Since a lot of international dishes were introduced lately, people became more familiar with the delicious, one-of-a-kind Polish dish, Kielbasa. Not just that, I actually encountered the question of “Can you freeze Kielbasa” more times than I could count. That’s why I decided to share with everyone the proper ways where you can prepare your, Kielbasa, the right way to, later, keep it in the freezer for up to 6 months.
First, however, I need to give you a brief about this flavorful dish.
What is Kielbasa?
It is a type of Polish sausage that is usually dark in color and has many flavorful spices and fats. The special thing about it, though is the fact that it is usually smoked. Nothing can ever beat a smoked Kielbasa!
How to freeze kielbasa:
Freezing is usually a perfect way to store food, especially Kielbasa. If done right, it can offer you an extra 6 months to your store-bought Kielbasa. You can also freeze your leftover cooked kielbasa in the freezer the same way.
- Start by wrapping tightly each individual sausage in plastic wrap.
- Place the wrapped sausages in another freezer bag and tightly seal it after releasing as much air as you can from it. This will provide an extra layer of protection from freezer burns.
- Label each freezer bag with the date and the contents of the bag so that it is easier for you in the future to distinguish your frozen food from each other.
In case you have a vacuum sealer at your home, then go ahead and use it!
You can replace the plastic wrapping of each sausage by directly vacuum sealing the freezer bag containing the sausages and placing it in the freezer.
If you happen to buy already vacuum-sealed sausages from the store, then you can put it in the freezer bag and into the freezer to avoid any freezer burns from potentially happening.
A second method you could go for:
- Slice each sausage into ½ inch rounds, then align them on a baking tray.
- Place the tray in the freezer for 2 to 3 hours, or until the sausages solidify enough.
- Transfer the sausage rounds to a freezer bag. Vacuum seal it, then place it in the freezer.
If you don’t have a vacuum sealer in your home. There is another way where you can remove most of the air out of the freezer bag, and that’s by placing a straw in the corner of the freezer bag, followed by closing all the rest of the bag, then sucking as much air as you can through the straw, and then closing the corner of the bag after removing the straw.
It is not as efficient as the freezer bag. However, it does do the trick when you really need it.
How to defrost kielbasa:
Safety is the most important thing when it comes to thawing and defrosting any type of meat. Because meat is usually more prone to bacterial contamination and thriving. That’s why you must consider safety more than speed.
I am going to share with you all the ways I know to defrost your Kielbasa in a safe way in the shortest time.
Defrosting Kielbasa using a microwave:
This might be the fastest way you can defrost frozen Kielbasa. It is simple and doesn’t require more than a few minutes to do so. Start by placing your wrapped Kielbasa in a microwaveable plate, then move the plate to the microwave, and adjust the settings to “Defrost”. It should take from 3 to 4 minutes. Test the doneness using a fork, if they are still frozen and attached to each other, repeat for another minute or so.
Once they are separated from each other, leave a gap between each sausage, then move the plate back to the microwave for another 2 minutes to make sure they are completely thawed.
Now, it is time to cook the sausages. Don’t leave them for long after thawing. You will need to cook them immediately to avoid bacterial contamination and possible food poisoning.
In the case that you don’t have a “defrost” setting in your microwave, you can set it to 50% power and follow the same steps.
Defrosting Kielbasa using water:
This is a somehow slower method of thawing Kielbasa. However, it is even simpler than using the microwave. All you have got to do is fill a large bowl with warm water at about 110°F. Unwrap your sausages and place them straight in the bowl filled with water.
Bear in mind that the frozen sausages will affect the temperature of the water inside the bowl and cool it. That’s why you have to let the faucet run, but at a slow rate, just dripping warm water so that the temperature doesn’t go down tremendously. It shouldn’t take a lot longer than 20 minutes to completely thaw the sausages. You have until four hours to let the sausages soak in warm water, but no more than that, or else you will risk your food being contaminated with bacteria.
Once you drain and cook the sausages, you have to thoroughly clean the bowl to avoid any food poisoning because it became a good medium for bacterial growth.
