Sauerkraut is a fermented cabbage dish that has been around since ancient Rome. The natural preservative qualities of lactic acid produced by the bacteria in this dish make it ideal for preserving, but how long does sauerkraut last and how can you tell if your kraut has gone bad? Let’s find out!
Does Sauerkraut Go Bad?
Sauerkraut does go bad after a certain amount of time. However, you can still safely eat it (if it’s fresh) for up to 4 weeks after purchase if you refrigerate it properly after opening a jar or can of sauerkraut. Just make sure there are no visible signs of mold on the surface before opening any containers with this type of fermented vegetable product inside them.
How To Tell If Sauerkraut Has Gone Bad?
Sauerkraut is a fermented cabbage made by adding salt to freshly shredded cabbage and letting it sit for about three weeks. This process is called lactic fermentation, which helps break down the natural sugars in the vegetables, giving them their sour flavor.
Sauerkraut has an indefinite shelf life, meaning it can last indefinitely if refrigerated properly. However, if you’ve had your sauerkraut for more than two months and it looks or smells funny, you should throw it out.
Here are some tips for determining whether your sauerkraut has gone bad:
Look at the color of the sauerkraut: If your sauerkraut is turning yellow, brown, or pinkish-red, that means that it’s spoiled and needs to be thrown out immediately.
Smell your sauerkraut: If your kraut smells off or sour in any way, then it’s not safe to eat anymore. If this is the case, then you’ll want to throw it away immediately so that you don’t get sick from eating spoiled food.
Taste the sauerkraut: The best way to tell if the sauerkraut has gone bad is by tasting a small amount of it. If it has a bad taste to it or a taste you’re not familiar with, it’s best to toss them out.
How Long Does Sauerkraut Last?
If you are refrigerating your sauerkraut, it should stay fresh for about four to six weeks after opening.
If you are not planning on using all of your sauerkraut right away, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator and use it within one month for the best taste quality.
If you need to keep sauerkraut longer, it’s recommended to freeze them. Freezing sauerkraut will keep them fresh for 2 months.
For unopened sauerkraut, it will last for about 3-5 years if it’s stored properly in the pantry.
How To Store Sauerkraut
The best way to store sauerkraut is in the refrigerator if it’s been opened. The temperature in the refrigerator keeps the bacteria that cause spoilage from growing. This means you can keep your kraut for several months without having to worry about it going bad.
The first step in how to store sauerkraut is preparing it for storage:
Step 1: Remove any excess water by squeezing the cabbage with your hands or pressing out the liquid with a towel or paper towel.
Step 2: Put the cabbage into a large bowl and mix in salt until well incorporated.
Step 3: Pack tightly into glass jars or plastic containers and cover with brine (1 1/2 tsp salt per quart of water).
Step 4: Place the jar of sauerkraut into the fridge.
Can You Freeze Sauerkraut
Yes, you can freeze sauerkraut if you are not planning to use it within a month. Freezing sauerkraut allows you to store it for later use without worrying about spoilage or loss of nutrients.
Step 1: Wash the sauerkraut thoroughly under cool running water. Pat dry between paper towels or clean dishtowels.
Step 2: Place the sauerkraut into freezer bags or containers that are airtight and can withstand freezing temperatures without puncturing easily. Make sure that each container contains only one layer of sauerkraut so that they freeze evenly.
Step 3: Label the containers of sauerkraut with the date of freezing and place them into the freezer for storage.
3 Tips To Keep Sauerkraut Fresh Longer
Below are some tips to keep sauerkraut fresh longer:
Tip 1: In order to keep sauerkraut fresh, you need to store it in the refrigerator. The best place to store it is in a closed container that is airtight. An airtight container helps prevent air from getting into your sauerkraut and causing it to spoil.
Tip 2: If you do not have an airtight container, try placing a paper towel over your jar of sauerkraut before putting the lid on. This will help absorb any excess moisture in the jar and prevent mold from growing on top of your sauerkraut.
Tip 3: It is important that you keep sauerkraut away from other foods in your refrigerator because it contains lactic acid bacteria that are harmful to other foods and can cause them to spoil more quickly than they normally would if left alone.
As you can see, sauerkraut will eventually go bad. Their shelf life will be determined by when it was opened and where they are stored. For opened sauerkraut, it should either be stored in the fridge or freezer. For sauerkraut that hasn’t been opened, you can store them in the pantry.
Kate has been in the food business for over 20 years. Worked as a cook at several buffets which include Old Country Buffet, Five Star Buffet, and Ichiban Buffet. Now, I’m mostly at home cooking for my family, caring for chickens and ducks, and tending the garden.