When you’re younger, nobody warns you about the difficulties of adult life. There are bills and taxes to pay, appointments to manage, and jobs to handle, all of which can lead to serious stress! That being said, there is one challenge in adult life that none of us were prepared for...how quickly our groceries spoil.
It’s not necessarily new information for anybody, but when you are on your own for one of the first times in your life, keeping track of all your food can be a task! Between the fridge, freezer, countertops, and cupboard space, food has a way of hiding until it has already spoiled, which can be costly in the long run.
Here at Cleveland Kitchen, we’ve struggled in the same way at one point or another, and unfortunately, we don’t have the answers for keeping all of your food fresh and edible. However, we know a great deal about our specialty; fermented cabbage, otherwise known as sauerkraut!
Sauerkraut is one of the better-known fermented foods out there, but people often get confused about the best ways to store and consume their sauerkraut once they open it. To be fair, the food hasn’t become a mainstay in most American diets yet, but it is constantly increasing in popularity. So as more and more people are trying sauerkraut for the first time, we wanted to make sure everyone is prepared!
There are always plenty of questions when it comes to storing sauerkraut, and one of the most common is:
“Can sauerkraut be frozen?”
What seems like a simple question is actually much more complex than you may think. On the one hand, due to the nutritional properties of the food (more on that here), putting kraut in the freezer could potentially be a pretty bad idea! On the other hand, if you want to keep your sauerkraut around for a long time, freezing seems to make the most sense. Assuming that you don’t eat the whole batch in 24 hours (trust us, it’s surprisingly easy to eat a lot of kraut), you should learn about kraut storage!
This article will run down all the details you need to know about storing sauerkraut, and most importantly if it can be successfully frozen for later consumption. Without any further ado, let’s get started!
Does Sauerkraut Go Bad?
It might appear like a silly thing to ask, but there are plenty of foods with an incredibly long shelf life, so learning about the shelf life of sauerkraut isn’t a bad idea! To give a short answer to the question, yes, sauerkraut does go bad. However, it’s a little more nuanced than that, as a few different scenarios change how sauerkraut needs to be stored.
How Long Does Sauerkraut Last When It’s...
For instance, when you’re dealing with homemade sauerkraut, it can be challenging to know how long it will last and when you’ll need to finish it. However, as a general rule of thumb, homemade raw sauerkraut will last for about a month at room temperature and six months in the refrigerator.
If you’re getting your kraut from the grocery store (or directly from Cleveland Kitchen), then it’s a much simpler process! All you have to do is follow the expiration date on the back of the package, as well as any other storage directions you might see. You can assume it is safe to consume as long as you follow those directions carefully.
The final scenario that pertains to sauerkraut storage is that of canned sauerkraut. As a brief note, we’re not huge fans of canned sauerkraut, but if that’s the only option available to you, we still want to help you enjoy it as best we can! Canned sauerkraut is sauerkraut that has been pasteurized or boiled to kill off bacteria.
While this might sound like a good thing, that process destroys the best benefit sauerkraut has to offer; probiotics! These helpful types of bacteria have significant nutritional value, but when exposed to extreme temperatures, the bacteria die. So, canned sauerkraut is entirely safe to eat, but you’ll be missing out on a lot more. The only real pro of canned sauerkraut is its longevity, as it will last for months to years longer than its unpasteurized counterparts.
...In The Freezer?
We know sauerkraut can spoil and that the fridge can help extend its lifespan, but does that translate to the freezer?
While technically “freezer safe,” meaning that it won’t spoil or get freezer burn, sauerkraut shouldn’t go into the freezer if you can avoid it. Similar to canned sauerkraut, the extreme temperature of the freezer kills the probiotic nutrients in the kraut. We won’t even talk about freezing cooked sauerkraut because, by that point, it’s not really sauerkraut anymore!
Basically, unless you have an extraordinarily large batch of kraut that you can’t finish in time, you should stay away from those freezer bags. Beyond the nutritional value, freezing sauerkraut can also change the texture and flavor, as defrosting sauerkraut results in a more rubbery version of the side dish you know and love.
Cleveland Kraut and More
Now that you’re fully caught up on the various storage conditions that sauerkraut can experience, it’s time to put that knowledge to the test! At Cleveland Kitchen, we have six different krauts for you to choose from, so why not try them all? You can see firsthand how long each kraut type stays fresh and enjoy a delightfully crunchy snack along the way.