Nothing beats some freshly grilled juicy kielbasa with a side of sauerkraut or bread. Kielbasa is one of the best comfort foods out there. One that is usually just as delicious on its own as it is part of a more complex recipe.
However fresh, quality kielbasa is hard to find. When you do find it, it can be pretty expensive. So, if you’re like me, you want to make sure when you have your hands on kielbasa that it lasts as long as possible. So, how can you increase it’s shelf-life? Can you freeze kielbasa?
The good news is that yes, you can indeed freeze kielbasa.
In this article, I’ll be sharing with you all the ways you can best freeze kielbasa. I’ll also discuss how to thaw it and some ways you can cook it. Sadly, not all good things last forever, so I’ve also included some signs you can look out for if your kielbasa has gone bad.
Read on to learn more!
How Long Does Kielbasa Last?
Kielbasa lasts for quite a long time due to the meticulous preparation. How long kielbasa lasts will ultimately depend on where and how it’s stored and if it’s been opened or not.
Unopened kielbasa, which you can find vacuum packed in the supermarket, will last 3 to 4 weeks unopened in the fridge and up to a year in the freezer.
An opened pack of kielbasa will last 1 to 2 weeks in the fridge or up to 6 months fresh in the freezer if stored properly.
Kielbasa will most likely stay fresh during the suggested period. However, be sure to look out for signs that it has gone bad such as mold and odd smells. For more signs to look out for, be sure to wait until the end of the article.
|Condition||In the Fridge||In the Freezer|
|Unopened Kielbasa||Up to 4 weeks||Up to a Year|
|Opened Kielbasa||Up to 2 Weeks||Up to 6 Months|
Does Kielbasa Freeze Well?
Most meats will usually keep well in the freezer. Fortunately there’s no exception for kielbasa! Kielbasa will last and freeze well.
However, how well kielbasa freezes depends if you’ve packed and stored it properly. Proper storage is essential to making it last as long and as fresh as possible! I’ll be sharing how to freeze them properly and some tips below, so keep on reading.
Kielbasa can retain most of its flavor, texture, and freshness when frozen. Whether it’s unopened, opened, store-bought, or homemade kielbasa, all of them can be frozen regardless.
If given a chance to freeze any excess kielbasa, you will definitely not regret doing it.
How to Freeze Kielbasa
Freezing kielbasa is simple, but how you freeze it is crucial in getting the freshest and tastiest frozen kielbasa. Luckily, freezing does not require many items, all of which you can find at home. So all you will need is saran wrap or a paper sheet and a freezer-safe resealable bag or container to store the kielbasa.
Firstly, wrap your kielbasa in plastic wrap or wax paper. It is generally recommended to freeze your kielbasa individually. This is because it will make thawing easier, and all you need to do is take out what you need. Wrapping your kielbasa in plastic wrap will also help prevent freezer burn.
Place kielbasa into a freezer-safe bag. Place the wrapped kielbasa into a freezer-safe resealable bag or container. I prefer a bag as it takes less space and is more flexible in the freezer. Be sure to use a good quality and thick bag to prevent any damage.
Seal, label, and store in the freezer. Once all your kielbasa is packed, seal the bag tightly. Label the bag with the contents and date and safely store it in the freezer.
Tips for Freezing Kielbasa Well
- Seal and vacuum pack. If you have a vacuum pack lying around in your kitchen, I recommend using it to pack and seal your kielbasa. It eliminates and protects from any excess moisture or germs. This helps to make it last a little longer and fresher when you thaw it.
- Double bag the kielbasa. It might seem like overkill but using a double bag of air-tight resealable bags will protect your kielbasa from any smells or moisture. This ultimately makes it last longer.
- Flash-freeze individual kielbasa. Flash-freezing is another excellent method to freeze individual kielbasa if you have time on your hands. Just lay some kielbasa on a tray and pop it into the freezer. Once frozen, transfer them into a freezer-safe bag.
How to Thaw Kielbasa
There are a few ways to thaw kielbasa. Either in the fridge, microwave, or in water. The best method for thawing kielbasa would probably be in the fridge. This ensures that the kielbasa is stored in a cool environment throughout the thawing process.
However, if you’re running low on time or have no space in your stocked fridge, thawing kielbasa in your microwave or in water will work just fine.
