In this brief guide, we will answer the question “Does sauerkraut go bad?” and discuss the shelf life of pasteurized and unpasteurized sauerkraut. We will also give you tips on how to properly store sauerkraut so that it does not go bad quickly and discuss whether you can freeze it or not. We will also tell you how to tell if sauerkraut has gone bad.
Does sauerkraut go bad?
Yes, sauerkraut can go bad. Unpasteurized sauerkraut goes bad quicker than pasteurized. Unpasteurized sauerkraut contains live bacteria that ferments it. These probiotics are still alive when you buy the jar so the fermentation process is ongoing so it would not last as long once opened.
Pasteurized sauerkraut on the other hand does not contain live probiotics so it will last for a couple of months after opening when stored in the refrigerator.
How long does sauerkraut last?
Store-bought sauerkraut, when unopened, should be used within the ‘best before’ date. After opening, it can last for up to 4-6 months when kept tightly sealed in airtight jars and kept in the fridge.
At room temperature, an opened jar of sauerkraut would not last as long as it will start to dry up and get spoiled a lot quicker than if it was placed in the fridge.
How to store sauerkraut?
Unpasteurized sauerkraut should be kept in the refrigerator when it is opened and even when it’s unopened. This is because unpasteurized sauerkraut has live bacteria in it and they will keep fermenting the cabbage which will make it very sour over time and not enjoyable. Refrigerating the sauerkraut will slow down the fermentation process.
Pasteurized sauerkraut can be kept in a cool, dry and dark place when it is unopened. Once opened, it should be kept in the fridge so that it lasts long. Keeping sauerkraut at room temperature will dry it out and can even have mold growth on it. So transfer it to an airtight container and then store it in the fridge.
The cabbage should be submerged in the brine at all times so that it does not spoil. If the liquid level is low then you can make your own brine by using salt and water and then pour it in the container to fully submerge the cabbage in it.
Can you freeze sauerkraut?
Yes, you can freeze sauerkraut but the texture and taste will be altered when you defrost it. However, keeping it in the refrigerator in an airtight container is enough to extend its shelf life.
How to tell if sauerkraut has gone bad?
You can tell if sauerkraut has gone bad by smelling it. If it smells bad as if it’s rotting then it has been spoiled and should be thrown out.
Next, look for any discoloration on the cabbage. Mold can also grow on sauerkraut and you can not eat it so you will have to throw it out.
Look for any changes in the texture as well. Unpasteurized sauerkraut has live bacteria in it and fermentation is going on in it so the taste and texture will change over time even when it is placed in the fridge. It does not necessarily mean that the sauerkraut has gone bad.
Unpasteurized sauerkraut may also have bubbles in it when you open the bottle and the lid may also be bulging sometimes but this is nothing to worry about as the live bacteria carries out fermentation and carbon dioxide is produced as a result so it causes dizziness and bulging.
If all else looks fine, and there is no growth of mold then you can taste and see if it tastes bad or if it’s fine.
Learn more about sauerkraut and its shelf life here.
In this brief guide, we answered the question “Does sauerkraut go bad?” and discussed the shelf life of pasteurized and unpasteurized sauerkraut. We also gave you tips on how to properly store sauerkraut so that it does not go bad quickly and discussed whether you can freeze it or not. We also told you how to tell if sauerkraut has gone bad.