Sauerkraut is a fermented food made from finely chopped cabbage. The dish has been consumed for centuries and is still one of the best in many households. Sauerkraut is rich in vitamins C, B, K, A, and other minerals needed in the body.
It is easy to make sauerkraut. This cost-effective meal is affordable but doesn’t have a long shelf life. It may last for just a few days before its flavor changes and becomes unusable. So, how can you preserve sauerkraut? Can you freeze sauerkraut? If yes, how is it done? Continue reading to find all the information you need about freezing sauerkraut.
Recipe With Sauerkraut
Sauerkraut can be eaten in many ways. Some use it as salad dressing, smoothies, salsa, etc. You are the one who knows why you need it or what you intend to use it for. We will provide a few sauerkraut recipes you can try at home. But you can always explore more!
Slow-Cooked Sauerkraut Soup Recipe
|Potato cut into ¼ inch cubes||1 piece|
|Smoked kielbasa, cut into 1/2-inch cubes||1 pound|
|Sauerkraut||1 32-ounces can|
|Chicken broth||4 cups|
|Condensed cream of mushroom soup||1 10-ounces can|
|Sliced fresh mushrooms||½ pounds|
|Cubed cooked chicken||1 cup|
|Sliced medium carrots||2 pieces|
|Sliced celery ribs||2 pieces|
|White vinegar||2 tablespoons|
|Dill weed||2 tablespoons|
|Cooked and crumbled bacon strips||3-4|
Mix the first 12 ingredients in a 5-qt slow cooker, cover, and cook for about 5 hours or until the vegetables are tender.
Skim fat and garnish with bacon.
Polish Casserole Recipe
|Uncooked penne pasta||4 cups|
|Smoked Polish sausage (sliced into ½ inches)||1 ½ pound|
|Condensed cream of mushroom soup||2 10-ounces cans|
|Shredded Swiss cheese||3 cups|
|2% milk||1 1/3 cups|
|Chopped green onions||4|
|Dijon mustard||2 tablespoonfuls|
|Minced garlic cloves||4|
Preheat the oven to a temperature of 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook pasta as indicated on the label, drain and put in a large bowl.
Stir in sausage, soup, sauerkraut, 2 cups cheese, milk, onions, mustard, and garlic.
Spoon into 2 greased 8-inch square baking dishes and sprinkle with the other half of the cheese.
Bake uncovered for about 45 minutes or until it turns golden brown and bubbly.
You can also freeze the unbaked casserole and store it for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight and bake following the procedure above. Ensure to remove it from the fridge about 30 minutes before you start baking.
Simple Sparerib & Sauerkraut Supper Recipe
|fingerling potatoes||1 pound|
|Peeled and chopped Granny Smith apple||1|
|thick-sliced bacon strips||3 slices|
|pork spareribs||2 pounds|
|vegetable oil||1 teaspoonful|
|brown sugar||3 teaspoonfuls|
|caraway seeds||¼ teaspoonful|
|smoked Polish sausage (sliced to 1-inch pieces)||½ pounds|
Put potatoes, onion, apple, and bacon in a 6-qt slow cooker.
Drain sauerkraut, setting aside 1/3 cup of the liquid. Add both to the slow cooker.
Slice spare ribs into serving-size parts and sprinkle with pepper and salt.
Heat a large skillet with oil over medium to high heat and brown the ribs in batches.
Transfer to a slow cooker and sprinkle with brown sugar and caraway seeds.
Add sausage and pour beer. Cover the content and cook on low heat for about 6 hours or until ribs are tender.
Does Sauerkraut Go Bad?
Yes, but it’s not easy to tell if it has spoiled or not. That is because sauerkraut is an already fermented, spicy tart concoction. However, you can still know if it is fresh for consumption or not.
Since sauerkraut is fermented, it will mostly bubble, bulge the lid outwards or produce some fizzling sounds. That doesn’t indicate that it has spoiled but shows how effective the fermentation process has been. So, how do you know if the sauerkraut has spoiled?
Check the container for molds, changes in the taste, signs of dryness, or visible changes in texture. These spoilage signs are more visible after defrosting the sauerkraut. If you don’t want to wait the thawing period to be disappointed, check the freezer burns. Discard it if there is crystal accumulation.
How Long Does Sauerkraut Last?
Store-bought sauerkraut can last for months in the pantry if immersed in brine. For freshly-made sauerkraut, it will take about a week in the pantry without brine. If you want it to last longer, you can freeze it or store it in a freezer. In such low-temperature conditions, sauerkraut can last up to a year. Continue reading for more details.
Can You Freeze Sauerkraut?
Yes. You can enjoy the satisfying taste of sauerkraut many months after its preparation. It is one of the foods that maintain flavor and texture for a long time. However, freezing kills the probiotic bacteria that is in the fresh sauerkraut. A fresh Sauerkraut is friendlier to the digestive system than a frozen one because of the beneficial bacteria.
