kimchi is actively fermenting, and pressure may build up from the released of carbon dioxide due to natural fermentation). If you think it needs more acidity, leave it out another 6-8 hours and repeat until it reaches your desired sourness. Then place back in the refrigerator.
How long does kimchi last?
All our kimchi products include a "best by" date on the ingredients label. For cabbage kimchi, this is typically 8 weeks from the day we start fermentation and 4 weeks for cucumber kimchi. Like other salt fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi may continue to keep in the fridge well after this date. Fermentation will continue in the fridge, slowly making the kimchi more and more sour as time goes on.
To keep your kimchi fresher longer, press the vegetables down in the jar so that they are submerged in the kimchi brine. The salt in the brine will help preserve the vegetables and this will also reduce oxygen exposure. Avoid keeping the kimchi outside the refrigerator unnecessarily. If it does get too sour for your tastes, we recommend using it for cooking to help disperse the sour flavors. Check our our recipes page for ideas.
I see small, white colonies on top of my kimchi. Has it gone bad?
Kimchi, and other foods preserved in salt, may form small white colonies on top if aged for a long time, especially on material that is not fully submerged in brine. Often mistaken for mold, these colonies are actually yeast and are not toxic if eaten (ref: https://phys.org/news/2018-12-white-colonies-kimchi-surface-mistaken.html). Salt is a very safe preservative and has been used for thousands of years in food preservation. Armed with this information, we recommend making a personal decision and remember that it is prudent not to eat something you are not comfortable with. If you see these colonies on your kimchi and find it unappetizing, you may also scrape off the top layer and discard it.
To prevent these colonies and kimchi spoilage in general, reduce exposure to the air and other objects that may contain naturally occuring yeasts, molds, and bacteria. If you don't plan on finishing your kimchi in one sitting, reduce the amount of time the kimchi is exposed to the air, always use a clean utensil for serving, and be sure to push all the vegetables below the brine before placing the kimchi back in the refrigerator.
I heard my jar of kimchi pop. Is everything okay?
With our products, this is nothing to be alarmed about.
We frequently use normal canning jars and lids to store our product. These are relatively easy for us to source and we like the idea of customers being able to reuse our containers for their own canning. Those familiar with normal sanitary canning practices may know that there should be an airtight vacuum inside the jar of homemade preserves. A clear indication that canning jars are not sealed is the "pop" sound from the lids, indicating the lack of a vacuum inside the jar.
While we use the same jars and lids, our product does not undergo common home canning techniques and is not vacuum sealed. This is due to the active fermentation of kimchi. The fermentation produces carbon dioxide, which commonly builds up in the jar and may result in a slight external pressure. In other cases, a vacuum in the jar may occur as refrigeration reduces the pressure inside the jar. The jar may subsequently be removed from the refrigerator, resulting in increased pressure within the jar. This is a common reason for the slight popping sound of our jar lids. With Feisty Ferments kimchi, this does not indicate a problem with the product. As always, use common sense to determine if food has gone bad and is no longer safe to eat.
Is Cottage Food safe to eat?
Feisty Ferments personnel have been trained in food handling according to the requirements set forth in the Colorado Cottage Food Act. We clean and sanitize everything that contacts our products according to Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) guidelines. That said, our kitchen is not inspected by the local health department like a commercial kitchen is. We only sell our kimchi directly to informed consumers.
Click here to learn more about Colorado Cottage Foods.
The Korean people have been preserving fresh vegetables by making Kimchi for thousands of years. Scientifically, kimchi is safe to store and eat because it has an equilibrium pH of 4.6 or below and is thus not a habitable environment for foodborne botulism.
Will kimchi make my breath smell?
Kimchi, while tangy and delicious, is made with both onions and garlic, which can cause slight odors on your breath and even in your sweat... though it's a matter of opinion whether that's a bad thing :-)
If you are concerned about bad breath, try eating kimchi with fresh apples. It's known in Korea to help. Carrying some breath mints doesn't hurt either.
Is kimchi high in sodium?
Kimchi is fermented in a sea salt water solution and contains a high amount of salt and sodium. Depending on the variety of kimchi, the cabbage, cucumbers, or daikon are removed from the brine after the initial fermentation in salt. This generally means that kimchi is less salty than most sauerkrauts which undergo a single fermentation. Consult your physician if you are on a restricted sodium diet. We recommend enjoying a small amount of kimchi each day to obtain naturally occurring antioxidants and probiotics, as part of a well-balanced diet.
Is your kimchi organic?
We are not certified organic and do not claim our kimchi to be. We do our best to source the highest quality ingredients available, including non-GMO and organic. However, depending on the season and availability of ingredients, we may or may not be able to obtain organic ingredients all the time. Check the ingredients label to identify the ingredients used in a particular batch.
What happened to your online store?
As a small cottage food business, we found the upkeep and maintenance of our online store cumbersome and time-consuming in relation to number of sales we were making through it. We humbly apologize for this inconvenience. In most cases we make personal contact with those ordering our kimchi anyway, so we recommend that you Contact Us directly if you'd like to make an order.