Yes, you can freeze sauerkraut. Sauerkraut will retain its flavor more readily if you are freezing FRESH sauerkraut. Read on to learn everything there is to know about how to freeze sauerkraut.
Have more sauerkraut than you could possibly eat right now? Freeze your sauerkraut to enjoy during the long winter months. Here's how to do it well and with a minimal mess.
What is the best way to freeze Sauerkraut?
- Start by placing the sauerkraut in quality ziplock bags made for freezing.
- Lay flat to save freezer space.
- Be sure to date the ziplock bag.
- Leave 1-2 inches of headspace to make room for the sauerkraut to expand during freezing.
- Remove as much air as possible before sealing.
- Triple-layer it with more quality ziplock bags made for freezing to prevent freezer burn.
- Sauerkraut freezes best at 0-degrees F or colder.
- The sauerkraut will last up to 8-12 months.
Step 1: Pick a Portion Size
Freezing sauerkraut in smaller portion sizes not only helps the sauerkraut freeze faster but it is the perfect plan for a make-ahead meal such as lunch and dinner for smaller families. Consider what works best for you before you freeze.
Step 2: Choose the Right Container
Need it in a hurry?: Try the round, reusable kind like these freezer-safe DuraHome Food Storage Containers with Lids ($17.91) Quick and easy to thaw, just run cold water over the outside of the container to loosen, and the sauerkraut will pop right out.
Want to save space in your freezer: Fill freezer-safe quart- or gallon-sized plastic bags. Freeze flat and stack in a single layer to save space.
Step 3: Avoid Freezer Burn
Freezer burnt sauerkraut can be avoided! Freezer burn is caused by exposure to air which forms ice crystals in the food. The first step in protecting your food from freezer burn is to keep the air out.
This can be tricky when freezing sauerkraut, as liquid expands when frozen. (Think: cracked containers!) It’s important not to overfill containers. When storing sauerkraut, leave about ½ inch of headroom in the container or zip lock bag. And don't forget to triple-layer it with more quality ziplock bags made for freezing to prevent freezer burn.
Step 4: Label Your Containers
Hate to find a mystery bag of food lurking at the back of your freezer? Say no more! Before placing sauerkraut or any other food in the freezer, label the container with the name and date.
How to Defrost Frozen Sauerkraut
Once you are ready to defrost and eat the sauerkraut, you can set it in the refrigerator for 24-hours to thaw. It is best to eat it as soon as possible after thawing.
A faster method of defrosting sauerkraut is to pop it in the microwave and use the defrost option. If your microwave does not have a defrost option, set the power to 30 - 50% and only run it for one minute at a time. Stir and then run it again until the sauerkraut is sufficiently thawed.
You can also set it on the counter and let it thaw at room temperature; this method should only take a few hours. Use it immediately or place it in the refrigerator and consume it within 3 -5 days.
Contrastingly frozen cabbage has a different texture than fresh cabbage due to the water molecules in the cabbage turning into ice crystals which, as its thaws would become softer than when it was raw.
How Long Does Sauerkraut Last in the Freezer?
For best quality, sauerkraut will last about 8 - 12 months in the freezer.
If you don’t like pushing your luck with that guideline, use the standard test: when in doubt, throw it out. If it smells bad or is mushy, toss it out.
Does Freezing Sauerkraut Kill The Probiotics?
I haven't found any definitive research online about whether or not the probiotics in sauerkraut can survive the freezing process, but I do know that I have frozen whey and kefir grains successfully many times.
If Kefir grains can be frozen and then used again, so why not sauerkraut? Even Kombucha SCOBY has been proven to freeze and reproduce Kombucha afterward.
We know that some of the bacteria will survive the freeze and then reactivate effectively. However, there still is a small amount that does die.
Does Freezing Sauerkraut Destroy The Texture And Taste?
One time, I found a bag of frozen sauerkraut that got shoved in the back of my freezer, and I found them a year later. I served them anyway and was shocked that they still had a good crunch and tangy flavor that I love.
However, I’ve also opened up a bag of frozen sauerkraut to find that it didn’t fare as well and the sauerkraut became all shriveled and soggy. It could have been due to the freezer settings? Who knows why one batch can be great and the next a complete loss.
Read our informative article called How To Tell If Fermented Food Has Gone Bad. This will help you to avoid eating something that can make you sick.
Conclusion: Can You Freeze Sauerkaut?
We hope you found this step-by-step guide on how to freeze sauerkraut helpful. After all, if generations upon generations of people have successfully stored sauerkraut through the long winter months by placing it in wooden barrels and then burying it underground, I think it is a safe bet for you to toss it into the freezer.
If you are ready to make a batch of sauerkraut, please check out our Homemade Sauerkraut Recipe.
Try a new take on Sauerkraut: Avocado Sauerkraut Sushi Recipe
Have an abundance of sauerkraut? Try any one of these 10 Delightful Ways To Eat Sauerkraut. You won't be disappointed.