Sauerkraut is a great dish, but it’s one best used sparingly instead of huge amounts, because of its distinctive flavor which has a kick. So it’s very handy that you can freeze it!
Before fridges were invented, people would keep sauerkraut in jars, only using what was necessary.
Today, a lot of people are confused about what they can freeze, and what they can’t. It can be difficult to know, and there’s no point wasting whole dishes just to see which it will be.
When it comes to freezing dishes, some work fantastically well, tasting nearly exactly like they did as if you made them fresh. Some just taste like a freezer.
So when it comes to sauerkraut, which is it? Firstly, it’s helpful to know a little more about what sauerkraut contains.
Sauerkraut consists of shredded fermented cabbage (see also How To Freeze Cooked Cabbage), using bacteria found in lactic acid, which reacts with the sugars found naturally within the cabbage.
It produces a very sour flavor, and provides a great accent to all sorts of dishes. It’s usually used as a condiment in burgers (see also How To Freeze Ketchup), soups, and Reuben sandwiches.
While it helps that the taste of this dish is unique, it’s also very good for you, as the beneficial bacteria is good for your gut health.
You can eke out sauerkraut and make it last longer by freezing it, but this only works well with very fresh sauerkraut.
While you can freeze it, it’s best to keep it in a jar in the fridge, as it will last up to 2 or 3 months at a time before it goes bad.
Really, the only time you need to turn to the freezer to preserve sauerkraut is when you have far too much sauerkraut. If you know you won’t get through it all before it goes off, it’s time to use the freezer.
How Do You Freeze Sauerkraut?
If you have a lot of sauerkraut that you know you won’t get through, freeze it on the day you make it, or the day you open it, if you bought it from a shop.
Since sauerkraut lasts for a relatively long time, you could freeze it days or weeks after you open it, though it won’t be as fresh, and there may be some loss in quality.
As long as you know the sauerkraut is safe to eat before you throw it into the freezer, it should do fine.
The best way of freezing surplus sauerkraut is to portion it into containers that will withstand the freezer, and seal them. Write the date on the top, and shove it into the freezer.
Sauerkraut will last up to 6 months in the freezer, but it’s recommended to use it within a month of freezing it, as it will still retain its quality at this point. The longer you leave it in the freezer, the more flavor it will lose.
How To Freeze Cooked Sauerkraut
Making homemade sauerkraut is so satisfying, and you can freeze it. The less liquid in your sauerkraut, the better it will freeze.
Using vegetables with a high amount of water content will mean that the quality may be affected once you freeze it and then thaw it.
The best way to freeze cooked sauerkraut is to wait until it’s cool. Grab a freezer-safe container, and put the sauerkraut in.
In order to speed up the thawing process, it’s worth dividing sauerkraut into batches of single servings and freezing them.
Make sure you write the date on the container, as this will also give you an idea of when you should use it.
How Do You Defrost Sauerkraut?
There are several ways to defrost sauerkraut. What’s best depends on how much time you have, what kind of portion you froze, and what you plan on using it for.
In the fridge, overnight: this is a very low-effort way of doing it, and you don’t have to supervise it.
Simply put it into the fridge to defrost, and you can leave it there for up to 5 days before you use it, if you need to.
Microwave it: this will obviously make the texture of the sauerkraut change, and don’t forget to use the defrost setting for best results.
Turn the microwave on for short bursts, a maximum of 30 seconds at a time, until it has fully thawed.
Using this method, you’ll need to use it immediately after thawing.
Leave it out on the counter: you can simply take it out of the freezer and place it on the counter, and wait. This is a slow process, and the bigger the portion, the longer it will take to defrost.
You can put the (sealed) container into tepid water in order to make it thaw quicker. Once thawed, you’ll need to use it straight away.
Add directly to a cooking dish: if you’re cooking a meal, and you want to use a relatively small amount of sauerkraut, you don’t need to defrost it first.
Simply add the frozen sauerkraut, making sure to cook the dish for a couple of minutes extra to let the temperature climb back up.
Freezing Sauerkraut: Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Freeze Cooked Sauerkraut and Pork Together?
As long as the sauerkraut and the pork (see also Freezing Cooked Ham) are cooked through, you can freeze both together. You should freeze it the minute it has cooled, in order to stop harmful bacteria from growing.
Transfer the dish into a suitable freezable container, making sure to get rid of any excess air before you seal it.
It’s also helpful to divide the dish into portions to make it easier to defrost. Don’t forget to write the storage date, and freeze it.
For best results, try reducing the liquid in the dish before you freeze it, and this will help any vegetables retain their texture.
To reheat your sauerkraut and pork dish, either putting it into the oven or using a frying pan is the best way to go.
Can You Freeze Kielbasa and Sauerkraut Together?
You can freeze sauerkraut and kielbasa with no problems. You just need to make sure that the dish is fully cool, and divide into suitable portions.
You can freeze this dish into bags or containers, whichever will fit into your freezer, as long as they are fully sealable.
Label the containers with the date you froze the dish, and what it is, in case you forget, and put them in the freezer.
You should at least partly defrost this dish before attempting to cook it, at least for an hour. This will prevent the dish from getting too hot quickly and ruining the dish.
If You Freeze Sauerkraut, Does It Kill The Probiotics In The Sauerkraut?
Most fermented foods (see also Can You Freeze Kimchi?) have a lot of beneficial probiotics, which promote gut health.
Sauerkraut is no exception, but can you freeze it without losing the health benefits of this dish?
Well, yes, and no. Probiotic bacteria are sensitive to changes in temperatures, and there is a chance that some of them will die when the dish is frozen. Some will go dormant instead, but there will be fewer of them once you thaw the sauerkraut.
It is also worth pointing out that the lactic acid that creates these probiotics can also kill them as the acidity level gets higher, and freezing will also kill some of them
Freezing sauerkraut can be a little more complicated than freezing other dishes, but it’s not impossible. As long as you freeze it safely and use it within the recommended time frame, there’s no reason you shouldn’t.