Sometimes we get asked about the difference between Gutsy Sauerkraut and the canned/tinned, room-temperature-stable (doesn't need refrigeration) or imported (European) sauerkraut that is easily available at major supermarkets and international stores.
We've been asked variations of the question, "I can get a can of sauerkraut from my favourite supermarket for $3.60, why would I pay $18 for a jar of Gutsy sauerkraut?"
Other common questions are:
- is it beneficial to eat canned sauerkraut?
- is it ok to buy sauerkraut off the supermarket shelf if it's keep at room-temperature (not refrigerated)?
- Does imported (from overseas) sauerkraut still have benefits?
About Canned or Tinned Sauerkraut
Heating is an important part of canning as the heat pasteurises all bacteria in the can so that no fermentation occurs and the can can remain room-temperature-stable for many, many years. If sauerkraut were not pasteurised during the canning process bacteria would live and continue fermenting. A by-product of fermentation is carbon dioxide. Unpasteurised sauerkraut in a can, if left at room temperature, would eventually create so much carbon dioxide that the can would blow up like a football and eventually explode!
About Room Temperature Stable (not refrigerated) Sauerkraut
Heating is an important part of producing jars of room-temperature-stable sauerkraut. If you purchase jars of sauerkraut from the ambient-shelf at the supermarket, you might notice that they have button lids. A button lid is a metal lid that has a "button" on top of the lid, that is sucked down, when you buy it. When you open the lid the first time, the button pops up as pressure is released. To get this button to suck down, a manufacturer has to heat the jar of sauerkraut up to at least 80 degrees before screwing on the lid. As the jar of sauerkraut cools down, everything inside the jar contracts a little, and a vacuum is created, sucking the button down. All bacteria are killed during the heating, this is effectively the same as canned sauerkraut, but in a glass jar.
About Imported Sauerkraut
All imported sauerkraut is always either in a can or a room-temperature-stable glass jar. This because:
- It generally takes a long time for food products to be shipped to Australia and it's very expensive to ship foods requiring refrigeration.
- The Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Fisheries require most food that's brought into the country to be heat treated or chemically treated to minimise the risk of bringing unwanted pests or disease into Australia.
With all of that out of the way.
What is the difference between canned/tinned/room-temperature-stable/imported sauerkraut and raw/unpasteurised sauerkraut?
Nutritional Content:Raw sauerkraut retains more of its original nutrients compared to canned sauerkraut. The pasteurization process used in canned sauerkraut involves heating the product to high temperatures, which can degrade certain heat-sensitive vitamins, minerals, and enzymes present in the cabbage. Raw sauerkraut typically maintains higher levels of vitamins C and K, as well as beneficial enzymes.
Probiotics: One of the main benefits of raw or unpasteurised sauerkraut is its probiotic content. Probiotics are live microorganisms that have positive effects on gut health and overall well-being. Unpasteurized sauerkraut contains a diverse population of beneficial bacteria, such as Lactobacillus species, which are naturally present during fermentation. Probiotics slowly start dying as temperature increases above 40 degrees celsius. Pretty much everything is dead beyond 60C.
Flavour and Texture: Unheated sauerkraut often has a fresher and crunchier texture compared to tinned sauerkraut, which can become softer due to the heat. The continued fermentation process of living sauerkraut also contributes to a more complex and tangy flavour profile.
At Gutsy, the main reason we ferment sauerkraut is to generate the most nutrition, probiotics and delicious flavour that we possibly can. All Gutsy sauerkraut is fermented for 6 weeks in oak barrels to provide you and your gut with the best sauerkraut experience for your senses and your microbiome.