Mold On Sauerkraut: Meaning, Causes, Prevention, and Preservation

Mold can appear on sauerkraut for a variety of reasons, the majority of which are related to how it is stored.

If you enjoy the food sauerkraut, you must always keep it properly packaged to prevent it from going rancid.

Moreover, you must consider the molds and their effects, which can lead to foodborne illnesses that could harm your health.

As a result, being able to recognize mold on your sauerkraut is a safe way to protect yourself and your family from food poisoning.

Read on to find out why your sauerkraut has mold, how to prevent it, and the best ways to store your sauerkraut.

What is sauerkraut?


Sauerkraut is a finely chopped raw cabbage fermented by different lactic acid bacteria. It is among Germany’s most well-known national dishes.

The lactic acid produced when the bacteria curdle the sugars in the cabbage leaves gives it a long shelf life and a distinct sour flavor.

Additionally, sauerkraut is very low in calories and contains vitamin C. However, people watching their salt levels must limit their intake of sauerkraut due to its high salt content.

SEE: What Causes Moldy Cake?

How to detect mold on sauerkraut

Mold can be pink, blue, green, blue, or even white. Mold spores, which are found in the air and on the surface of many fruits and vegetables, are the source of mold growth.

When spores fall or already exist on a moist, nutrient-rich surface, like bits of exposed cabbage, mold starts to grow and eventually forms a thick layer. It’s not inevitably the acidity that puts them off because they can survive on acidic foods too.

As a result, if you don’t keep a close eye on your sauerkraut when it starts to grow molds, you might become bewildered at the fast growth of mold.

Mold in your salad can be identified by the following signs:

  • It has a strange off-smelling yeasty or moldy odor.
  • The kraut has changed in color or texture.
  • The salad begins to develop a black, pink, or orange mold.

This means you should toss kraut into the garbage.

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What are the causes of moldy sauerkraut?

Since fermentation is an anaerobic process, sauerkraut will turn bad if exposed to too much oxygen.

Because it may take some time for the bacteria to produce gases, having too much air in your jar can encourage the growth of mold and yeast.

These CO2 gases drive the oxygen from the container. Therefore, you need to use an airtight jar and also lower the temperature for fermentation.

What does mold on sauerkraut look like?

Sauerkraut molds will be grayish or greenish in color. Unlike the black, pink, or orange molds, these kinds are frequently not all that bad. It is best to discard your salad if it ever becomes this way.

SEE: What Happens If You Eat Black Mold?

Can you get sick if you eat moldy sauerkraut?

Yes, you can. Even though the vast majority of fermented foods are healthy, it is still possible for them to become tainted with bacteria that can make people ill.

Because the bacterium that causes botulism is anaerobic, it can survive without oxygen. An oxygen-free environment is ideal for sauerkraut production, but botulism can be controlled in other ways.

Moreover, if botulism cannot be detected through sight, smell, or taste, it can still make you sick. Therefore, you should never consume moldy sauerkraut.

Tips to prevent the mold on sauerkraut

1. Clean your equipment

Sterile does not imply clean. The key is to create an environment for fermentation where good bacteria can easily out-compete bad bacteria.

Excessively sanitizing things will kill the bacteria required to create the ideal fermentation environment. Simply use mild dish soap and water to thoroughly clean your jars and equipment.

2. The jar should be 75–80% full

Since it will take some time for bacteria to produce gases, having too much air in your canister can encourage the growth of mold and yeast.

These CO2 (carbon dioxide) gases drive the oxygen from the container. Change the cabbage to a smaller jar or use more.

3. Lower temperatures for fermentation

Create a conducive temp for the lactic acid bacteria producing the lactic acid required to preserve your sauerkraut during the first few days of fermentation. It is particularly crucial.

Look for a cooler spot in your house, or ferment in the fall or winter. The ideal temperature range is between 65°F and 70°F (18°C and 21°C).

