Does sauerkraut go bad? Does any pickled food go bad? Storage, expiration, and more explained!
There are foods we know we need to eat quickly and foods, where we will puzzle over the length of time it will take to eat.
For example, we know that we could leave mustard in the fridge for a while, and it would be good, but could we say the same about chicken or fish. No, absolutely not, that food spoils like it’s nobody’s business.
Introduction: Does Sauerkraut Go Bad?
The point is guessing when something will go off is a difficult affair and the longer the food lasts the more vague the recommendations for when to stop eating it becomes.
This is especially true for those foods that come premade in jars. Were they fresh before they went in, and did they even need to be fresh beforehand? It’s anyone’s guess.
So, when someone comes to you with a jar of sauerkraut, and you ask when they opened it, they probably will give some offhand comment about it never going off.
You may laugh at this, but we all know in the back of our minds that we are thinking about it. So, when exactly does sauerkraut go off? Does it last forever? In this article, we will explore the age of sauerkraut and when you should consider throwing it out.
What Is sauerkraut?
If you’ve never heard of sauerkraut, then let’s take a step back and give you a quick overview. Sauerkraut is finely chopped raw cabbage that has been fermented.
The way this is done is the same type of method that also makes pickles and kimchi, in that it is shredded finely, heaped with salt, and then left to ferment.
Unlike pickles, sauerkraut does not use a brine for this fermentation, instead relying on the cabbages’ own juices to create the solution necessary. No further processes are required for the fermentation to take place without any problems.
No pasteurization or refrigeration is necessary to this process, though they will aid in shelf life. As long as the container the sauerkraut is in is airtight, you should be fine.
The sauerkraut itself normally takes between 14 and 21 days to fully ferment, and this may seem like a long time, but the amount of sauerkraut you get from this fermentation can be enormous.
You can keep making it as long as you have cabbage, salt, and containers to put it in, meaning that you could feasibly fill your house with the mixture.
Does It Go Bad?
Sauerkraut is just pickled cabbage, and it was probably originally made with the purpose of making food supplies last longer, as pickled foods last much, much longer than their fresh equivalents. In a way, it is one of the superior pickled foods, as it can be store easily and once opened it still lasts a long time.
Unfortunately, this does not mean that sauerkraut will last forever, as much as we want it to. All good things must pass, it just takes some of them a little longer than the rest.
For fully cured sauerkraut that has been stored correctly – in the case of sauerkraut, that is at 60 degrees Fahrenheit (or 15 degrees Celsius) or below in an airtight container – then it should keep for several months without any problems.
It is probable that this answer annoys a lot of people, as it is very vague. The issue with many long shelf-life foods is that it is difficult to give an accurate answer to how long they will last, as the length of time increases so too does the potential chances that it will rot or be eaten by bacteria.
What makes this more annoying is the fact that sauerkraut, as a fermented food, has technically already gone bad, so trying to find out whether it is bad or not is a challenge. Yet, there are ways to tell, and one of the biggest is smell.
See, sauerkraut should smell sour, but not unpleasant or rotten. If you smell the latter two smells, then your sauerkraut is bad, and you should throw it out.
Another way to tell is if the sauerkraut has changed either color or texture. If it has then, it is time to get rid of it as it is turning and soon will be completely rotten.
For more frequently asked questions, visit our index of food-related questions and answers. Here are a few suggestions for you:
Benefits Of Eating Sauerkraut
If you haven’t already given sauerkraut a try, you should. It is an incredibly good food for the human body in many ways. For starters, it is incredibly nutritious and is high in vitamin C, k1, b6, iron, manganese, and fiber.
The bacteria culture in the sauerkraut itself also make it excellent as a probiotic. Probiotics are essentially the bacteria cultures that live in your gut and are crucial to digestion.
An imbalance in these cultures can lead to digestive issues, like diarrhea and constipation, so introducing them into your gut can make those problems ease or disappear.
This aide to gut digestion and the sheer amount of nutrients in sauerkraut can also help boost your immune system.
Your gut is one of the strongest influences on your immune system’s health, and having a healthy gut biome is a sure-fire way to make sure that no harmful bacteria make it directly into your body.
Sauerkraut is also low in calories and high in fiber, which is the perfect combination to losing weight. This food can give you everything you need to survive, while also filling you up for the day, which is exactly what you want.
Final Thoughts: Does Sauerkraut Go Bad?
Sauerkraut, like all foods, will go bad eventually. However, unlike other foods, it will take properly stored sauerkraut months to get there, and even if the sauerkraut isn’t stored that well, it will still take some time.
Not only that, but sauerkraut is insanely good for you, from the amount of nutrients, the probiotics, and the overall boosts that it gives your body, there should be nothing stopping you from adding a little to your diet.
If you haven’t tried sauerkraut yet, give it a go. You may like it more than you thought.