Sauerkraut, finely chopped cabbage fermented by lactic acid bacteria, adds a delightful tang to dishes like Reuben sandwiches and bratwurst. Whether freshly prepared or pre-packaged, this zesty, pickled cabbage is a tasty treat, but freezing can often compromise its crunchiness.
So Can You Freeze Sauerkraut, And If Yes Then How Do We Freeze It?
Yes, you can freeze sauerkraut. Portion it, remove air, label, and freeze for up to 6 months. Thaw in the fridge, drain excess liquid, and use in various dishes for prolonged enjoyment of its tangy goodness.
How Long Can You Freeze Sauerkraut?
Sauerkraut, that tangy and crunchy fermented cabbage delight, can indeed be frozen for extended storage without losing its unique flavor and texture. Freezing sauerkraut is a breeze, and here’s what you need to know:
- Preparation: If you’re freezing homemade sauerkraut or store-bought, ensure it’s properly drained to remove excess liquid. You can pack it in airtight containers or resealable freezer bags.
- Freezing Method: Divide the sauerkraut into portion sizes you’ll use in one go. Squeeze out any air, seal tightly, and label with the date for easy tracking.
- Storage Duration: When stored at 0°F (-18°C) or lower, frozen sauerkraut can remain in good condition for up to 6-8 months.
- Thawing: To use, remove the desired amount from the freezer and let it thaw in the refrigerator. Avoid reheating sauerkraut to preserve its beneficial probiotics.
How Long Will Sauerkraut Last In The Fridge/Freezer?
When stored in the refrigerator, sauerkraut will last for 2-4 weeks. Keep sauerkraut refrigerated in a tightly sealed jar and make sure the sauerkraut is completely submerged in liquid to maximize its shelf life. The cold temperature of the fridge slows down fermentation and bacteria growth.
Frozen sauerkraut has a significantly longer shelf life. It can last for 6-8 months in the freezer without losing texture or flavor. Place sauerkraut in airtight containers, allowing headspace for expansion. Avoid freezer burn by minimizing air exposure.
Properly frozen sauerkraut stays safe to eat but its quality declines over time. It’s best to eat frozen sauerkraut within 6 months for peak flavor and texture. Discard any sauerkraut that has been frozen for over 8 months.
How To Tell If Your Frozen Sauerkraut Is Bad?
Here are some signs that indicate frozen sauerkraut has gone bad:
- Change in color: Good sauerkraut is white or pale yellow. Discoloration to gray, brown, or black is a sign of spoilage.
- Unpleasant odor: Frozen sauerkraut will smell tangy and acidic. A foul, rotten, or sulfury smell means it has spoiled.
- Soft or mushy texture: Frozen sauerkraut should be firm and crunchy. If it’s limp or mushy, toss it.
- Mold growth: Check for fuzzy mold on the surface or below the brine. Any mold is a sign to discard.
- Frozen into a solid block: If sauerkraut has frozen into a solid mass, it may have been thawed and refrozen which affects quality.
- Past recommended storage time: Sauerkraut stored frozen for over 8 months should not be consumed.
When in doubt, remember the motto: “When frozen sauerkraut goes bad, throw it out and be glad!” Trust your senses – if it looks or smells off, don’t risk eating it.
What To Do With Frozen Sauerkraut?
Frozen sauerkraut is extremely versatile. Here are some delicious ways to use frozen sauerkraut:
- Thaw it and enjoy it as a condiment for sandwiches, sausages, hot dogs, and burgers. Its tangy flavor takes these foods to the next level.
- Make schnitzel, Reuben sandwiches, or sausage rolls with thawed sauerkraut.
- Add thawed sauerkraut to soups, stews, and chilis. It provides a nice crunchy texture.
- Mix some thawed sauerkraut into mashed potatoes for a tasty twist.
- Use as a topping for baked potatoes, tacos, nachos, or flatbreads for a flavor punch.
- Add sauerkraut to scrambled eggs, frittatas, or omelets to start the day with its zing.
- Make a Reuben casserole by layering thawed sauerkraut with corned beef and Swiss cheese.
- Stir into fried rice, pilaf, or risotto to liven up the dish.
So grab that frozen sauerkraut from your freezer and liven up all kinds of dishes with its tangy crunch!
How To Thaw Frozen Sauerkraut?
Thawing frozen sauerkraut is simple:
- Fridge thawing: This is the preferred method. Place frozen sauerkraut in the refrigerator and thaw overnight or for 24 hours. The low temperature prevents bacteria growth.
- Cold water thaw: Put frozen sauerkraut in a bowl and place the bowl in a larger bowl filled with cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes. The thaw time is about 2 hours.
- Microwave thawing: Microwave frozen sauerkraut in 30 sec intervals until thawed. This is the fastest method but can affect texture.
- Counter thawing: Leave sauerkraut sealed on the kitchen counter to thaw over 2-3 hours. Thaw time depends on the amount.
Once thawed, sauerkraut should be used immediately for the best flavor, texture, and food safety. Do not refreeze thawed sauerkraut. Make sure to cook it thoroughly after thawing before consumption. Enjoy the sauerkraut’s tangy crunch in your favorite dishes.
How To Store Sauerkraut?
Here are some tips for proper sauerkraut storage:
- Store unopened sauerkraut in a cool, dark place like a pantry. Avoid temperature extremes.
- Keep sauerkraut refrigerated after opening. The cold temperature prevents bacteria growth.
- Transfer sauerkraut from the store packaging into an airtight glass jar or container. This minimizes air exposure.
- Ensure sauerkraut is covered by brine during storage. The brine preserves the sauerkraut.
- Push sauerkraut down to remove air pockets before sealing the container. Air speeds up spoilage.
- Use clean utensils when taking out sauerkraut to prevent contamination. Never put used forks or spoons back into the jar.
- Mark the date on the sauerkraut container and use it within 3-4 weeks of refrigerated storage.
- When freezing, choose freezer-safe containers and leave 1-inch headspace. Exclude as much air as possible.
Following proper storage methods keeps sauerkraut crunchy and flavorful for the duration of its shelf life, whether chilled or frozen. Enjoy its tangy goodness on hot dogs, sandwiches, soups and stews, and more!
Q1. How long will sauerkraut keep in the refrigerator?
A1. Sauerkraut can keep for 3-4 weeks in the refrigerator if stored properly in an airtight container. The flavor continues to develop over time.
Q2. How do you store sauerkraut in the freezer?
A2. To store sauerkraut in the freezer, pack it into freezer bags or airtight containers leaving about 1 inch of headspace. Freeze for up to 6 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before using.
Q3. How long can sauerkraut be frozen?
A3. Properly frozen sauerkraut can keep for up to 6 months in the freezer before quality starts to decline.
Q4. How do you store sauerkraut long term?
A4. For long-term storage, canning sauerkraut is the best method. Process jarred sauerkraut in a water bath canner for 15 minutes. It will keep for up to a year on the shelf. Refrigerate after opening.
Q5. How can you tell when sauerkraut goes bad?
A5. Signs that sauerkraut has gone bad include mold growth, unpleasant sour or rotten smells, soft texture, and bubbling or fermentation when refrigerated. Discard if any of these changes are noticed.
Q6. Is it OK to eat sauerkraut every day?
A6. Yes, it is generally fine to eat sauerkraut daily. As a fermented food, it contains beneficial probiotics that support gut and immune health. The fiber and nutrients in sauerkraut also make it a healthy addition to the diet. Moderation is still advised.