If you’re unfamiliar, sauerkraut is a fermented cabbage dish.
Full of vitamins and minerals, this dish has been around for thousands of years. Some historical studies have found that sauerkraut has been a staple dish of Chinese laborers that built the Great Wall of China. The only difference between ancient Chinese sauerkraut and the one we eat today is that the latter one was fermented in rice wine.
As we mentioned before, sauerkraut is incredibly healthy. Not only is it chock-full of vitamin C, but it also contains vitamin k1, vitamin b6, iron, and numerous other macronutrients.
What’s more, sauerkraut juice is also incredibly healthy. One of the fastest ways to get rid of a hangover is to drink a pint of sauerkraut, and you’ll start feeling better a couple of minutes after.
Since sauerkraut is basically fermented vegetables, many people ask the question: “Can I freeze sauerkraut?.”
The answer is yes, of course. However, there are a couple of things you should know about this dish to be able to freeze it correctly.
In this article, we won’t just fully answer the question above, we’ll also go in-depth about how you should freeze and thaw it.
Interested? Good! Let’s go!
What Is Sauerkraut?
Before we go in-depth about freezing sauerkraut, you first have to learn what this dish is.
Sauerkraut is pickled cabbage you can make at home. All you have to do to make this dish is to shred the cabbage and cure it before you ferment it in an oxygen-free environment for two months or so.
The main reason why people are worried about freezing sauerkraut is because of the fermentation process. This dish is teeming with good bacteria that can help you with digestion. Freezing sauerkraut poses a risk of killing these bacteria.
While it’s still unclear how much cold temperatures can affect these microorganisms, you can rest assured that freezing sauerkraut won’t kill all of them. Thankfully, all you need to get the healthy bacteria up and running is room temperature and a bit of time.
As sauerkraut thaws, so do the bacteria. And the second they thaw, they start multiplying.
The traditional method of making sauerkraut involves just two ingredients: salt and water. This process is known as brine and can also be used on meat and other vegetables. You can also add some vinegar to help with the brining process, but that’s just a matter of taste.
Once you’ve got the cabbage salted and covered with water, you have to leave it for a month or two to ferment. To ensure the fermentation process goes smoothly, you need to move it somewhere dark and cold.
Traditionally, sauerkraut is prepared in the Fall because the temperature is just right. The other reason why people make sauerkraut in the Fall is that that’s when cabbage is ready for harvest.
As we mentioned before, sauerkraut most likely originates from China. However, the country that made this dish famous in the west is Germany. Before modernization, almost every country household in Germany used to make sauerkraut.
Nowadays, sauerkraut can be found in most convenience stores and supermarkets. It’s typically used as a side dish and is also commonly added to foods like sandwiches, burgers, and hotdogs.
If you’re planning on hosting a backyard party, we recommend you stock up on this wonderful food because it can invigorate just about any meal. Once you try a burger with sauerkraut, you’ll find out how tasty this fermented delicacy actually is.
Most importantly, sauerkraut has incredible health benefits.
From vitamins and minerals that can help your immune system to healthy bacteria that help your gastrointestinal system, sauerkraut has got it all!
Can I Freeze Sauerkraut?
As we said in the introduction, of course, you can freeze sauerkraut.
However, you should be aware that freezing sauerkraut will change its taste and texture. What’s more, sauerkraut becomes quite watery as it thaws, resulting in a mushy, bland texture.
We recommend you freeze traditional sauerkraut rather than “quick” versions of it. Traditional sauerkraut will keep its texture and won’t become so mushy and watery when it thaws.
If you don’t have any extra space in your freezer, you can safely store sauerkraut in your fridge. Unfortunately, this method allows for up to seven days of safe storage. Still, storing sauerkraut in the refrigerator is excellent if you don’t have a lot of it, and you think you’ll eat it all during the week.
Supermarket sauerkraut is full of chemicals that prolong its freshness, so it can last much longer than traditional sauerkraut. What’s more, it can last up to six months in your refrigerator. You should periodically check for freshness (more on that later). Still, in most cases, it’ll last for months before supermarket sauerkraut goes bad.
Sauerkraut can last up to a year in the freezer. However, we recommend you consume it in the first month. The longer this dish stays frozen, the more texture and taste it loses. Year-old sauerkraut is all mushy, watery and should be only used for cooking. At least you can salvage some taste if you cook it.
An excellent alternative to refrigerating or freezing sauerkraut is canning it. This method is excellent if you have a large batch of sauerkraut or if you’re short on freezer space.
One thing you should always avoid is refreezing sauerkraut. By refreezing it, you’re just further ruining its texture, and you’re just killing what’s left of beneficial bacteria in the sauerkraut.
How To Freeze Sauerkraut
Lots of people love sauerkraut and want to have some in their kitchen at all times. This results in some people over-purchasing this food. This is totally okay if you have a large family that’ll go through any meal as quickly as possible. However, if this is not the case with you, all that sauerkraut will eventually go bad.
No one wants to have their food go bad, right? This is why you should always be prudent when shopping for food. But, if the inevitable happens, you should practice safety procedures that’ll keep the food from going bad. The simplest method to preserve any food is to freeze it.
Thankfully, freezing sauerkraut is as simple as pie. Anyone can do it. Even if you’re not proficient in cooking, you won’t have any trouble freezing this dish.
Here are the steps you should follow to properly freeze sauerkraut.
1. Buy Freezer Bags
- To properly freeze sauerkraut, you need freezer bags. Any type of freezer bag will do.
- We recommend you split your sauerkraut batch into smaller portions and get freezer bags that can hold that much food.
- As for the type of freezer bag you should get, there are no special rules. Just about any kind of freezer bag will work. Just don’t buy the cheapest ones because they can tear quickly, and you won’t be able to reuse them later.
2. Ready The Freezer Bag
- Once you’ve got your freezer bags, you should take one and open it with one of your hands. After that, you can start spooning the sauerkraut in the bag without spilling any of it.
- You can fill the entire bag if you want, but we recommend you fill only half the bag if you want to avoid any unnecessary spillage. Another reason why you should fill only half the freezer bag is that water expands as it freezes, so if you fill the bag to the brim and freeze it, it can tear as it freezes.
3. Squeezing Out The Air
- Before closing the freezer bag, you should squeeze out all the air from it. You can do this by slowly gliding your hands towards the bag’s seal. Repeat this process as many times as you want, or until you think all air has been squeezed out of the bag.
- After you’ve made sure you squeezed all the air out, close the freezer bag and give it a shake. By shaking it, you will be able to notice any seams or hose that either water or air could penetrate.
4. Label and Freeze
- Before storing the bagged sauerkraut in the freezer, we recommend you label it. You should put the current date and the date at which you stored it in the freezer. If your freezer is set to 0 degrees Fahrenheit, you can keep the sauerkraut frozen for up to a year. Still, we don’t recommend you keep it that long because the longer the sauerkraut is frozen, the worst the texture, and the more watery it’ll be once it thaws.
This brings us to the end of our little journey. We hope you’ve got a satisfactory answer to the question, Can I Freeze Sauerkraut.
We hope you learned something new today. If you did, we encourage you to share this article with your friends and family so they can learn something new too!