4. Put out enough salt

Increase the amount of salt you use if you’re fermenting at temperatures higher than ideal. If you are measuring your salt, use a heaping tablespoon rather than a level tablespoon.

5. Make an anaerobic environment

To grow, mold needs air. Mold cannot enter your ferment if you keep it below the brine and use some sort of airlock. This way, you can control the environment where fermentation is taking place.

6. Make use of fresh, premium ingredients

Fresh vegetables contain less mold than vegetables that are beginning to go bad. Use incredibly fresh vegetables to give the good bacteria a competitive edge.

7. Use an airtight container

Mason jars should be tightly sealed, and if using a crock, put a plate, cloth, or cloth secured with a rubber band on top to deter flies.

Put the cabbage in a lot of salty water, then squash it down at least once every day to let the air out.

SEE: What Causes Red Mold On Bread?

How to keep sauerkraut fresh


You can prevent your salad from going bad and staying fresh in several ways. These methods will aid in the preservation of your sauerkraut.


  • Sauerkraut should be added to a stovetop pot and simmered. Then stop before the liquid boils.
  • Make sure there are no cracks in the canning jars.
  • Canning jars should be cleaned and warmed up in the dishwasher.
  • With about a 1/2 inch of space left between the sauerkraut and the jar’s top, pour hot sauerkraut into the preheated jars. To prevent the sauerkraut from drying out, pour a lot of juice into the jar. Seal the jars.
  • Braise the sauerkraut jars for 20 minutes per quart in a water bath canner that has been heated to 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure there are 2 to 3 inches of water over the jars.
  • Give the jars five minutes to cool.
  • Using a jar lifter, remove the jars from the canner.
  • The jars should be left on the stove or a biscuit wire rack to cool.

SEE: Causes Of Moldy Chocolate & Prevention


  • Put sauerkraut in freezer bags or jars. To prevent air from entering, tightly close the jar or bag.
  • Put a date on the jar or bag’s label. In the refrigerator, sauerkraut can last up to three months without going bad. You can recall the bag’s age better if you date it.
  • Put the sauerkraut container or freezer bag on a shelf inside your refrigerator.


  • Sauerkraut should be placed in freezer bags or any other freezer-safe container. To prevent spills, leave a gap of about 1.5 inches between the sauerkraut and the container’s top.
  • Lock the freezer bag or container shut. Ensure that no air enters or exits.
  • Place the container on a shelf in your freezer. The sauerkraut should last for a very long time.

SEE: Does Cinnamon Go Bad and Start to Mold?


Is sauerkraut good for you to eat?

Yes, it is. Probiotics found in sauerkraut can help your gut health overall. Sauerkraut is a fantastic food that helps with digestion because of this combination.

Does sauerkraut make you poop?

A fermented cabbage dish called sauerkraut contains good bacteria that may improve gut health and ease constipation. Therefore, you could say it causes you to poop more often.

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What tastes good with sauerkraut?

Consider serving it with some crusty bread and aged gouda. Avocado toast consists of whole grain bread, sliced avocado, and sauerkraut. Or Hamburgers and meatless burgers topped with melted Swiss cheese and sauerkraut.

Is white mold okay on sauerkraut?

Yes, white mold is normal. If you notice this, you should skim the mold off the salad.

A whitish sprout covering the ferment’s surface is often referred to as “scum.” It may be wild yeasts growing that have access to air on the brine’s surface.

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Since fermentation is a form of preservation, sauerkraut, which is made of pulverized cabbage covered in salt and allowed to ferment, naturally preserves itself.

However, the salad will slowly begin to go bad and become unhealthy, which may result in molds and contamination if left unattended or under-preserved.

Therefore, if you enjoy sauerkraut so much, make sure it is stored properly. To help maintain your salad’s freshness, you can use one of the fantastic conserving and preventative measures highlighted in this article.

Meanwhile, if you accidentally ate contaminated or bad sauerkraut, you need to see your doctor right away.

Thanks for reading.

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