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Dec 7, 2013 10:39 AM

Sauerkraut how long

I have a jar of sauerkraut that has sat opened in my refrigerator for a couple of months. Is it still safe to use? It looks fine, no mold, smells like sauerkraut. I only used a small amount in a Reuben sandwich, stored the rest and now would like to make another sandwich.

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  1. Sauerkraut lasts a really long time.

    1. People were making and storing sauerkraut long before refrigeration was invented. It is fine.

      1. I continue to use my sauerkraut till it darkens in color. It turns a sort of grey color when that happens. I don't make an effort to remember to check the color. One look, and it's obvious the sauerkraut has changed in appearance. That's when I toss it. The same holds true for my jar of horseradish. The color change is my signal to toss those foods. I've never had a single episode of stomach distress eating those foods, no matter how OLD they were.

        1. Refrigerated, it'll stay good practically forever -- certainly a year or two.

          If the surface darkens, that's a cosmetic change only that has no effect on quality or safety, Just stir that part back in and you'll never know it was there. The high acid and salt content makes it virtually impossible for any pathogens to survive.

          Of course, if you do see some fuzzy green or white stuff growing, you could discard the jar or simply scrape away the offending material and continue to use the rest, perhaps after heating to a safe temp (above 140F) and then cooling.

          8 Replies
          1. re: acgold7

            Not very good advice : "simply scrape away the offending material and continued to use the rest"
            Molds are not just what you see on the surface. They have root like structures that can extend deep into foods, especially liquids.
            Some Molds can cause Allergic Reactions, Respitory Problems(especially when Spores are inhaled) and if Mycotoxins are created much more serious Health Risks (and these are not eliminated by heat)
            For more information check out the USDA's web site.

            1. re: chefj

              Who is talking about mold? You ever see mold on sauerkraut?

              1. re: chefj

                Given that the USDA's recs are written assuming we're all a nation of morons, they until recently recommended cooking both poultry and pork to oblivion and inedible states and way past levels required for safety with no scientific basis whatever to back that up, and their food pyramid has created a nation of fat-phobic morbidly obese diabetics simply to please the agribusiness of grain and sugar producers, I'm not so sure I'd take anything they say as gospel. But if you want a nation of people in panic mode all the time to throw away billions of tons of perfectly edible food annually, then hey, whatever works for you.

                I, however, will stick with science and common sense.

                1. re: acgold7

                  he's a witch! burn him!

                  but then that raises the question: how long does an acgold need to roast as to be safe?

                  1. re: acgold7

                    What do cooking temperatures or the Food Pyramid have to do with Mold?
                    Launching off into a rant about the USDA has no bearing on the safety of eating moldy Foods.
                    Your advice is bad.

                    1. re: chefj

                      You were citing the USDA as your authority. I was questioning their advice. That's what it has to do with the issue.

                      You are certainly entitled to your opinion. I stand by mine and my refusal to try to instill unjustified panic in others.

                      When fermenting brine-cured foods like pickles, it is common practice to simply remove the scum that commonly develops during fermentation. You do not discard the entire batch.

                      Obviously there are good molds and bad molds, and to condemn all "moldy foods" is not very Chowish. If it weren't for moldy foods, we wouldn't have most of the best cheeses, including Stilton.

                      However, people are perfectly free to spend their entire lives over-reacting to everything and wrapping themselves in cotton swabs to avoid bruising themselves if they wish. It's a free country.

                      1. re: acgold7

                        Panic, what Panic? the only over reaction is yours.
                        It is a bad idea to eat soft or liquid foods that are moldy. It is well documented why.
                        I sighted the USDA site because they explain why very well.

                        When you are making Pickles, Kraut and the like if you are doing it right you do not get mold forming on the top.

                        Intentionally moldy foods are a different matter completely and I did not condemn all mold. Not very Chowish to put words into others mouths.

                        Your last statement, you are the only one over reacting here I assure you.

              2. As long as it does not grow fur it is fine.