Defrosting Kielbasa in the refrigerator:
Before you attempt to defrost your kielbasa using this method, you should make sure that the temperature of the fridge is lower than 41°F. You can easily do so by placing a thermometer inside the fridge for five minutes and checking its reading afterwards.
Transfer the wrapped kielbasa from the freezer to the lowest shelf of the fridge after placing them on a plate. In case the sausages aren’t wrapped, then go ahead and place them in a freezer bag and tightly seal them. This will lead to an even defrosting of the sausages. The plate will also protect your fridge from any of the water produced by the process of the sausage defrosting.
Try to maintain as much distance as you can from the other ready-to-eat foods present in the fridge so that there is no chance of food contamination from the kielbasa.
The fridge might be the slowest method of defrosting since it can take up to 24 hours or more to completely defrost the Kielbasa, yet it is definitely the safest one to use besides the fact that sausages can stay in the fridge from 3 to 5 days in case you don’t want to cook them immediately.
Factors to consider before freezing kielbasa:
Other than the need to tightly wrap the Kielbasa in a plastic freezer bag, there isn’t any special precaution you should take. However, these are some tips you need to consider:
- Don’t ever attempt to freeze your defrosted sausages, or else you are risking food contamination. In addition to the fact that the taste and texture of the sausages are already lost after thawing.
- Cooked Kielbasa should be vacuum-sealed only after cooling down to room temperature. The vapors released after sealing the warm sausages can highly affect the texture of the frozen sausages and will increase the chance of bacterial contamination.
- You can use the second method of freezing mentioned before when you want to freeze individual sausages instead of a large pack so that it is easier for you to just take it off the freezer.
Frequently asked questions:
What Is The Difference Between Kielbasa And Sausage?
Although Kielbasa and regular sausage do look somehow close to each other, they couldn’t be any more different in their composition. The spices and meat composition usually added to the Polish sausages are usually different from that of regular sausages. For example, Kielbasa usually has a signature garlic-y flavor, along with cloves, marjoram, and pimentos. Unlike regular sausages which are made of beef, veal, lamb, turkey, or chicken inside an animal casing.
Kielbasa is better enjoyed with the specially preserved cabbage sauerkraut. It has many different options like smoked, dried, or raw.
Another type of special sausage that is usually served with sauerkraut is Bratwurst, which is usually made in Germany. It is also filled with spices like caraway seeds, nutmeg, coriander, and ginger. Made of veal, beef, or pork.
How long does kielbasa last?
The way that Kielbasa was originally made allows it to stay for quite some time. However, the place and the condition it is being stored in highly affects the time it can last.
For example, if the sausages were left in their original, vacuum-sealed wrap without any opening, then they could last for about 4 weeks in the fridge and up to a year in the freezer. While, if the wrap has been compromised in any way, or even you opened it yourself, then we are expecting 1 to 2 weeks in the fridge and up to 6 months in the freezer.
Now that you know the expected time it will last, you still have to make sure that your Kielbasa hasn’t gone bad after taking it off the fridge or the freezer, like checking the presence of mold or any bad smell.
How to tell if Kielbasa has gone bad?
You have two factors that you must consider when checking the stored Kielbasa before cooking or eating it.
Smell and texture.
In case you felt any kind of extra slimness or smoothness to the Kielbasa, accompanied by a sour and odd smell.
Color and mold.
Color is a good indicator of spoilage when it comes to raw meat. If you noticed the paling of the color and its conversion to the greyish side, then you have to reconsider cooking your Kielbasa. Discarding it is your safest choice.
Can you refreeze cooked kielbasa?
Although not recommended because, generally speaking, it is not the healthiest option to refreeze any type of meat. Yet it could be done if you really want to. Just don’t stuff the kielbasa in the freezer if it stayed in the fridge for more than 5 days.
A good tip is to always thaw just the amount you are going to consume so that you avoid the whole refreezing dilemma. However, you don’t need to do any extra steps when freezing the sausage for a second time.
I know it is tempting to refreeze for a third time because of simple the steps are, but never do it!
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