On Monday, I bought a jar of kimchee. Today, I went to eat it and discovered that the "button" is up on top of the jar, even though it has that "sealed for your protection" plastic that has to be taken off before the lid is unscrewed (glass jar, metal lid). I went to the store to exchange it, but stopped by to look at the other jars and discovered that all of the jars had their "buttons" up except for one. Normally a "button" that is up is really bad news for the food inside, but I don't know much about making kimchee, so I don't know if it has to be sealed/sterilized in the same way as other canned foods. I know that properly fermented kimchee can keep for more than a month. Maybe Banyan Foods just uses the "button" lids anyway? The kimchee in the jar looks exactly as kimchee should (nothing spawning new life forms in there).
Anyway, I'll probably end up tossing the kimchee and storing something in the jar, but in case we have any kimchee experts here, I want to pose the question: can I eat it?*
I'm ever so slightly paranoid about botulism and other bacteria, but I'd also like to avoid tossing a good jar of kimchee if there's nothing wrong with it. I also don't trust the people at my grocery store to have any idea.
Here's the information on the jar:
"unpasteurized and live"
"no msg or preservatives
"best by apr/24/2010"
"ingredients: Chinese cabbage, water, salt, ginger, green onion, garlic, chili pepper"
There is NOT a note saying "do not eat if button is up."
*I recognize that nobody here has a degree in food sanitation or the authority to answer this question in any manner apart from personal opinion, which may or may not apply to my situation