Skip to content
Home » Kimchi Mold: If It’s ‘This Color’, Don’t Eat It!

Kimchi Mold: If It’s ‘This Color’, Don’t Eat It!

  • Food
Kimchi mold: identifying safe Golmaji vs. harmful green, blue, black molds and proper storage methods to prevent spoilage.

When storing aged or kimjang kimchi for a long time, you might sometimes encounter kimchi mold. Many people mistakenly think this is beneficial bacteria and don’t worry much about it. Some even remove the molded part or wash it off before eating. However, it’s important to be cautious, as mold can be harmful to your health.

1. The Safety of White Kimchi Mold, ‘Golmaji’

White specks that appear on the surface of kimchi are a type of yeast, known as ‘Golmaji.’ This white film often appears on the surface of fermented foods with high moisture content, like kimchi, soy sauce, and gochujang. It usually occurs when the refrigerator temperature is high, the kimchi isn’t fully submerged in its liquid, stored for a long time, or if the container isn’t airtight, exposing it to air frequently. According to a study, Golmaji is not harmful and is safe from a food hygiene perspective. The research team conducted toxicity experiments on Golmaji and found no special toxic reactions or related genes. However, if Golmaji spreads throughout the entire kimchi, it’s best to discard it, as it can affect the taste and quality of the kimchi.

2. Harmful Types of ‘Kimchi Mold’ and How to Deal with Them

If you find green, blue, or black mold on kimchi, it means the kimchi should be discarded. This is true even if the mold appears on top of Golmaji. Such colors in kimchi mold indicate spoilage and the potential for harmful toxins. These toxins can damage organs like the liver and kidneys, even in small amounts, and are heat-resistant, so cooking won’t remove them. Even if you remove the visible mold, invisible mold spores or toxins can spread throughout the kimchi. Molds other than Golmaji can produce harmful toxins and should not be consumed. Golmaji is white with a round, smooth surface, while molds are green or blue and have a thread-like appearance.

3. Preventing Mold and Proper ‘Storage Methods’

To prevent mold, it’s advisable to cover kimchi with sanitary plastic wrap when storing. Ensure the kimchi is submerged in its liquid to minimize contact with air, and the storage temperature should be below 4 degrees Celsius. This helps keep the kimchi fresh for a longer period.

4. Summary

Mold in aged or kimjang kimchi can be harmful to health. While the yeast-based white ‘Golmaji’ is safe, green, blue, or black molds produce toxins and require the kimchi to be discarded. For mold prevention, store kimchi submerged in its liquid at temperatures below 4 degrees Celsius.