Freezing is a strongly recommended option that you can use to extend the lifespan of any ingredient. Although this preservation method does not work with all foodstuffs, it is suitable for a myriad of ingredients.
One particular kind of food that has taken people’s interest is sauerkraut. In fact, my email inbox has been full of queries about it, and there is one particular question that many people seem to want to know the answer to: can you freeze sauerkraut? It is a peculiar inquiry, but I have to answer it, nonetheless.
The answer is, yes, you can always freeze sauerkraut. The food won't be harmed or altered by the process, even if you subject it to extremely low temperatures. You should try this, even it’s just the once, as you will learn how to prolong the lifespan of sauerkraut without using any chemicals or artificial food preservatives.
What Is Sauerkraut Anyway?
It is pickled cabbage that you can make at home. Just shred the cabbage and cure it before fermenting it in an oxygen-free environment for around a month or two. The reason why a lot of people are reluctant to freeze sauerkraut is due to its organic composition.
The traditional method of creating sauerkraut just involves salt and water. This process is called brine, which can be used on other meat and vegetables. Some people use vinegar today. With the help of brine, the cabbage is broken down so that it is more digestible.
The origin of sauerkraut is still disputed. China holds the record for being the first country to ferment vegetables, so there is a good chance that fermenting cabbages originated in that nation. After all, cabbage has been one of the staple products of China since ancient times. Their knowledge about this food technique has been passed down to different countries, via the old trade routes.
Now, sauerkraut is a common condiment that is typically added to food like sandwiches, burgers, and hotdogs. If you are planning to host either a backyard or tailgate party, make sure that you have plenty of this particular condiment, as it can invigorate any foodstuff or delicacy, and make a plain burger into a guaranteed showstopper.
But aside from its unique tang, sauerkraut has indispensable health benefits. Because of the natural fermentation process, it is able to provide your body with healthy bacteria that will keep your digestion healthy and active!
How To Freeze Sauerkraut
A lot of people love sauerkraut and want to have this topping in their kitchen all the time. As a result, some of you tend to over-purchase the food. This is okay if you have a lot of mouths to feed who will consume the food as quickly as possible. But if this is not the case, then it will eventually go off. After all, this food won't eat itself.
You don't want this to happen, right? Even I feel sad if there is rotten food in my kitchen. That's why I am always prudent in my purchases while shopping. But if the inevitable does happen, I practice safety procedures that prevent any ingredient from going bad immediately, and the simplest of these methods is freezing.
Luckily, freezing sauerkraut is not a difficult task. Anyone can do it, even people who are not experts in the art of cooking. You just need to follow the instructions below to get the most out of your beloved sauerkraut.
So, yes, you can always freeze sauerkraut, and here’s how to do it.
- The first thing you need to do is to acquire freezer bags. You might need a lot of them depending on the amount of sauerkraut that you are planning to freeze.
- Get the freezer bags ready and open one of them. Keep the bag wide open with one of your hands, so that you can spoon the sauerkraut in there without spilling it. You can fill the whole bag if you want to, but it is best to just half fill the bag if you want to avoid spillage. Ideally, fill the bag up to three inches below its opening.
- Before you close it, make sure that you squeeze out all the air inside the bag by slowly gliding your hands up towards the seal. You can repeat this process as many times as you want. Once this is done, close the bag and bring it to your kitchen sink. Now shake it to test if there are any seams or holes that either water or air could penetrate.
- Before placing the bag in the freezer, you might want to label it first. Write both the current date on it and when you started freezing the sauerkraut. If you set the temperature of your freezer to 0 degrees Fahrenheit, the sauerkraut should still be safe to eat after 10 to 12 months. But I recommend that you don’t wait until the last minute and make sure you consume the food before then.
How Should You Store Sauerkraut?
If you are not going to freeze sauerkraut, its lifespan will be limited. You can refrigerate it in an airtight container, but make sure that you pour in the vinegar and brine solution as well. This is essential as it will keep the ingredient both fresh and eatable. Draining it would be a bad idea as it curtails the food’s shelf life and causes the sauerkraut to lose its flavor.
If you can comply with all of these requirements, the food will remain fresh for as long as five months. But as I said earlier, eating the food near to the expiry date is not advisable, as its flavor and aroma will no longer be as good.
Storing Sauerkraut On The Kitchen Counter: Is It Safe?
Many people think that it is unsafe to store sauerkraut on their kitchen top. The general assumption is that bacteria and other microorganisms can gather on a kitchen counter, and so there are concerns that any food placed there will be exposed to detrimental factors.
In some cases, this generalization is true, especially if we are talking about meat products. But as long as the sauerkraut has been fermented and then put in a container, there is no problem. It will not rot and go off, as the brine solution acts as a natural preservative that prevents the food from spoiling.
Generally, sauerkraut has a long lifespan. This German topping can be stored safely anywhere because of the natural antibacterial agents it contains. Therefore, it is safe to freeze it, refrigerate it or leave this ingredient on your kitchen counter.
You should only freeze sauerkraut if you intend to preserve its lifespan for as long as you can. Other than that, I would suggest that you eat the food on or before its expiration date in order to guarantee its freshness and flavor.
Did you learn from this article? If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to ask me in the comments section below!