How long can sauerkraut last in the fridge?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “how long can sauerkraut last in the fridge” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of sauerkraut. Moreover, we are going to discuss tips to properly store sauerkraut.

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

How long can sauerkraut last in the fridge?

The shelf life of sauerkraut varies depending upon the type of sauerkraut and the storage condition it is kept into.

Sauerkraut sold refrigerated

Sauerkraut sold refrigerated lasts for about 6 months or even more past its packaging date as long as it is unopened and properly stored in the fridge. 

On the other hand, as soon as you open your refrigerated sauerkraut, the clock starts ticking, and there is a limited time during which you can enjoy the optimum quality of sauerkraut. The opened refrigerated sauerkraut lasts for about 3-6 months when stored in an air-tight container or plastic zipper bag in the fridge.

Sauerkraut sold unrefrigerated

Opened sauerkraut that is sold unrefrigerated lasts for about a week when stored properly in an air-tight container or plastic zipper bag in the fridge at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Thus, the cold temperature of the fridge will decrease the rate of bacterial growth and will subsequently prolong the shelf life of your sauerkraut.

It is worth mentioning that the sauerkraut sold refrigerated is the one in which cabbage is submerged in the brine and it has to be kept refrigerated. 

On the other hand, the sauerkraut that is sold unrefrigerated is shelf stable as long as it is unopened and can stay good in a cool, dry, and dark corner of your pantry but once you open your sauerkraut it is recommended to store it in the fridge afterward.

What is the optimum temperature to store sauerkraut?

You should always store your sauerkraut at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below in the fridge. Bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between the temperature of 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, therefore it is always advised to store sauerkraut at a lower temperature to preserve their freshness and quality for a long time.

How long can sauerkraut last at room temperature?

Open as well as unopened sauerkraut that is sold refrigerated or the open sauerkraut that is sold unrefrigerated, all last for about 2 hours when left out of the fridge at room temperature. 

You should discard the sauerkraut that has been left in open for more than 2 hours as bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between the temperature of 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, therefore there are greater chances of the sauerkraut being already contaminated with bacteria when left out for more than 2 hours.

Moreover, if the temperature of the surroundings is about 90 degrees Fahrenheit, then the process of spoilage takes place at a faster pace and it is recommended to discard sauerkraut that is left out in the open for more than an hour at 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

The only exception to this is the unopened sauerkraut that is sold unrefrigerated. Sauerkraut that is sold unrefrigerated lasts for about 3-6 months in a cool, dry, and dark corner of the pantry away from direct sunlight and heat.

It is worth mentioning that the figures mentioned above are the estimated shelf life of the sauerkraut.

Is sauerkraut safe to use after the best-before date?

The “best by” or “best before” date that is written on the can of sauerkraut refers to the quality rather than safety so sauerkraut doesn’t necessarily go bad immediately after the best before date. 

This date refers to the time during which you can enjoy the peak quality and flavor of sauerkraut but you can still use sauerkraut that is past this date as long as it was stored properly, there is no leakage in the can and no signs of mold are present.

Tips to properly store sauerkraut

  1. An unopened pack of sauerkraut sold unrefrigerated can be stored in a cool, dry, and dark corner of your pantry away from direct sunlight and heat and it can stay there for quite a long time but you can also store it in the refrigerator to further prolong its shelf life.
  1. Once you open the can of sauerkraut sold unrefrigerated, it is recommended to store the leftovers in the fridge properly.
  1. You should always store your sauerkraut that is sold refrigerated at 40°F or below. Bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between the temperature of 40°F and 140°F, therefore it is always advised to store your sauerkraut at a lower temperature.
  1. It is a good practice to store sauerkraut on one of the shelves of the refrigerator rather than the door as there is a lot of temperature fluctuation at the door of the fridge that can mess up the quality of sauerkraut.
  1. In case you want to make sauerkraut at home, you should wash the cabbage that you are going to use for making sauerkraut thoroughly. Moreover, all the utensils that you are going to use in making sauerkraut and the counter or surfaces with which cabbage comes in contact should be properly cleaned.

You can read the health benefits of sauerkraut here.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “how long can sauerkraut last in the fridge” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of sauerkraut. Moreover, we discussed tips to properly store sauerkraut.

Citations

https://www.clevelandkitchen.com/blogs/blog/how-long-does-sauerkraut-last#:~:text=If%20you%20are%20refrigerating%20your,it%20can%20immediately%20become%20spoiled.
https://www.doesitgobad.com/does-sauerkraut-go-bad/
https://www.canitgobad.net/can-sauerkraut-go-bad/
https://www.stilltasty.com/fooditems/index/18272

Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.