Sauerkraut is a delicious and healthy side dish that has been popular in many cuisines for centuries. This fermented cabbage dish is loaded with nutrients and probiotics that are beneficial for our gut health. The popularity of sauerkraut has grown over the years, and it’s now widely available in supermarkets and grocery stores. However, if you’re new to sauerkraut, you might be wondering how long it actually lasts.
The good news is that sauerkraut has a pretty long shelf life when stored properly. However, there are a few factors that can affect its longevity.
The first factor that affects the longevity of sauerkraut is the method of preparation. Homemade sauerkraut tends to last longer than store-bought sauerkraut because it’s made with fewer preservatives and additives. Additionally, homemade sauerkraut is usually fermented for longer periods, which means it’s more acidic and has a lower pH level than store-bought sauerkraut. A lower pH level means that harmful bacteria can’t grow, and the sauerkraut will last longer.
Another factor that affects the shelf life of sauerkraut is the method of storage. Sauerkraut should always be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This will help prevent moisture and air from getting in, which can cause the sauerkraut to spoil faster. If you’re storing homemade sauerkraut, it’s best to use a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Plastic containers can absorb the flavors of the sauerkraut and can also leach harmful chemicals into the food over time.
In general, sauerkraut can last for several months in the refrigerator if stored properly. Store-bought sauerkraut usually has a best-by date printed on the package, which can give you a general idea of when to consume it. However, the best way to tell if sauerkraut has gone bad is by its appearance, smell, and taste.
If your sauerkraut has started to turn brown or develop mold, it’s no longer safe to eat. The same goes for sauerkraut that has a foul odor or tastes sour or rancid. In these cases, it’s best to discard the sauerkraut and make a fresh batch.
To maximize the shelf life of sauerkraut, make sure to keep it in the back of the refrigerator where it’s coldest. Additionally, avoid storing sauerkraut near foods with strong odors, as this can cause the sauerkraut to take on unwanted flavors.
In conclusion, sauerkraut can last for several months when stored properly in the refrigerator. Factors such as the method of preparation and storage can affect its longevity. When it comes to determining if sauerkraut has gone bad, always use your senses. If it looks, smells, or tastes off, it’s best to err on the side of caution and discard it. By following these guidelines, you can enjoy your sauerkraut for months to come.