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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


2.  Silver Floss Barrel Sauerkraut

Common Canned Sauerkraut Questions

What Is The Healthiest Sauerkraut To Buy?
The healthiest sauerkraut to buy would be any brand that's indicated to be 'raw unpasteurized sauerkraut.'
Is It Okay To Eat Sauerkraut Every Day?
Yes, it's perfectly okay to eat sauerkraut on a daily basis. If you have any pre-existing conditions, and this is your first-time consuming sauerkraut, you should seek your doctor's advice on the best serving amount.
Does Heating Sauerkraut Kill The Probiotics?
Yes, heating sauerkraut will gradually kill the probiotics as the temperature rises.
Is Sauerkraut Good For Your Liver?
Sauerkraut contains live probiotics which eliminate bacterial and toxins from the digestive system before it gets through to the liver.
Should Sauerkraut Be Rinsed?
The choice of whether or not to rinse the sauerkraut should be guided by the recipe.
Which Sauerkraut Has The Most Probiotics?
Raw and unpasteurized sauerkraut contains the most natural balance of live probiotics.
Is Store Bought Sauerkraut Still Good For You?
Most store-bought sauerkraut is not suitable for you as it has been pasteurized, thus eliminating all potential probiotic benefits.
How Much Sauerkraut Should I Eat Daily?
You can comfortably consume up to 7 oz of sauerkraut per day.
Why Is Sauerkraut So Good For You?
Sauerkraut is excellent for your digestive system and immune system, thanks to its rich probiotic content. Sauerkraut is also rich in vitamins and minerals.
Is Sauerkraut Good For Weight Loss?
Yes, sauerkraut contains live probiotics which enhance the digestive system and increase the metabolism. Sauerkraut is also full of dietary fiber, and its low in carbs as a result of consuming sauerkraut will make you feel fuller and for longer.
What's The Difference Between Bavarian Sauerkraut And Regular Sauerkraut?
Bavarian sauerkraut has a milder and sweeter taste, unlike regular sauerkraut, which is mildly acidic.
How Long Does Jarred Sauerkraut Last?
Jarred sauerkraut can last for up to 8 months.
Is Classic Sauerkraut Fermented?
Yes, classic sauerkraut undergoes fermentation for about 20 days.
Does Sauerkraut Count As A Vegetable?
Yes, sauerkraut is primarily made of cabbages, which are vegetables.
What Do You Eat Sauerkraut With?
Sauerkraut matches perfectly with meat recipes.

1 comment

  • Can I mix raw sauerkraut with canned sauerkraut to increase the amount of probiotics?

    - Janet

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