You are better off eating your frozen sauerkraut in the first three months. However, it will largely remain fresh for one year. After that period, you should discard it because it will likely be spoiled. Don’t eat spoiled sauerkraut because of possible food poisoning.
How To Freeze Sauerkraut?
How you freeze your sauerkraut will determine its lifespan and quality when thawed later. That’s why it’s necessary to follow the procedure as outlined to achieve the best. Ideally, frozen sauerkraut can last for years. We know you don’t want to keep it for that long, do you?
The following are the basic steps of freezing sauerkraut:
Step 1: Get freezer bags
Using the recommended freezer bags or containers will help to prevent possible freezer burns. You need as many freezer bags as Sauerkrauts. General practice is to put serving-size portions in different containers or bags.
Heavy-duty bags or containers are better than Ziploc ones. With them, you can be sure of fresh Sauerkrauts free from freezer burns many months later.
Step 2: Put sauerkraut into the freezer bags
Spoon your Sauerkrauts into the freezer bags. Don’t fill them up to the brim, but allow a 1-inch space to allow the water in the fermented cabbage to expand. That way, you will not have spillages in your freezer.
Step 3: Remove excess air from the freezer bags
Before sealing the bags or containers, drive away as much air from them as possible. Excess air, if left in the bags, may frost and reduce the shelf life of sauerkraut. It is easier to remove air from the freezer bag than from a container. If you are using the bag, just hold it at the end of the sauerkraut and glide your hands upwards towards the opening. It may be necessary to repeat this step a couple more times before immediately sealing the bag.
Step 4: Labeling the bags and putting them in the freezer
This is the last step and should be carried out diligently. Clearly mark the bags with the current date and put them into the freezer. Maintain a constant near zero temperature in the freezer to make the frozen Sauerkrauts last longer.
Freezing Sauerkraut Tips
To improve the shelf life of your frozen Sauerkrauts, use the following tips:
- Freeze serving-size portions in separate freezer bags. That makes it easier and faster to thaw just what you need.
- Use recommended freezer bags to avoid freezer burns. Also, squeeze out as much air as possible from the bags and seal them before putting them in the freezer.
How Long Does Sauerkraut Last in The Freezer/Freezer?
Sauerkraut can last for a couple of weeks in the pantry, but refrigerating or freezing it can extend the shelf life for up to a year. Storing it in a closed can in the pantry will hasten the fermentation process, leading to early spoilage. That is the reason why most people prefer keeping it in the freezer or refrigerator. So, how long does it stay fresh in such conditions?
The low temperatures in the refrigerator or freezer slow down the fermentation process. So, it can last for a couple of months. A store-bought or freshly prepared sauerkraut can last for about a year when submerged in brine and kept in a fridge. Without brine, the shelf life is significantly reduced. It can possibly stay fresh for a week or slightly above that.
The brine keeps sauerkraut submerged in fermenting bacteria and other necessities that preserve cabbage for longer.
Sauerkraut stays the longest when stored in a freezer. Theoretically, sauerkraut frozen below zero degrees can last forever. However, you still need to check it from time to time. The shelf life of sauerkraut in a freezer depends on the container and freezing method used. If the freezing temperature can pass through the storage bag or container, freezer burns are likely.
How To Defrost/Thaw Sauerkraut?
Sauerkraut can be thawed in many ways but can also be used frozen in cooked recipes. If it is time to use your frozen sauerkraut, then you can defrost it in the following ways:
- Overnight in the fridge: Put the frozen sauerkraut in the refrigerator and let it thaw for about 3-5 days before using.
- Using microwave: If you want to use your thawed sauerkraut sooner, the microwave is the best option. Use the defrost feature of your microwave and run it in small increments of about 10-30 seconds until it is fully frozen, and use it immediately.
- Thawing on the countertop: It will take you a couple of hours to defrost sauerkraut using this method, depending on the size and type of the container or bag. You can immerse it in a cold-water bath and change the water every 30 minutes to make things faster. Use it as soon as the sauerkraut is fully thawed.
Tips For Using Frozen and Thawed Sauerkraut?
You can use thawed sauerkraut in many ways. The following are some of the common uses:
- Adding flavor to your soup or mashed potatoes
- Put in sandwiches instead of using pickles
- Mix with cream cheese or hummus to spice up your usual dip
- Jazzing up avocado toast instead of using chili
- Topping burgers and hot dogs
Can you freeze sauerkraut? You no longer have to worry about your excess sauerkraut going to waste if you have a freezer. You can safely freeze it, following the steps provided in this article. Freezing Sauerkraut doesn’t change the taste, but you will lose the beneficial bacteria usually present in the fresh sauerkraut.
Thawing Sauerkraut is also a straightforward process. You can do it in the fridge, countertop, microwave, or use frozen sauerkraut in cooked recipes. Ensure to use defrosted sauerkraut immediately. But can you freeze lettuce?