Can You Freeze Sauerkraut? A How-To Guide
As sauerkraut becomes more common, its capability to be stored for long-term use via freezing is turning out to be quite beneficial. You can, therefore, ferment a large batch and freeze it for 8 to 12 months. You can also opt to keep it in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
How Long Does It Last In The Freezer?
Fermented sauerkraut can be drained and stored in a freezer bag or container in a frozen state for 8 to 12 months. The freezing process stops all rotting processes and prevents degeneration of nutrients. However, after thawing, the sauerkraut will have lost its crunchiness and texture. This can be reduced significantly by draining or cooking the sauerkraut before freezing it.
Can Frozen Sauerkraut Go Bad?
Eventually, frozen sauerkraut will lose most of its flavor and texture making it go bad once its thawed. Avoid freezing sauerkraut for more than 12 months as the degeneration of texture will be much more pronounced.
How Does Freezing Sauerkraut Affect Its Taste?
The freezing process effectively stops the fermentation process which produces lactic acid- this is the reason why sauerkraut has an acidic flavor. When the production seizes, the food loses its acidic flavor and other taste notes get lost during the thawing process.
Probiotics And Sauerkraut
The fermentation process involves lactobacilli cultures which are introduced to the cabbages naturally during growth. once the cabbage gets pickled the culture expands exponentially and enriches the fermented cabbage with billions of live probiotics.
Health Benefits Of Probiotics In Sauerkraut
Boosting The Immune System - Sauerkraut contains probiotics which have a strong influence on the immune system. Probiotics usually improve the balance of good bacteria in the gut lining which prevents gut-related illnesses. Sauerkraut is also rich in iron and vitamin C which supports a healthy immune system and hastens the healing process. Ref: ncbi.gov
Improving Digestion - Unpasteurized sauerkraut contains billions of live probiotics that help restore the gut flora. Consuming sauerkraut on a regular basis results in an increased population of beneficial bacteria in the digestive system, the bacteria act as the first line of defense against harmful bacteria and toxins. As a result, common problems such as gas, bloating, and diarrhea are greatly reduced. Ref: nih.gov
Weight Loss - Sauerkraut contains dietary fiber which makes you feel full for longer thus reducing the number of meals you consume. This is coupled with its low carb count thus your weight loss activities will be more noticeable. While the mechanism of probiotics on weight loss is not fully understood, scientists have discovered that probiotics rich food encourages more weight loss. Ref: sciencedirect.com
Does Freezing Sauerkraut Kill Probiotics And Health Benefits?
The freezing process shuts down the fermentation process and freezes the probiotics in sauerkraut. The probiotics remain in this dormant state until the sauerkraut is thawed and returned to room temperature. During which the live probiotics will resume normal probiotic health benefits.
How To Freeze Sauerkraut
Before freezing sauerkraut it's recommended to drain out the liquid first so as to preserve some of the flavor and texture.
Step By Step Freezing Process
Freezer bag or container
Ice cube trays or a muffin tin
1. If you are dealing with homemade sauerkraut that’s still in its liquid you should use a large sieve to drain out the liquid. If you are using cooked sauerkraut ensure that the soup gets drained off.
2. Measure out small serving amounts into individual ice cubes or a muffin tin for large serving sizes. This prevents having to thaw and refreeze large amounts of sauerkraut every time you need to cook it.
3. Freeze the sauerkraut overnight or at least for 4 hours when they will have frozen solid.
4. Transfer the individually frozen pieces of sauerkraut into freezer bags and squeeze out as much air as you can before sealing them.
5. Transfer the freezer bag into a freezer and keep under constant frozen temperature until when you need to consume the sauerkraut. The sauerkraut can remain frozen for 8 to 12 months.
How To Defrost Sauerkraut
The process of defrosting sauerkraut will depend on the equipment at hand and the amount of time you have to prepare the meal. There are 3 main methods of defrosting sauerkraut: thawing on the countertop, defrosting in the microwave, and in the fridge.
Thawing Sauerkraut On the Countertop
1. Large bowl
2. A smaller dish that can fit well in the middle f the larger bowl
1. Measure out the required serving amount of frozen sauerkraut from your storage and place it in the smaller dish.
2. Halfway fill the large bowl with tap water and set it on the countertop.
3. Gently place the small dish of sauerkraut in the middle of the larger bowl and let it sit at room temperature for a few hours or overnight.
4. Use the thawed sauerkraut immediately once it's fully thawed.
Defrosting In The Microwave
1. Microwave safe bowl
2. A microwave-safe lid
1. Transfer the frozen sauerkraut into the microwave-safe bowl. Use the lid to loosely cover the sauerkraut to prevent splatters all over the microwave.
2. Set the microwave to 30- 59% power. Thawing on a lower temperature setting allows the sauerkraut to get warm all the way through and thaw without overcooking the outer layer. Alternatively, you can use the defrost setting that’s available on some microwave models.
3. Stir the sauerkraut after every 1 minute of heating until it's thawed through. Use the heated sauerkraut immediately.
Defrosting Sauerkraut In The Fridge
1. Fridge ready container equipped with a lid
1. Transfer the frozen sauerkraut into the fridge ready container and cover with a lid.
2. Place the container in your fridge in the lower shelves which are much warmer.
3. The sauerkraut can thaw overnight and later on stored in the fridge for 3 to 5 days.
Can You Freeze Cooked Sauerkraut?
Yes, you can freeze cooked sauerkraut for up to 12 months.
Can You Freeze Pork And Sauerkraut?
Yes, it's possible to freeze pork and sauerkraut without separating them. However, ensure that you drain out the liquid so that the food can retain some of its texture.
Can You Freeze Canned Sauerkraut?
Yes, it's possible to freeze canned sauerkraut once the can has been opened. Simply drain the sauerkraut and store it in a freezer container for up to 2 months frozen.
Can You Freeze A Bag Of Sauerkraut?
Sauerkraut can be frozen in a freezer bag, avoid freezing sauerkraut in package bags as they might not be freezer ready.
How Long Can You Keep Sauerkraut In The Refrigerator?
Sauerkraut can be kept in the fridge for up to 6 months while still submerged in its fermentation liquid.
Can You Freeze Sauerkraut After Its Cooked?
Sauerkraut can be frozen after cooking for 3 months.