Pork and sauerkraut go together like…well, pork and sauerkraut! The sweet, saltiness of the pork combines deliciously with the tanginess of sauerkraut, making it a favorite dish of many. It even gets some special recognition as a fun New Year’s Eve tradition!
Eating pork and sauerkraut at the stroke of midnight is supposed to bring good luck in the coming year. But what if you’ve had your fill and want to store the leftovers for another meal? There are great ways to keep pork and sauerkraut for future use, including the freezer.
Generally speaking, you can freeze pork and sauerkraut. Sauerkraut is made by pickling and fermenting cabbage. This process allows the kraut to be stored for long periods of time, up to one year in the freezer. Pork can also be stored for up to one year in the freezer.
- Can Pork And Sauerkraut Be Frozen?
- Can You Freeze Cooked Pork And Sauerkraut?
- How Long Can You Freeze Pork And Kraut?
- How Long Can You Keep Pork And Sauerkraut In The Refrigerator?
- How To Defrost Pork And Sauerkraut?
- Final Thoughts
- Related Guides
Can Pork And Sauerkraut Be Frozen?
Keeping leftover pork and sauerkraut in the freezer is a great way to make sure that you have this delicious combo on hand at all times. There are a few special steps that you should take, especially when freezing sauerkraut, which is often made in glass jars.
You can freeze pork and sauerkraut in separate containers or together. If you are starting with two separate dishes, it’s often best to freeze them separately. This allows you to use them at different times in multiple ways.
If you have already cooked and prepared pork and sauerkraut together, storing them in one freezer container is the easiest, especially if you want to eat them in the same way again.
How To Properly Freeze Sauerkraut?
Sauerkraut is made by letting shredded cabbage ferment over a period of a few weeks. If you make sauerkraut in your own kitchen, it’s important that you follow the right sanitization process for your storage jars and tools.
Fermenting allows certain bacteria to grow. In the case of sauerkraut, this happens through lactic acid fermentation. Once it is fermented, the helpful bacteria keep the kraut from spoiling and create a tangy flavor.
Most home cooks use glass jars to make sauerkraut. These can be sanitized easily and reused over time. This is a great solution but does present a few challenges when it comes to freezing.
To freeze sauerkraut, transfer your sauerkraut to a plastic jar or container. You can even use a heavy-duty freezer bag. Simply place the sauerkraut in the container and pop it in the freezer. It’s best to leave some room in the container for the liquid to expand.
Tip: If you are not sure how much room to leave in your jar of sauerkraut, start by filling it halfway. Let it freeze and see how much the contents expanded. Adjust your process the next time you freeze sauerkraut until you have it down.
Keep in mind that the liquid content of homemade sauerkraut can vary from batch to batch.
If you have purchased sauerkraut from the store, it is more likely to come in a plastic container. This makes it a bit easier to freeze since you don’t need to worry about transferring the contents to a different storage jar or bag. If it makes it easier for you to keep your freezer organized, however, feel free to do so.
How To Freeze Pork?
Storing meat in the freezer is a fantastic way to extend its shelf life and take advantage of sales and bulk purchasing options. Foodsafety.gov, a website run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, recommends storing pork in the freezer for up to 12 months.
To make sure your pork lasts the longest and tastes the best after being frozen, try to remove as much air from your freezer-safe plastic storage container or bag. I like placing raw, uncooked pork chops or other cuts in a heavy-duty Ziploc bag made specifically for the freezer. Once you have the desired quantity, press as much air as you can from the bag.
Seal it and store it in your freezer.
Tip: Freeze individual portions or meal-sized portions for your family in their own bags. This way you only need to take out and defrost what you need for cooking.
Can You Freeze Cooked Pork And Sauerkraut?
Fortunately, freezing pork and sauerkraut cooked together is simple and easy. Transfer any leftover prepared pork and sauerkraut to a plastic container made for the freezer. You can store pork and sauerkraut in a freezer-safe plastic bag but it does tend to get a bit messier as you transfer your leftovers.
