Can Sauerkraut Go Bad?

Sauerkraut, like most foods, has the ability to go off over time, but just how long does it take before you need to throw it away? If you are a lover of Sauerkraut, then it is important to know when it has gone bad, so you can avoid eating any food that is going to make you unwell.

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Thankfully, there are certain signs for you to look out for that will tell you that your Sauerkraut is no longer fit for purpose, and we are going to tell you what to look out for in this article. We are also going to tell you how to store it properly to stop it going bad so quickly.

What is Sauerkraut?

Sauerkraut is a type of food that has been pickled, and it is essentially a pickled cabbage that gets its unique flavor through the process of being fermented. Sauerkraut is a great side dish that can go with many different meals, and it is high in essential vitamins and dietary fiber.

As well as this, due to the fact that sauerkraut is fermented food, it is also full of probiotics that can aid with digestion. The fermentation aids in digestion too. So 'kraut' is fermented cabbage (shredded cabbage) in brine.

Like all fermented vegetables the brine used to make fermented sauerkraut is part of the fermentation process. The ferment makes unpasteurized sauerkraut edible. Fermenting is a way to aid increase healthy bacteria and reduce harmful bacteria. Homemade sauerkraut can be a tasty vegetable if prepared correctly. I enjoy using the red cabbage leaf in mine. The beneficial bacteria helps digestion.

Does Sauerkraut Go Bad? 

Due to the fact that Sauerkraut has been pickled, it is easy to store and will last for a long time due to its long shelf life. However, it will not last forever, and there will come a time when it goes bad, just like many other foods.

How Long Will Sauerkraut Last?

Even though its shelf life is quite long, it isn’t going to last indefinitely, but it will take quite a while before it goes bad completely. Sauerkraut is a type of food that is preserved in a solution that is made up of vinegar and sugar, and these are two ingredients that are known to extend the shelf life of any food.

The pickling solution actually helps to prevent the growth of bacteria, which is another reason why this food will not spoil easily. The most common reason for sauerkraut to go bad is that it has been stored incorrectly.

How to Tell if Your Sauerkraut Has Gone Bad

Sauerkraut is a fermented dish, which means that it has technically already gone bad. However, there will come a time when the product is too ripe for you to eat it, and one of the biggest signs of this is an off-smell. If you notice a strong unpleasant odor or a rotting smell, then your sauerkraut has gone bad.

You should also always check for a change in color or texture, as these are other signs that your sauerkraut has gone bad. If you notice any significant changes in texture or color, you should throw the product away. As well as this, if you notice any green or blue specs on top of the food, you should know that this is mold, which means that it is no longer safe to eat.

What is the Best Way to Store Sauerkraut?

One of the best ways to store sauerkraut is by keeping it inside the refrigerator, as this will help to minimize the growth of bacteria and minimize the risk of it spoiling. This product will not last long in a hot or humid environment, which is why it is important to keep it stored cold.

This will further extend the shelf life of the product. You should try to keep the product in its original packaging, or transfer it into an airtight container if the packaging is not suitable for refrigeration. 

When sauerkraut is kept in the refrigerator, it will be able to stay fresh for around 6 months, but it could be longer with stable temperatures. Once you have opened your sauerkraut, you should keep it stored in an airtight container to prevent any air getting to it and making it go off faster.

Can You Freeze Sauerkraut?

You can freeze sauerkraut, but this is not typically necessary. Simply putting it in the refrigerator will ensure that it lasts for months, and this is usually more than enough time to get through your leftovers. Freezing it could also change the taste and texture of the sauerkraut, which may not be preferable. Frozen and defrosted sauerkraut simply won’t taste as good as refrigerated sauerkraut.

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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
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