So you’ve purchased sauerkraut and you only add a spoon or two in your diet and suddenly just realized that it will take some time ‘til you finish the whole pack.
At some point in your life, perhaps you start to ask yourself, does sauerkraut go bad?
Do you want to know the answer? If yes, then read on. In this post, we will discuss if sauerkraut goes.
But aside from that, we will also add other relevant information such as how to store it, how long does sauerkraut last, and how to tell if it has gone bad.
Let’s get started.
What is Sauerkraut Anyway?
Sauerkraut is a cabbage that is chopped finely which has been preserved in saltwater. Further, it was made as a way to keep extra cabbages throughout the wintertime.
Sauerkraut, on the other hand, is fermented using different lactic acid bacteria. As a matter of fact, this food has a long life shelf life.
Moreover, this fermented cabbage product is very popular because it’s rich in Vitamin C. And unlike fresh cabbage, Sauerkraut is more digestible (source).
Other than that, these fermented foods will help you in digesting other foods a lot easier. However, the most significant benefit of that it will last a long time most especially if you keep it properly.
Unlike a homemade fermented cabbage, sauerkraut that is readily accessible on the store has artificial flavors and colors as well as added chemicals. That is why, if you want to eat sauerkraut that is free from these ingredients, then consider making it at home.
How Long Does Sauerkraut Last? Does Sauerkraut Go Bad?
If the sauerkraut is kept under an optimal storage condition it will last for several months. However, if you want to store it for a longer period of time then you need to set the temperature of your freezer into 36 degrees.
On the other hand, sauerkraut that is vinegar-based will also last for months, whereas, products that are made with meat juices or fats, as well as salt brine, will spoil more rapidly.
Sauerkraut that is not refrigerated must be consumed with a month of opening since room temperature air causes it to dry and drop its flavor (source). However, it could stay it in its unopened contained until you are ready to consume it, of course before its best by date.
When kept under a favorable condition and made carefully, homemade sauerkraut lasts for more than one year especially if you place the sealed jar in boiling water. Bu canned sauerkraut has a longer shelf life.
Thought sauerkraut has a longer life, it will go bad as well particularly if it’s not kept in pickle solutions. The vinegar will act as a natural preservative and antibacterial agent.
In fact, the inadequate liquid will cause the sauerkraut to dry out and lose its flavor as well as turn the color into brown. If you notice these, it is highly recommended that you throw your fermented cabbage as soon as possible.
A few days after the expiration date, you can still use it IF there is no mold development as well as a bad smell.
How to Tell If Sauerkraut Is Bad? Sauerkraut Shelf Life!
The following are some of the obvious signs that your sauerkraut has gone bad.
Sauerkraut will have a darkened color since it is exposed to air or it is kept above the saltwater. But in this case, you can still consume the rest safely by removing the darkened color properly.
On the other hand, if you notice greenish-blue specks on top of your pickles, your sauerkraut has become moldy and it’s no longer safe to consume.
Another sign that your sauerkraut has gone bad is that its texture becomes weird. If this happens make sure to dispose it quickly.
When you smell the sauerkraut make sure it should not smell rancid and give foul odors. That is why if the smell is quite different than what you are expecting, it’s time to throw it in the bin.
If the fermented cabbage smells and at the same time looks good, but it is in the counter for a long time go ahead and then taste it. If the taste is unpleasant, don’t eat it because there is a possibility that the sauerkraut might have turned soft and drop some of its flavors.
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t eat it since it’s still safe to consume and edible.
How to Store Sauerkraut Properly?
Keeping it in the refrigerator is one of the best ways to store sauerkraut. In fact, refrigeration will help in inhibiting the development of bacteria and minimizing the possibility of spoilage.
This food doesn’t keep in humid and hot environments well, this is why you need to store it in cold storage. Actually, by simply storing it in your refrigerator, you will be able to extend its life even more.
When storing sauerkraut, you can utilize its original pack. But if it is canned sauerkraut, you need to transfer it to a plastic or glass container. Take note, cans aren’t suitable for refrigeration.
However, the container should be closed tightly after using it because the cabbage may possibly dry out.
Either way, we do not recommend storing this fermented product at room temperature. Even though the pickling solution may possibly extend the vegetable’s life, the storage life will not be as long due to the unbalanced temperature.
And just like any other foods, you can freeze this as well. But it is worth mentioning that freezing isn’t indispensable at all, because refrigeration is enough in order to extend the product’s life. In addition to that, freezing may possibly change the flavor and texture of sauerkraut.
Defrosted as well as frozen sauerkraut will be as delicious as sauerkraut that is refrigerated. But, if you want to freeze the food, make sure to transfer it a container that is freezer-safe.
Nevertheless, you can also leave your sauerkraut on your kitchen counter. Note, it won’t make the food bad, instead, it will become soft.