Sauerkraut is originally a Chinese recipe. However, it is more used as a condiment in Polish and German cuisines. The Germans love to have it with pork, whereas the Polish pair sauerkraut with kielbasa sausage. The Irish cuisine also uses sauerkraut to accompany corned beef Rueben sandwiches.
Sauerkraut is a cabbage pickle fermented using lactic acid bacteria. The fermentation process takes around three weeks, with the lactic acid reacting with cabbage sugars to give it a distinct sour flavor. Generally, well-fermented sauerkraut has a decent shelf life. Besides, you can keep it refrigerated comfortably for a couple of months. Again, freezing it can extend its shelf life further.
Can You Freeze Sauerkraut?
Generally, there is no need to freeze sauerkraut. But if you have a large stock and might not consume it before the “Best for use” date, you can freeze sauerkraut in the freezer.
How Do You Freeze Sauerkraut?
Ideally, sauerkraut is best frozen when you prepare it at home or open the store-bought pickle. However, a couple of days will not make much difference because sauerkraut refrigerates well. But, we advise checking whether the sauerkraut is suitable for consumption on the day of its freezing.
Freezing Store-Bought Sauerkraut
Unopened sauerkraut can be refrigerated for extended periods. However, you can freeze it on opening the can to extend its shelf life.
- Scoop out sauerkraut pieces into a resealable freezer bag. An airtight container is also an excellent option. Leave some space at the top for it to expand during the freezing process.
- Extract the excess air from the bags and seal them.
- Stick the freezing date label on the container and place it inside the freezer.
Though frozen sauerkraut can remain for extended periods, we recommend consuming it within the first two months.
Freezing Homemade Sauerkraut
Freezing homemade sauerkraut is easy. Homemade sauerkraut has comparatively fewer liquids. Therefore, freezing it is not an issue. Besides, the reduced liquid content ensures maintaining the sauerkraut quality after defrosting.
- Scoop the sauerkraut into an airtight container. Freezer bags are also suitable for the purpose. However, we recommend scooping out consumable portions. Hence, it is better to have smaller ziplock bags for convenient thawing.
- Press the bags slightly to squeeze out excess air from them. Then, seal the bags or the container properly.
- Label the container/bags with the freezing date and set them to freeze.
Freezing Sauerkraut In Ice Cube Trays
Freezing sauerkraut in ice cube trays is beneficial because it allows you to freeze small portions comfortable for consumption at a time.
- Scoop the sauerkraut into the individual compartments of an ice cube tray.
- Freeze it for a couple of hours. It will harden.
- Remove the solidified sauerkraut cubes ad transfer them to a resealable freezer bag.
- Ensure the removal of air before sealing the bag airtight.
- Label it and place the bags inside the freezer to freeze.
How Long Can You Freeze Sauerkraut?
Frozen sauerkraut remains suitable for consumption for eight to twelve months. But, we do not recommend preserving them that long. Instead, we advise consuming it quickly. However, it is better to check the freshness (color, smell, and taste) before serving.
How Long Can You Refrigerate Sauerkraut?
Sauerkraut can remain for six months in the fridge. Freezing is the right option if you need to store it longer.
How Do You Defrost Frozen Sauerkraut?
You can defrost the frozen sauerkraut in three ways.
In The Refrigerator
- Remove the required quantities of sauerkraut from the freezer and transfer them to another container in the fridge.
- Please leave it to thaw overnight because it takes four to six hours. The sauerkraut melts naturally inside the refrigerator.
- After thawing inside the fridge, the defrosted sauerkraut remains fresh for three to five days. Therefore, you can keep it inside the refrigerator and consume it within three to four days.
On The Kitchen Countertop
Defrosting the frozen sauerkraut at room temperature is a viable option if you have time constraints. Place the required quantities of frozen sauerkraut inside a container for a few hours at room temperature. However, we advise consuming it immediately after defrosting.
In The Microwave
Defrosting frozen sauerkraut is possible in the microwave oven. Please place the frozen sauerkraut in a microwave-safe container inside the oven and heat on high power at 10 to 20 seconds time intervals until the sauerkraut thaws completely. However, we recommend consuming the thawed sauerkraut immediately.
Alternatively, you need not defrost the frozen sauerkraut if you plan to use them in cooked dishes like stews or pork. You can directly add the frozen sauerkraut to the recipe with the rest of the ingredients. However, it is better to note that adding frozen sauerkraut to the recipe extends its cooking time.
Can You Refreeze Sauerkraut?
Theoretically, there should not be any problem with refreezing sauerkraut. But, there would not be any need for doing so because you separate the condiment into consumable pieces at the pre-freezing stage itself. However, we do not recommend refreezing defrosted sauerkraut.
Can You Freeze Sauerkraut After Cooking It?
You can freeze sauerkraut cooked with dishes like pork and stews. However, cooking and freezing sauerkraut can kill the probiotics. The lactic acid bacteria cannot withstand the high cooking temperatures. Besides, freezing diminishes its probiotic quality considerably. Nevertheless, it retains its taste.
Can You Freeze Leftover Sauerkraut?
We do not recommend freezing leftover sauerkraut. Instead, you can use it in other recipes after refrigerating it.
Can You Freeze Sauerkraut Juice?
If you have any unused sauerkraut juice, you can freeze it comfortably in the freezer in an airtight container.
Can You Freeze Sauerkraut And Sausage?
Sausage is similar to pork. Hence, freezing sauerkraut and sausage should not be an issue. However, it is essential to cool the dish to room temperature before freezing.
Can You Freeze Sauerkraut Soup?
You can freeze sauerkraut soup and maintain its taste and texture for two to three months.
Sauerkraut is a delicious probiotic dish that people consume worldwide. Generally, it is tricky to freeze probiotic dishes because the bacteria could die at freezing temperatures. Some bacteria survive by staying dormant. However, the lactic acid in sauerkraut can kill the probiotics when frozen. Nevertheless, you can freeze sauerkraut and extend its shelf life.