If you’re a fan of Korean cuisine, chances are you’ve come across saeujeot, or salted shrimp.
This tiny fermented ingredient is a staple in many Korean dishes, especially kimchi. But how long can you keep it in your fridge before it goes bad? And what are the signs that it’s time to toss it out?
In this article, we’ll explore the shelf life of saeujeot and give you tips on how to store it properly. Whether you’re a seasoned Korean cook or just starting to experiment with new flavors, read on to learn more about this unique ingredient and how to make the most of it in your cooking.
Does Korean Salted Shrimp Go Bad?
Like any food product, Korean salted shrimp can go bad if not stored properly or if it’s past its expiration date. The shelf life of saeujeot depends on the freshness of the ingredients and how it’s stored, but it will keep for a long time in general. Typically, it lasts six months to a year in the refrigerator, but always check the expiration date set by the manufacturer.
If you notice any discoloration or a bad smell, it’s time to toss it out. When salted shrimp deteriorates, it turns dark and the meat becomes brittle. The liquid becomes cloudy, and it smells bad. If you notice any of these signs, don’t take any chances and throw it away immediately.
What Is Korean Salted Shrimp?
Korean salted shrimp, also known as saeujeot, is a traditional Korean condiment made by fermenting tiny shrimps in salt. This process creates a rich umami flavor with a strong salty taste and a fishy smell. Saeujeot is a popular ingredient in Korean cuisine and is used to add depth and saltiness to various dishes, such as kimchi, stews, dipping sauces, and side dishes. The shrimps used to make saeujeot are incredibly small compared to regular shrimp and are harvested at different times of the year, resulting in different types of saeujeot with varying flavors. May saeujeot is called ojeot, June saeujeot is called yukjeot, and fall saeujeot is called chujeot. Saeujeot can be found in Korean grocery stores and should be stored in the refrigerator to maintain its freshness. When stored properly, it can last for six months to a year. If you’re new to Korean cuisine, saeujeot may take some getting used to due to its strong flavor and smell, but it’s an essential ingredient for authentic Korean dishes.
How Long Does Korean Salted Shrimp Last?
If stored properly, Korean salted shrimp can last for a long time. The best way to store saeujeot is in an air tight container in the refrigerator as soon as you purchase it. Typically, it lasts for six months to a year in the refrigerator, but always check the expiration date set by the manufacturer. However, if you want to keep it fresh for a longer period of time, you should store it in the freezer. The salted shrimp will continue to ferment while refrigerated, but it does not freeze solid due to its high salt content, so you won’t need to defrost it before using it. It’s important to note that if the saeujeot is not completely submerged in liquid, it may develop a yellowing discoloration. In this case, scoop out the discolored bits and press the rest down underneath the liquid. Additionally, always ensure using only clean and dry utensils when scooping out the contents to keep from contamination. If stored properly, Korean salted shrimp can be a versatile and flavorful ingredient for many Korean dishes.
Signs That Korean Salted Shrimp Has Gone Bad
There are several signs that indicate Korean salted shrimp has gone bad. One of the first things to look for is a yellowing discoloration, which may occur if the shrimps are not completely submerged in the liquid. If you notice this, scoop out the discolored bits and press the rest down underneath the liquid.
Another thing to keep in mind is that if the saeujeot has a terrible smell that is not like the usual stink of salted shrimp, it’s time to toss it. Fresh raw shrimp should be light grey or whitish in color and look somewhat transparent. If they look faded or off at all then they are likely going bad or have already spoiled. If the shells look like they are no longer attached to the body or if they have black spots on them, they aren’t safe to eat.
Cooked shrimp should be an opaque whitish color with some pink and red as well. If it looks faded in color, grey, or moldy at all, then it’s best to toss it out. Shrimp doesn’t have much of a smell, just a slightly salty smell from the sea. If you smell ammonia, an overly fishy, sour, or spoiled smell, you should toss it without hesitation.
