Fermented Kimchi in a glass

How Long Does It Take To Ferment Kimchi?

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Kimchi is a healthy yet delectable dish that you can easily make at home. It is considered a staple in Korean cuisine. You can buy them from convenience stores. However, if you are more into homemade foods, chances are you are wondering how long does it take to ferment kimchi? Let’s find out! 

The fermentation time of kimchi massively depends on various factors. These are the ingredients, the ventilation of the jar, the depth of flavor, and the temperature. So, in general, if you ferment it at room temperature, it can take about 1-2 days. 

But this time can significantly change depending on the factors I’ve mentioned above. Moreover, some people prefer to ferment kimchi in refrigerators. You might be wondering why. So, if you want to know more about this, please keep reading!  

The Factors That Regulate Your Kimchi Fermentation Time

So, let’s discuss the factors I mentioned previously in further detail. You should also know that there is no ideal time for kimchi’s fermentation to end. But these factors will aid you in having a precise approximation. Hence, here they are! 

The Ingredients Of Your Kimchi 

Usually, your kimchi has ingredients that you’ll see everywhere, like napa cabbage, salt, ginger, onion, fish sauce, garlic, sugar, and water. But you can add more spices and protein to mix things up a little. As such, these can influence the overall fermentation time of your kimchi. Things like sugar, mustard, and leek can significantly increase fermentation duration. 

And additives like salt, protein (meat, squid, etc.), and glutinous starch can decrease the fermentation time. So, you better keep in mind the ingredients you use to get the ideal fermentation. Hence, learn to make different kimchi dishes at home! I love to do this when I have free time too.  

The Temperature Of Your Home

The ambiance of temperature creates changes in the fermentation time of your kimchi. Typically, you would store your kimchi in a cool, dark place to let it sit out. But if your house is a bit cooler than usual, you might need to wait a few more hours or even a day to get that ideal taste. 

So, if you wish to store kimchi for longer periods, then put it in the fridge immediately after you prepare it. If not, keep it outside for 2-4 days. Because kimchi needs consistent temperature circulation, slight disruptions might spoil it.

The Salt Content Of Your Brine

I know I’ve already mentioned this in the ingredient section. But the salt content needs a bit more elaboration. Usually, your brine solution is about 5% of the cabbage you’ll use. This salt content with other acids (which I’ll explain more later) will begin and also influence the fermentation process. 

So, if you can’t remember all the ingredients that change the fermentation time, know that salt is one of the prime reasons. Thus, if you wish to speed up the process, you can add more salt (like a 7% brine solution instead of 5%). Or, you can even wash off and strain the cabbage to reduce salt and slow the duration.    

Ventilation Of the Jar 

The aeration of your jar also influences the fermentation time of your kimchi. It is best to check your kimchi from time to time every day. But if you have OCD and review way too many times, like me, your kimchi might have a less fizzy texture. The sourness can also be very mild. This mildness isn’t necessarily bad, as it depends on your palate. 

And checking it occasionally or for longer periods will create a strong taste and texture. In any case, you still need to check your kimchi jar to check for bubbles. This will indicate the fermentation process has begun properly. Also, you should smell and taste it with a clean fork. And do not fill your jar to the brim, as excess carbonation from acids can explode.

Methods You Can Use to Reduce the Fermentation Time

I’ve sprinkled some of the methods of reducing fermentation time above, but that’s not precise enough. So, here are the accurate ways you can use to speed up the process.

Increase the Temperature a Bit

As mentioned before, kimchi ferments at room temperature. So, if you have a small jar (about 5-6 ounces), keeping it for 1-2 days will begin the fermentation process. You can keep the pot for 1 or 2 days more for a more sour taste.

So, if you’re impatient about the process, then do one thing. Crank up the temperature a bit. The slight change in temperature (about 7 degrees Fahrenheit more) will reduce the fermentation time. So, do give this method a go! It’s effortless! 

Keep Your Kimchi Submerged

Submerge your kimchi correctly to decrease the fermentation process. You can do this by pushing down the kimchi with your hands or using an apparatus. Buying an excellent fermenting jar online is also viable. These can significantly reduce the fermentation duration of your kimchi.

Normally, the jar comes with an airlock and ceramic dishes. The ceramic plate is quite heavy, and for a good reason. So, use a spatula, and submerge your kimchi in the brine solution. Next, put the ceramic dish on top and close the lid. Finally, ensure that not a single strand of veggie is floating above. Thus, you’ll get to eat your kimchi earlier!

Add More Salt to Your Kimchi

As I’ve said, you usually salt your main vegetable (like cabbage) for fermentation. But if you wish to have quicker kimchi, you can use additional salt. But at first, I would suggest you strain the cabbage again. I know it’s annoying but having way too much salt is worse. So, please strain it first.

Then salt your cabbage on each side of the leaf. Typically, you cut the cabbage in lengthwise quarters. Each quarter also has an inner and outer layer. So, salting it should take a little time. And make sure to season it a bit more generously this time. And thus, this technique will begin the fermentation process faster!

Air Lock Your Kimchi Jar

I advise you to give utmost importance to air locking your kimchi jar. At first, it is better to keep the lid loosely open. This helps to activate Lactobacillus in the cabbage faster. And Lactobacillus is one of the leading microorganisms that help in fermentation. Anyway, keeping your lid open like this for too long can cause problems later due to dust.

Dust and other particles from your kitchen can get inside the jar quickly. So, this can cause the fermentation process to go slower than usual. Hence, it would be better to use a pot with an airlock system. That’ll keep the dust outside and remove any gases building up inside. So, two birds with one stone!

Add Ingredients to Speed up the Fermentation

Adding extra ingredients to your kimchi is another way to reduce the fermentation process. One of the best ingredients is yeast. Yeast is a live bacterium that helps in reducing the time it takes to ferment kimchi.

You can also add sprinkles of sugar or fresh apples (mainly fruits that have sucrose content). You might not like fruits in your kimchi. So, do this according to your preference. And thus, hopefully, these procedures will help with your impatience.

Making quick kimchi for overnight fermentation is also a great idea. And if you’re incredibly eager to eat kimchi, buy one from the nearby store. Most of the store-bought kimchi is more or less fermented already. 

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