Is my Homeade Gochujang Ready?
Q: How do I know if my homemade gochujang is ready?
Your gochujang continues to ferment either outside or in the fridge. It just ferments at a much slower pace inside your fridge. Gochujang often (not always) loses it’s peak flavor as it ages though, unlike Ganjang (soy sauce) where it continues to mature and deepen in flavor.
Under perfect conditions, your gochujang should be ready in 6 months or so. But if there isn’t enough moisture in your gochujang, you may need to bring it in and store in the fridge sooner. If the top keeps cracking and it’s getting really dense (too dense for you to easily turn with a spatula) then it’s too dry. The first year I made gochujang in California, I had to put it in the fridge only after 3 months because it became too dry.
This year, I had a little too much moisture so I let it stay a bit longer. Not only for the consistency but somehow the flavor wasn’t fully developed at month 6. So I let it stay longer outside for 2 more months and it was now perfect!
A: Best way to tell if your gochujang is ready is by tasting it.
Taste your gochujang in the beginning and you will taste the raw spiciness of the pepper powder, meju powder and rice syrup all separately. It still tastes OK but none of the deep complex flavor that fermentation brings is there yet. Try tasting gochujang every month or so and see how the taste changes over time. When it is ready, you will taste a wonderful symphony of flavors – spicy, salty, sweet and umami flavor that no words can describe. As my husband puts it, the flavor reaches deep down into your stomach. Many Koreans will express it as “속이 뻥 뚤리는 맛” which means that the taste is so deep, clearing and so far reaching that it feels like it clears your inside all the way.
Anyway, I transferred all the gochujang out of my clay jar (hangari) into these glass jars to keep inside. I also gave away couple jars including one to my friend’s 86 years mother.
“Receiving this jar of JinJoo’s homemade gochujang is better than receiving $20,000!!” is what my friend’s 86 year old mother said when she received this jar of home made gochujang recently. Wow.. I was speechless…I was so grateful and happy to hear that. I’m sure she appreciates, more than anything, all the time and love that goes into making gochujang. And at her age, I am sure she remembers how wonderful real gochujang taste is.
I wish there was a way I could let you all taste how wonderful homemade gochujang is…maybe.. hmm.. should I do a Gochujang Giveaway?? HAHAHA…Not sure if that’s allowed legally 😝..will have to look into it.
Anyway, in case you want to make your own gochujang at home, here are two recipes below.
OH and I will be sending out my first newsletter this week. If you are an email subscriber, you will be getting it. If you are a wordpress follower, I am afraid, you won’t be getting my newsletters unless you sign up separately via email. Sorry for the added work but I have not yet found a way to transfer wordpress users to my mail service. If any of you know, please let me know!
Thank you and have a good weekend everyone!