How to store fresh and pickled cabbage

Cabbage is harvested in the fall, stored and used for several months. In winter, sauerkraut will delight you with its crunch and vitamins if it is properly prepared and stored without loss of quality.

Pickles are stored in barrels, glass jars, which are placed in the basement, cellar or refrigerator. We will tell you in the article how long sauerkraut can be stored in the refrigerator, what conditions must be observed and what product should not be eaten.

Storing sauerkraut in the refrigerator

The shelf life of the products depends on several factors : ambient temperature and humidity, selected container, additional ingredients.

If you follow the storage conditions, the pickles will last for 6-8 months in the refrigerator .

In an open container, the product is stored in the refrigerator for no more than two months . But experienced housewives extend the shelf life using their secrets.

Selection of containers

The choice of container for fermentation is important ; the shelf life depends on it:

  1. Enameled pan or bucket . The inner surface is checked for chips to prevent metal oxidation. Store exclusively covered and under pressure for about 6 months.
  2. Glass jars . The easiest way to store them is in the refrigerator, always under an airtight lid, completely covered with brine. The shelf life will be about 4-6 months.
  3. Plastic containers . Storage in the refrigerator will be no more than 2-3 weeks. It is allowed to freeze in small portions and then immediately use the defrosted product for food.


The main factor influencing shelf life is temperature . Sauerkraut is a product obtained by natural fermentation, which means that in the heat it can become acidic and become inedible.

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If you maintain a temperature of +5...+8°C , then the workpiece retains its beneficial properties for 2-3 weeks.

Experienced housewives advise storing the salted vegetable at a temperature from 0 to +4°C , then you can enjoy the crispy taste of cabbage for up to 8 months.


Do not allow dry air in the place where the workpiece is stored . Optimal humidity is 85-95%.

Brine quantity

Proper preparation significantly affects shelf life. It is important to ensure that the brine covers the layer of cabbage . If the chopped vegetable is exposed in the container, then salt is dissolved in cooled boiled water and added to the top of the workpiece. And to prevent this from happening, they put pressure on sauerkraut.

Attention! If the top layer has darkened, it means that the pickle has become unfit for consumption.

Use of preservatives

Extend the shelf life of the product using preservatives . Suitable for this:

  1. Granulated sugar . It is sprinkled on top of the cabbage from time to time.
  2. Acetic acid . Add just a little bit so as not to spoil the natural taste of the fermented vegetable.
  3. Vegetable oil . Oil is poured over the top of the workpiece so that it forms a thin film. It will not allow oxygen to pass through and will stop the fermentation process.
  4. Salt . Sometimes cabbage is specially salted so that it can be stored longer. But such a product is not suitable for use in salads.
  5. Cranberry . Benzoic acid contained in berries inhibits the development of bacteria and gives a special taste and aroma to the product.

Preparing the head of cabbage

For storage you need to select small, dense forks. If you bought them late in the fall, then it is most likely a late cabbage variety suitable for long-term storage.

You should avoid storing cabbage of other ripening periods, as well as loose heads of late varieties. Such specimens can last no more than 3 months without damage.

The preliminary preparation of vegetables is of great importance in selecting forks for storage. All forks are thoroughly inspected and, if cracks, signs of damage from pests, or dents from transportation are found, they are rejected and used for their intended purpose as quickly as possible.

We suggest you read: When can you chop cabbage for the winter?

The remaining stems must be trimmed. The shorter it is, the better for effective storage. From the remains of the stems, cabbage during storage may produce flower stalks or small heads of cabbage, which will have a bad effect on the quality of storage.

Important! Before storage, the forks should be freed from the outer leaves, leaving no more than one pair of leaves. During storage, these leaves will protect the heads of cabbage from fungal and bacterial infections.

In addition, the heads of cabbage are washed in running water. By this method, harmful insects, particles of earth and sand are washed out of the forks. At the end of the preparatory work, all forks are wiped with clean cloth rags to remove all moisture. Dried heads can be stored.

Most often, cabbage is fermented in fairly large volumes.

In order to protect it from damage and preserve maximum nutrients, you need to pay attention to a number of points.

