In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “how long does sauerkraut last” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of sauerkraut. Moreover, we are going to discuss ways to spot bad sauerkraut and the proper way to store sauerkraut.
So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.
How long does sauerkraut last?
The shelf life of sauerkraut depends upon several factors including the main ingredient that sauerkraut is made of, whether it was kimchi sauerkraut, beet sauerkraut, etc, and the storage condition in which sauerkraut is kept.
It is worth mentioning that there are two variants of sauerkraut available in the market and both of them have different shelf lives. 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 it 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.
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 the opened refrigerated sauerkraut lasts for about 3-6 months in the fridge.
On the other hand, when it comes to sauerkraut that is sold unrefrigerated, it lasts for about 3-6 months in a cool, dry, and dark corner of the pantry as long as it is unopened, once it is opened it last for about a week in the refrigerator.
It is worth mentioning that these figures are just the estimated shelf life of the sauerkraut and sauerkraut can even last for more than this, provided that they are stored properly.
You can read about the benefits of sauerkraut here.
Is sauerkraut safe to use after the best-before date?
The “best by” or “best before” date that is written on the bottle of sauerkraut refers to the quality rather than safety so sauerkraut doesn’t necessarily go bad immediately after the best before date. It is 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 and there is no leakage or mold in the bottle of sauerkraut.
How to tell if sauerkraut has gone bad?
Certain indications can point out whether or not your sauerkraut has gone bad. You have to consider the appearance, and smell of sauerkraut to give a final verdict about the sauerkraut.
It is worth mentioning that in the case of unpasteurized sauerkraut, you can notice some bubble formation or slight bulging in the lid of the sauerkraut bottle but it is not an indication of bad sauerkraut as the process of fermentation is still going on in the unpasteurized sauerkraut that is immersed in brine and as a result of gas formation due to fermentation, you can spot the slight bulge in the bottle of sauerkraut.
If you spot a mold on your sauerkraut, then the best thing you can do is to get rid of the sauerkraut as it is an indication of bad sauerkraut and if you consume such sauerkraut, it can cause many foodborne illnesses including food poisoning that is characterized by nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps and sometimes even fever.
Moreover in the case of sauerkraut sold unrefrigerated, if you notice that it has dried out then it is better to discard such sauerkraut.
If you smell an off-smell or something that quite does not smell like the sauerkraut itself while taking a sniff test then it is better to get rid of such sauerkraut.
How to properly store sauerkraut?
- 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.
- Once you open the can of sauerkraut sold unrefrigerated, it is recommended to store the leftovers in the fridge properly.
- On the other hand, the sauerkraut sold refrigerated should be stored in the fridge at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit no matter if it is opened or unopened.
In this brief guide, we answered the question “how long does sauerkraut last” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of sauerkraut. Moreover, we discussed ways to spot bad sauerkraut and the proper way to store sauerkraut.