Is Canned Sauerkraut Good For You? The Comprehensive Answer
Sauerkraut is not only a healthy source of live probiotics; it's also considered to be a superfood owing to its rich vitamin and mineral content. If you can't ferment your own home-made sauerkraut, your next best option is to buy from the store. Store bought sauerkraut is mostly sold in canned form which doesn't contain natural probiotics; this raises some questions about the superfood. This article explores the benefits and downsides of canned sauerkraut.
What Is Canning?
Canning refers to the process of food preservation, whereby the food content gets processed and sealed in an airtight container. While canning typically provides a shelf life of up to 5 years, canned sauerkraut can be stored for up to 3 years, which is significantly longer than jarred sauerkraut, which can be stored in the fridge for up to 8 months.
Why Do People Can Sauerkraut?
Prolong Its Shelf Life - Canning sauerkraut prolongs its expected shelf life from just about 8 months to over 3 years. The canning process relies on heat, which denatures all enzymes that make it possible for the produce to rot as well as any harmful cultures.
Preserve Nutritional Value - Canning sauerkraut prevents further loss of nutrients via prolonged fermentation or bacterial infestation. This is achieved by sealing the food in an airtight container to keep off all contaminants. It's important to note that over time the nutrients will gradually degrade, so avoid storing canned sauerkraut beyond the indicated shelf life.
Great For Certain Recipes - Canned sauerkraut absorbs salt from the pickling liquid that's used to top off the cans before they are sealed. This salty flavor, together with the mildly acidic tones, give canned sauerkraut the perfect taste profile for certain meals. Canned sauerkraut matches perfectly with spicy meals and recipes that rely on meat.
Storing Surplus Produce - If you had a bumper harvest and you are wondering how to store your fresh winter cabbages or any other variety that only grows annually, then canning is the way to go. Simply ferment the raw cabbages into sauerkraut and can them for future use.
Does Canning Kill Probiotics?
Yes, the canning process involves heat treatment that eliminates all probiotics. The canning process involves heating the sauerkraut to above the boiling point of water, which denatures all living bacteria and yeast cultures. Canning essentially eliminates all probiotic related benefits from sauerkraut, leaving it with only vitamins and minerals.
Can Canned Sauerkraut Contain Natural Probiotics?
No, canned sauerkraut cannot contain natural probiotics as they all die during the heat treatment process. Some manufacturers do opt to add supplemental probiotics to the sauerkraut after the heat treatment, but this cannot be a replacement for the natural probiotics found in raw sauerkraut.
How Do Brands Add Probiotics To Sauerkraut?
To try and make up for the lost probiotics, many brands are incorporating supplemental probiotics in their canned sauerkraut. This is done by adding bacteria and yeast spores into the food before the container is sealed airtight. By the time the spores start to grow into live probiotics, the temperature of the sauerkraut will have cooled down to habitable levels.
Effect Canning Has On The Health Benefits Of Sauerkraut
1. Loss Of Probiotic Benefits
The canning process eliminates all live probiotics from the sauerkraut. As a result, the sauerkraut can no longer be used for probiotic related benefits such as immunity improvement, gut bio restoration, and anti-inflammatory treatment. Reference: link.
2. Loss Of Vitamins
Some of the vitamins in sauerkraut, such as vitamin C, are quite sensitive to heat and will get denatured during the heat treatment process. While the sauerkraut does retain most of its nutritional content during canning, prolonged storage will lead to faster loss of vitamins.
Canned Sauerkraut And Gut Health
While the loss of probiotic benefits does upset the scale, canned sauerkraut still contains dietary fiber, which is essential for your gut health.
Does Canned Sauerkraut Have Enough Probiotics To Help?
Unfortunately, canned sauerkraut does not contain enough probiotics for your gut health.
Best Canned Sauerkraut For Health
1. Frank’s Bavarian Sauerkraut