Among them:

  • choice of variety and heads of cabbage;
  • correct salting technology;
  • prevention of mold and drying of the top layer;
  • selection of storage location and containers;
  • maintaining the necessary storage conditions.

A white coating on the surface of some workpieces is associated with the appearance of fungus. Even when removing it, you cannot be completely sure of the safety of the product.

The following techniques will help you avoid mold:

  1. Sprinkle grated horseradish on top of the packaged cabbage.
  2. Add sugar or mustard powder.
  3. When fermenting, add lingonberries or cranberries.
  4. If you use mustard seeds, it is better to first place them in small canvas bags.

When storing cabbage, you should make sure that the entire preparation is covered with a layer of liquid.

Without brine, the top layer will turn dark and deteriorate. Organizing oppression can be a solution to a problem.

Natural preservatives can ensure long-term storage of the product. They are used as follows:

  • pour a little vegetable oil on top of the container with the vegetable - enough to just cover the cabbage;
  • add just a little acetic acid;
  • when fermenting, you can use more salt;
  • Sprinkle the top of the compacted dough with sugar.

Natural products that are safe for health can give a good canning effect.

How to tell if cabbage has gone bad

A spoiled product can be seen by several signs:

  1. Smell . If you smell an unpleasant smell of a rotten product.
  2. An intense fermentation process began at the top of the container in the form of bubbles, foam or even mold. All this indicates a violation of the ripening process.
  3. Brine turbidity . When cabbage is salted, liquid is released. Ideally, the brine has a transparent color throughout storage. If it begins to become cloudy, it means the product has begun to deteriorate.

You can try a suspicious pickling by taking a small amount. Although cabbage is called “sour”, the taste of a spoiled vegetable is easy to determine.

What determines the taste and shelf life of sauerkraut?

Some housewives are of the opinion that the quality of sauerkraut depends not only on the recipe, but also on the type of cabbage and even on the lunar calendar! It is believed that cabbage fermented during the new moon turns out more tasty and crunchy.

In principle, for pickling, all you need is the cabbage itself and salt according to the following calculation: 1 tablespoon of salt per 1 kg of shredded cabbage. It needs to be well ground and pressed with your hands in a large basin until it gives juice, and then compacted tightly into a fermentation container. To complement the taste and add color, add grated carrots, apples, raisins, cranberries, prunes, honey, pepper, bay leaves and other spices.

For intensive fermentation, leave the cabbage for 2-7 days in a warm place, covering the container with gauze. To prevent bitterness and unpleasant odor from appearing, the cabbage should be pierced several times a day with a stick or knitting needle to the very bottom of the container, removing accumulated gas. After the foam stops appearing and the brine becomes transparent, the sauerkraut can be stored in the cold.

Use an enameled or food-grade stainless steel container (pan) for fermentation (not aluminum!).

It is better to choose strong and flat, late varieties of white cabbage for fermentation. The most suitable is considered to be autumn, cut after the first slight frost. It contains the maximum amount of vitamins and microelements.

For sauerkraut, you need to take edible stone salt - medium or coarse grinding without any additives, not iodized.

Do not use iodized salt for sauerkraut

Other storage options

Often in the fall the refrigerator cannot accommodate all the supplies. Then the jars, buckets and pans are sent to cellars, basements, etc.

Storage in a cellar or basement

The cellar allows you to store preserved food in barrels . Oak barrels preserve the taste of the product, and suitable conditions of temperature and air humidity will preserve the preparations for as long as possible - up to 8 months.


Recently, plastic windows have often been installed on balconies, insulated and maintained at a comfortable temperature in winter. On such balconies, cabbage is stored in jars or enamel containers.

If the balcony is cold, then the container with salted vegetables is frozen . When necessary, the top layer is loosened, the required amount of product is collected, and warmed at room temperature. The rest is left frozen.

Which is correct?

There are many methods for fermenting cabbage at home.
Some people pour hot brine into the cabbage to pickle it faster, others put vinegar in the cabbage. Each method is good in its own way. But it is the classic version that most fully preserves all vitamins and nutrients. Mid-season and late varieties are suitable for pickling and winter storage. Early cabbage is not good.

