Does Sauerkraut Go Bad?

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Sauerkraut is an addition to your lunch plate at the place of some fermented food. Just adding a small amount of Sauerkraut to your diet makes your meal very delicious and enjoyable. That is the reason that it takes quite time to finish the complete packet of Sauerkraut.

Now the question arises that if you have bought some extra sauerkraut, are there any chances for it to go bad? Sauerkraut is basically the pickled form of cabbage that is preserved using fermentation processes. This is the reason that Sauerkraut stays good for a long time.

Pickling of Sauerkraut involves using preservatives of different times that increase its shelf life. Although there is plenty of time to use Sauerkraut, there are still chances for it to go bad if exposed to bad air and environment.

How to store Sauerkraut

You can store Sauerkraut like you store all your pickled food. Basically, there are two types of Sauerkraut that you can get from the market. The first type is the one created through fermentation, and this contains good bacteria.

The other type is the one that is pasteurized and needs some extra care while storing. Following are some of the ways by which you can store Sauerkraut effectively.

Keep it submerged in Brine

Sauerkraut is a pickled vegetable, and therefore it is important to keep it submerged in the brine so that its content is preserved. This helps in keeping Sauerkraut from drying.

Keep in Pantry or Kitchen Cabinet

Due to its acidic nature, Sauerkraut can survive at room temperature. So, you can store it on the kitchen counter. If you have opened your packing, Sauerkraut can stay fresh for 1 week in the kitchen cabinet.

Keep it Tightly Sealed

Another mode of food storage allows the Sauerkraut to be stored in an airtight container. This creates a vacuum-like atmosphere that protects the Sauerkraut from damage.

Keep it in the Refrigerator

For long-term storage, refrigerating the Sauerkraut is the best option. Sauerkraut can safely be left open for up to two months without damage so, it stays fresh and juicy. Sauerkraut has a shelf life of 6 months in the refrigerator. Home-made Sauerkraut, however, lasts for about a year if taken good care of!

Can you freeze Sauerkraut?

Sauerkraut can be frozen and actually freezes amazingly well. It doesn’t lose its flavor and texture and tastes almost similar to the fresh forms once defrosted with the condition that it’s frozen fresh. But one drawback linked with freezing is that it can cause the Sauerkraut to lose some of the important nutrients because of extremely low temperature. If you want to freeze homemade Sauerkraut, you need to follow the following steps:

  • Divide your Sauerkraut into small-sized portions for ease.
  • Before placing them in a plastic bag, freeze them first on a sheet for about 4 hours.
  • Place the portions in a plastic bag or a container. Don’t forget to remove all possible air and seal tight.

The good news is that Sauerkraut that frozen Sauerkraut will last up to 8-12 months. So, you can enjoy it for a whole good year. That sounds great, doesn’t it?

How Long Does Sauerkraut Last?

Commercially packaged Sauerkraut always contains a best before date, which should always be taken into notice. Throw away your expired Sauerkraut before it does any damage to your body.

Without refrigeration, Sauerkraut goes dry and tasteless very quickly, so its shelf life is reduced. Sauerkraut if, refrigerated, however, can stay fresh and tasty for around 4 – 6 months. Refrigeration needs to be done in a proper airtight jar to avoid the growth of harmful bacteria.

How to Tell if Sauerkraut has gone Bad?

As sugars and vinegar tend to increase the shelf life of most vegetables, so Sauerkraut preserved this way stays flavorful for a long time. The pickling solution stops bacterial growth. However, you can’t always be lucky because sometimes your Sauerkraut can actually go bad and, you might experience the worst results due to it.

Keep a check on the following signs which, may indicate that your Sauerkraut is no longer good.

  • The presence of molds badly contaminates the vegetable and change its color.
  • A bad smell from your freezer and spreading all around.
  • A change in the texture of your Sauerkraut, making it too dry.
  • If you realize that your Sauerkraut doesn’t taste good anymore, get rid of it as soon as possible.

Undoubtedly, eating Sauerkraut may help you boost your immune system and protect you from various diseases. It improves your metabolism and even helps you reduce weight. But, out-of-date sauerkraut or improper storage practices can get you in trouble. So, if you wish to enjoy this nutritious vegetable’s long-term benefits, you just have to adopt suitable and beneficial storage methods.


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