Here’s how you can thaw kielbasa at home:
In the Fridge
Ensure your fridge is at the correct temperature of at least 41 Fahrenheit (5 Degrees Celsius) or below. Any higher temperature might run the risk of allowing bacteria to breed. Most fridges will already have a set temperature or special fridge thermometer.
However, suppose you don’t have a special thermometer, or you’re still unsure what temperature your fridge is at. In that case, you can leave a cup of water in your fridge for 24 hours. Once 24 hours is done, use a regular thermometer to measure the temperature of the water. That’s the temperature of your fridge.
Here’s how to defrost kielbasa in the refrigerator:
Take the desired amount of kielbasa out from the freezer. Preferably you should just remove the amount of kielbasa you need for your recipe. Refreezing kielbasa is not recommended, so let’s not make any kielbasa go to waste.
Place kielbasa onto a plate or bowl and leave to sit in the freezer. A dish to collect the water from condensation is highly recommended. It will save you from a watery mess in your fridge.
Leave kielbasa in the fridge until ready. You’ll know your kielbasa is ready and fully thawed when it is soft to touch and no longer has ice. Thawing is an overnight process and will take up to 24 hours, depending on how big your kielbasa is.
Consume immediately or store in the fridge. Once thawed, be sure to consume it immediately or within 3 to 5 days to ensure optimal freshness.
In the Microwave
Maybe you’ve forgotten to remove your kielbasa from the freezer, or you’re craving for one immediately. Don’t worry, I’ve been there. Thawing the microwave is a quick and straightforward method for you to thaw it. However, be sure not to over microwave it.
Place your frozen kielbasa on a microwave-safe plate. Preferably a bowl, so you can collect any condensation or melted ice.
Microwave at “defrost” setting or on medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Microwave your kielbasa until it is soft. Be sure to turn the kielbasa around, so all sides are evenly thawed.
The simplest method that my mum loves to use is letting kielbasa defrost in warm water. It’s as simple as that.
Place your kielbasa into a bowl of warm water and let it defrost gradually. You can also occasionally change out the water if it gets too cold. Some people may prefer leaving their kielbasa in a bowl of water under a dripping tap, and both ways work perfectly.
Be sure not to leave your kielbasa out in the water and on your counter for too long as it is the perfect environment for bacteria to grow.
How to Reheat Kielbasa
In my previous article on cooking fresh kielbasa, I mentioned some ways you could cook kielbasa and different ways to serve it. You can easily follow those similar methods to reheat thawed kielbasa. But here are a few ways that would be best for thawed kielbasa.
To be authentic to Polish cuisine, grilling is the best option to reheat kielbasa. Grilling will leave you with a smokey finish that makes it taste as if it has never been frozen before. You can grill it on a barbeque over some charcoal.
Pan-frying is an easy way to reheat and can be done in a few seconds. Just heat a pan up and cook your thawed kielbasa. You won’t need to oil your pan as your kielbasa provides all the oil you need.
Lastly, baking your kielbasa is another easy way to reheat your kielbasa. You can bake your kielbasa with some sliced onions, making it the perfect side with some sliced bread.
Can You Refreeze Cooked Kielbasa?
Usually, refreezing any type of perishables is generally not recommended as the quality or texture of the product may degrade and not be as fresh as you like it. But, if you’ve cooked some kielbasa or thawed a little too much than you need, it is generally okay to refreeze the kielbasa again.
If it has been adequately thawed or stored, it should be safe to eat. However, don’t freeze kielbasa if it’s been left in the fridge after thawing for over 5 days.
A general rule of thumb is to only thaw and cook what you need. Refreezing has a higher risk of your kielbasa losing its original texture and quality. To refreeze your kielbasa, just freeze it as you usually would, and you’re good to go.
You should definitely not refreeze it for the third time as the texture will be bad, and your kielbasa may become spoiled.
How to Tell if Kielbasa Has Gone Bad
Nothing lasts forever, and that goes for kielbasa too. While kielbasa doesn’t go rancid quickly, it can happen. So you should definitely know some signs to look out for in spoiled kielbasa to save your future self.
Color and Mold
The easiest sign that you can look out for is in its appearance and discoloration. Bad kielbasa will look greyish or may even have signs of mold.
If it looks pale and not as bright red or ‘meaty’ as you remember, it has most likely gone bad, and you should discard it immediately.
Smell and Texture
Next, if the kielbasa smells sour or gone off, then that is another red flag. Spoiled kielbasa may also be slimy or extra soft.
If you observe these signs, your kielbasa has definitely gone off, and you should throw it away.