The classic method involves using only cabbage, carrots and salt in the recipe: for 3 kg of carrots, take one medium carrot and 60 grams. salt.

The cooking process is simple:

  • Wash the cabbage and remove the top leaves.
    The process of making sauerkraut is very simple.
  • Finely chop the vegetable; you can chop it if desired.
  • Cut the carrots into strips or grate them.
  • Add coarse salt (iodized salt is not suitable) and grind the vegetable mixture with it.
  • Place the ingredients in a three-liter glass jar, while compacting it. Do not fill the jar to the top so that there is room for the juice that is formed during the fermentation process.
  • Place the jar in a bowl so that excess juice can drain into it.

That's all. All that remains is to put the jar in a warm place and periodically pierce the contents with a plastic or wooden stick so that the gases formed during fermentation escape faster. At room temperature, cabbage will be ready in two days. Where to store this workpiece in the future depends on the availability of utility rooms.

Traditionally fermented white cabbage can usually be stored for several months. It can be eaten all winter and even in spring, if the preparation has not yet been eaten by that time.

You can further extend the shelf life of sauerkraut by placing it in the freezer.

Sauerkraut has a number of contraindications

Just remember that this product cannot be re-frozen. This needs to be defrosted

the amount you are going to eat.

They buy cabbage in the fall. Only healthy, dense forks, without signs of disease or rot, are suitable for pickling. Young heads of cabbage will not be stored.

The forks are washed, dried, chopped and placed in glass jars, filling them with brine.

The choice of storage container deserves special attention. It is most convenient to use large containers. If the product will be stored in the refrigerator, then purchase 2 and 3 liter jars. For the cellar, you can choose a 5 liter container.

The jars must not have any defects: chips or cracks. Even minor damage is a reason to refuse to use the container.

Before filling the jars, they need to be processed. This is done in several ways:

  1. Wash in warm water with soda.

  2. Steam sterilization. You can place the jar on the neck of a boiling kettle, or on a special lid that is placed on the pan.
  3. Sterilization with boiling water.
  4. Oven sterilization. They are washed, dried and opened in the oven for 30 minutes.

If you plan to roll the cabbage, you need to choose varnished lids coated with acid-resistant varnish. They are not afraid of acids, do not break down and do not release harmful substances into the product.

You can close the jars with nylon lids. Before use, wash them in hot water and soda. The lids should fit tightly to the neck and not turn.

Advantages of using glass containers for storing cabbage:

  • the ability to select containers of a suitable size;
  • ease of processing;
  • affordable price;
  • reusable;
  • environmental Safety.

The main disadvantage of storing sauerkraut in glass jars is that they allow light to pass through. Therefore, the container should be in a dark place.

Cabbage suitable for fermentation is purchased in the fall. It is at this time that late varieties ripen en masse, which are distinguished by their density and long shelf life. Green cabbage, which ripens in summer, is suitable for vitamin salads, but not for pickling.

The fact is that the chemical composition of young green cabbage does not allow it to be stored in brine. Under the influence of salt, such a vegetable becomes soft, loses its taste, crunch and beneficial properties.

Late cabbage should not be deformed when squeezed in the palms. Correct forks do not have rotten, limp or frozen leaves, or traces of pest activity. The stalk of such a vegetable is light, without spots or rings, which indicate that rotting is occurring inside the head of cabbage.

In order for the product to be stored for a long time, it is not enough to maintain the correct temperature. It is also important to choose the right container.

Plastic containers

Proper plastic containers must meet safety standards and be intended for storing and freezing food products.

Melamine containers are not suitable for storing workpieces - they are usually not marked and are very toxic. PP, or PP, marking is applied to the safest plastic. It is used to make bottles for feeding children and containers for storing food.

PS, or PS, is also suitable for containers, but such containers should not be heated.

Containers with markings are completely suitable for storing workpieces:

  • PET, PETE, or PET;
  • HDPE, or HDPE;
  • OTHER, or Other.

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It is strictly forbidden to use containers marked V or PVC or PVC. This is technical toxic plastic. You should not freeze the product in boxes marked LDPE, or MDV.

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