If the liquid has become cloudy and the shrimp smell bad, you know that the jar of saeujeot has gone rancid. At this point, it’s recommended to throw them away immediately. Always do a visual check as well as a smell check before use, even if it’s within the expiration date range.
Proper Storage Of Korean Salted Shrimp
Proper storage of Korean salted shrimp is crucial to ensure its freshness and prevent it from going bad. Here are some tips on how to store saeujeot:
1. Store in an airtight container: Once you purchase Korean salted shrimp, transfer it to an airtight container to prevent air and moisture from getting in. This will help maintain its flavor and texture.
2. Refrigerate immediately: Korean salted shrimp is sold as a refrigerated product, and it should be stored in the refrigerator as soon as possible. This will slow down the fermentation process and keep it fresh for a longer period of time.
3. Check the expiration date: Always check the expiration date set by the manufacturer before purchasing or consuming Korean salted shrimp. If it’s past its expiration date, don’t use it.
4. Freeze for long-term storage: If you want to keep Korean salted shrimp fresh for a longer period of time, store it in the freezer. It does not freeze solid due to its high salt content, so you won’t need to defrost it before using it. However, keep in mind that freezing can affect its texture and flavor.
5. Use clean utensils: To prevent contamination, always use clean and dry utensils when scooping out the contents of the jar.
By following these storage tips, you can enjoy the deep flavor of Korean salted shrimp in your dishes without worrying about it going bad. Remember to always check for any signs of spoilage before using it, and discard it if there are any doubts about its freshness.
Creative Ways To Use Korean Salted Shrimp In Your Cooking
Korean salted shrimp, or saeujeot, is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes to add depth and complexity. Here are some creative ways to use Korean salted shrimp in your cooking:
1. Fried Rice: Add chopped saeujeot to your fried rice for an extra umami flavor. The saltiness of the shrimp pairs well with the sweetness of the rice and the savory flavors of other ingredients like eggs and vegetables.
2. Stir-fry: Use saeujeot to season your stir-fried vegetables or meat. The shrimp will add a salty, savory flavor that pairs well with the natural sweetness of vegetables like zucchini, as mentioned above.
3. Soup: Add saeujeot to your soup base for an extra kick of umami flavor. This works especially well in Korean soups like kimchi jjigae or doenjang jjigae.
4. Dipping Sauce: Mix saeujeot with soy sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil for a flavorful dipping sauce for vegetables or meat.
5. Kimchi: Of course, saeujeot is a key ingredient in making kimchi. Use it to season your cabbage or radish kimchi for a delicious and authentic flavor.
6. Fried Chicken: Mix saeujeot into your batter for fried chicken for a unique and delicious twist on this classic dish.
Frequently Asked Questions About Korean Salted Shrimp
Q: What is Korean salted shrimp?
A: Korean salted shrimp, also known as saeujeot, is a fermented seafood ingredient used in Korean cuisine. It’s made from small mysid shrimp that are salted and fermented for at least three months using bay salt.
Q: How is Korean salted shrimp used in cooking?
A: Korean salted shrimp is commonly used as a flavor-enhancing ingredient in dishes such as kimchi, gyeran jjim, stir-fried zucchini, and sundubu jjigae. It’s also served as a condiment for pork dishes such as bossam and samgyupsal gui.
Q: How long does Korean salted shrimp last?
A: The shelf life of Korean salted shrimp depends on how it’s stored and the freshness of the ingredients. Typically, it lasts six months to a year in the refrigerator. Always check the expiration date set by the manufacturer.
Q: How can you tell if Korean salted shrimp has gone bad?
A: If Korean salted shrimp has gone bad, you’ll notice discoloration, brittle meat, cloudy liquid, and a bad smell. If you notice any of these signs, it’s best to throw it away immediately.
Q: Can you substitute Korean salted shrimp with other ingredients?
A: Yes, there are other ingredients that can be used as substitutes for Korean salted shrimp, such as fish sauce or anchovy paste. However, keep in mind that these substitutes may not provide the same depth of flavor and umami complexity that Korean salted shrimp does.