I recommend storing pork and sauerkraut together in a freezer-safe container. When you are ready to eat it, you only need to take out and defrost one dish. This also cuts down on the dishes that you will need to wash. Win-win!
Can You Freeze Already Cooked Pork?
Yes, cooked pork is easy to freeze and makes a fast, delicious leftover meal.
If you are freezing already cooked pork, simply follow the same steps that you did to freeze raw, uncooked pork. Pork can get a bit dried out if frozen cooked, especially after being reheated. Freezing it with sauerkraut is a great way to make sure some liquid stays with the meat.
Can You Freeze Sauerkraut After It’s Been Cooked?
Sauerkraut is fermented rather than cooked. The fermentation process actually helps keep it from spoiling, whether you store it in the freezer, fridge, or pantry. If you prepare sauerkraut with another food in a dish, like pork, simply follow the best storage tips and process for the dish as a whole.
How Long Can You Freeze Pork And Kraut?
Pork and sauerkraut can be stored in the freezer for up to 12 months. This applies to situations where you will be freezing them separately in their own containers as well as when you will be freezing them together in one dish.
Keep in mind that if you take some of your pork and kraut out to defrost and eat, it’s best to finish up all of the part that you removed from the freezer. Repeatedly defrosting and refreezing pork and sauerkraut will impact its freshness and could even introduce harmful bacteria to your food.
I like to freeze individual portions in their own containers. You can also freeze enough pork and kraut to feed your family for an easy-to-prepare dinner.
Tip: Meal-prep containers are great ways to divide your leftover pork and sauerkraut into individual portions.
How Long Can You Keep Pork And Sauerkraut In The Refrigerator?
If you have already made your pork and sauerkraut and are gearing up to store it for the long haul in the freezer, you might want to leave some in the fridge to eat in the next few days instead.
Sauerkraut can be stored in the fridge for up to six months, as long as it is kept properly sealed and harmful bacteria do not get into your fermented deliciousness.
Pork, raw or cooked, has a noticeably shorter safe storage limit in the fridge. Foodsafety.gov recommends storing pork for up to five days in the fridge.
If you don’t think you’ll be able to prepare or eat it in that time, it’s best to put it in the freezer rather than risk it getting forgotten in the back of your fridge and eventually spoiling.
How To Defrost Pork And Sauerkraut?
The easiest way to defrost pork and sauerkraut (together or separately) is to transfer the frozen container to the fridge. Depending on its size, it can defrost in a few hours or a few days. The larger the container, the longer it will take to defrost completely.
Most containers will defrost within 24 hours.
You can also defrost sauerkraut individually by letting it rest on the counter. Because it is fermented, it will not spoil if left on the counter to defrost for a short time. Pork, on the other hand, should be defrosted in the cold environment of the refrigerator.
If you plan to reheat your pork and sauerkraut, you can even put it directly into a pan to cook on the stove frozen. This will take a little bit longer to reheat than if you had let it defrost first, but is still a quick and easy way to enjoy your leftovers.
Do Bacteria Grow In Sauerkraut Once It’s Frozen?
Many people enjoy sauerkraut for its tangy flavor. Others like it for the health benefits that the good bacteria present after the fermentation process have on the body. When you freeze sauerkraut, these helpful bacteria may become dormant.
That means that they will not continue to grow and replicate.
Once you defrost the sauerkraut, these bacteria become active again. While some may be killed off during the freezing process, there are still plenty of good bacteria to provide the health benefits that you want once the sauerkraut is defrosted.
You can keep your pork and sauerkraut in the freezer for up to one year. You might even want to save it for next year’s New Year’s Eve tradition. On the other hand, it is such a delicious meal that we’re pretty certain you will want to get those leftovers out for something tasty to eat well before January 1st.
Whether you store your pork and kraut together or in separate containers, this is a pairing that you can eat and enjoy all year long.
Katie is an experienced writer, who wrote for big magazines like The Spruce. She is also a mom of three (Sebastian, Lincoln, and Hannah). In her spare time, she likes to read, day hike, and explore hidden gems around her home in North Carolina. You can connect with Katie on Instagram @katiebwriter or her website, www.katiemelynnbegley.com.