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How To Store Gochujang (Read Before You Store)

Jason Park
Published by: Jason Park
Published on:

If you enjoy eating Korean foods, then gochujang should be a staple ingredient in your household.

This paste is used in the majority of Korean dishes and can be used in other foods you make that you want to add more flavor to. 

If you want to buy a container of this condiment, you may be wondering how to store gochujang.

On this page, we’re going to discuss the proper way to store gochujang. When this Korean condiment is stored properly, it will keep for a long time. 

However, it’s so delicious, that you will likely eat it all before it goes bad. Want to know how to store gochujang? 

Keep reading to learn how!

How To Store Gochujang

If you ever get the opportunity to visit an Asian market, you will find a lot of unique and delicious food choices. 

However, if you’re unfamiliar with them you likely have a lot of questions about how to use them correctly and how to store them to keep them fresh. 

Gochujang is a paste that has a long shelf-life. In order to get the most use from a container of gochujang, you will need to store it in the fridge. 

When this paste is stored in a cold and dark place, it will stay good for longer. Always make sure the container is sealed before putting it back in the fridge. 

Keep in mind, that gochujang will only need to be stored in the fridge once it has been opened. 

If you eat a lot of Korean food and purchased a few containers, you can keep unopened containers in your cupboards or pantry. 

Make sure you store them in a place that is cool and dark. Direct light could cause the gochujang to spoil early.

What Is Gochujang?

Are you on this page because you want to try more Korean foods? Well, gochujang is a staple ingredient that you will need to bring out the flavor

However, we do need to warn you that this paste is very spicy. If you are sensitive to spices, you may want to start off using a very small amount and gradually add more to fit your taste preferences.

Gochujang is a concentrated paste. It’s made from red chili peppers, rice, fermented soya beans, and salt. 

Some versions of gochujang will also feature yeotgirum, which is a barley malt powder. It is used as a condiment and has a balanced flavor of spicy, sweet, and salty. 

What you may not have known is that Gochujang isn’t something you can just whip up in the kitchen when you have a craving for Korean food. 

It actually takes a few years to complete the process. All the ingredients for gochujang are mixed in an earthenware pot. The pot is then placed outdoors for the fermentation process.

How Long Does Gochujang Last?

If you’re thinking about buying a container of gochujang, you may be wondering if you will get enough use of it before it goes bad. 

Since gochujang is very concentrated, a small amount can pack a lot of punch. 

You don’t need to use very much of this paste to have your taste buds singing. One small container can actually last for a lot of meals.

Now, if you only eat Korean foods once in a while, you may be wondering if buying a container of gochujang is worth it. 

We would encourage you to go for it because gochujang lasts a very long time when it’s stored properly. If you keep it in a container with the lid on in the fridge, it will stay good for 2 years.

When you buy a container of gochujang, it will have a best before date. This number is always an estimated date and won’t actually represent when the gochujang turns. 

Many people who have stored their gochujang correctly can continue to use it well past that date. If the gochujang has gone bad, you will be able to tell by looking at it.

Signs That Gochujang Has Gone Bad

Since gochujang can last for a couple of years, you may actually have forgotten the date you bought it by the time it starts to spoil. 

Luckily, there are a few different ways you can tell if your container of gochujang has gone bad. Normally, you will be able to tell by looking at it. If it has gone bad it may have an oil or slimy residue on top.

If you have left it in the fridge for too long and don’t remember when the last time you used it, the paste may start to change color. 

When gochujang is fresh and safe to consume, it is a red color. However, if it has spoilt, you may notice it looks more brownish than red. Additionally, it may even start to grow mold. 

Besides looking for physical clues of spoilage, you can also use your nose. When gochujang has gone bad, it will have a pungent and sour smell. 

Gochujang has a very unique smell that will notice when you open a new container. However, if you open an old container of this paste and it smells like vinegar, it’s time to throw it away.

Has that gochujang been in your fridge for more than 2 years, but doesn’t have physical signs of spoilage and smells normal? It may be fine to eat, but just to be careful you should always taste a small amount first before adding it to a dish. If it spoilt, it will have an unusual taste that’s not very pleasant. 

How To Use Gochujang Before It Goes Bad

When you a container of gochujang, you’ll be surprised by how long it will last. 

Since you only need a small amount to make your food pop, one small container will go a long way, especially if you store it correctly. 

If you’re like us and hate to waste food, you may be wondering what all you can do with gochujang before it goes bad.

Exploring different Korean dishes is a great way to use up your gochujang before it spoils, but there are many other foods that you can use it in. 

One of the great things about cooking is that you can get creative with what you do. Are you looking for other ways to use gochujang paste? Try it in any of these foods for a unique version:

  • Deviled eggs
  • Korean inspired tacos
  • Use it in a meat marinade
  • Use as a topping on sandwiches, burgers, or wraps
  • Mix in soups or stews for more heat

Final Thoughts

How should you store gochujang? Unopened containers of gochujang can be stored in a pantry or cupboard, while open containers of this paste should always be kept in the fridge. 

Gochujang has a very long shelf life, so if you store it correctly, you could get over two years of use from it (if you don’t eat it all first.)

Even though gochujang lasts a very long time in the fridge, it does spoil at some point. When your gochujang has gone bad, it will have a sour odor and the color may be brownish. There could also be an oily or slimy residue on top of the paste, which is a sign you shouldn’t eat it. 

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    About The Author

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    Jason Park

    Jason has been living in Seoul for over 4 years, and during that time, he has experienced many of the city's hidden stores. He loves to write about his experiences and share them with others. Jason has been quoted and referenced by different major media companies like Mashed, Distractify, ThePrint and TastingTable. In his free time, he likes to watch Korean dramas and learn more about Korean culture.

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