Kielbasa is a Polish smoked sausage that we all know and love, but can you freeze it?
The answer is yes, and if you continue reading we will teach you exactly how to do it.
Kielbasa is a thick sausage and is dark in color with a smokey flavor. It is made of primarily pork with some beef occasionally. It is usually flavored with garlic, cloves, marjoram, and pimentos. Traditionally, it is served alongside sauerkraut.
There are 3 main types of kielbasa: dried, regular, and white. White kielbasa is raw and needs cooking before consumption. Regular kielbasa can be heated prior to eating, but this is not a necessity. Dried kielbasa is ready-to-eat, and is similar to salami.
If you follow our advice properly, you can keep kielbasa in the freezer for up to 6 months.
How to freeze kielbasa
We advise wrapping the kielbasa individually in plastic wrap. Once you have done this, place in a ziplock freezer bag. This double wrapping acts to prevent freezer burn forming.
Label the bag with kielbasa and the date so that you can find it again easily.
You could also vacuum seal the kielbasa if you have a machine to do this at home. If you are vacuum sealing, you do not need to wrap the sausages in plastic wrap.
If you have purchased kielbasa in a vacuum-sealed bag and have not opened it, simply pop in the freezer. If you plan to freeze for a period of time longer than 1 month, we recommend wrapping in a ziplock freezer bag too, to prevent freezer burn.
Another method of freezing kielbasa is to cut into ½ inch rounds for use in other dishes. Lay flat on a baking sheet and place in the freezer for a couple of hours until solid.
Remove from the tray and vacuum seal. This means that you can remove only what you need and prevent food waste.
How to defrost kielbasa
We recommend leaving your kielbasa in the refrigerator overnight to thaw completely before use. Ensure your fridge temperature is below 41 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent the growth and multiplication of harmful bacteria.
Remove the kielbasa from the freezer and keep it in the plastic wrap and ziplock bag. This helps the kielbasa thaw quicker and more evenly.
As the kielbasa thaws, they are likely to expel some water, and so we recommend placing the package on a plate at the bottom of the refrigerator. This will keep your fridge cleaner and prevent cross-contamination.
Leave the kielbasa until they are fully thawed and feel soft when you poke them. This can take up to 24 hours, so we advise removing them from the freezer the day before you want to use it.
Once the kielbasa has defrosted, they can be stored in the fridge for 3-5 days, provided they had at least that until expiry when you froze them.
For a more immediate result, you can also defrost your kielbasa in the microwave. Keep all the plastic wrapping on and place the sausages on a microwave-safe plate. Using the defrost setting, if you have one, put in the weight of the kielbasa and leave to thaw accordingly.
If your microwave does not have a defrost setting, use on 50% power for 3-5 minutes. Try to separate the kielbasa with a fork. If you can’t, continue to cook until this is possible.
Once they have separated, microwave in 2-minute increments on full power until completely thawed. Once thawed, cook immediately.
Kielbasa thawed this way cannot be stored or reheated and needs to be eaten immediately. This is due to the potential for harmful bacteria growth.
Another way to defrost kielbasa is by submerging it in a warm bowl of water until it thaws. We recommend constantly topping up the bowl with hot water to keep a constant warm temperature.
To do this, remove all the plastic wrapping from your frozen kielbasa. Add to a large bowl and fill with enough warm water to fully submerge the sausages.
Allow the kielbasa to sit in the bowl for at least 20 minutes, but this will vary depending on the quantity and size of the sausages. It is important to move the kielbasa around in the water so that they defrost evenly.
Do not allow the kielbasa to sit in the water for longer than 4 hours as this can be harmful to your health. Ensure you wash the bowl thoroughly with kitchen detergent to prevent illness.
Factors to consider before freezing kielbasa
There is not much that you need to consider prior to freezing your kielbasa. Provided you ensure it is wrapped correctly, this is a very simple process.
Do not refreeze kielbasa that has been thawed, as this opens up the potential of harmful bacteria forming. The cells in the sausage will also break down and the texture of the kielbasa will deteriorate.
If you are vacuum sealing cooked kielbasa, allow the sausages to cool completely in the refrigerator overnight. Never vacuum pack anything warm as this can cause the texture and taste to deteriorate faster.
If you wish to freeze individual sausages to eat later, consider flash freezing them on a baking sheet. Lay them out with a gap between and freeze for a couple of hours, until solid. Remove from the sheet, wrap in plastic wrap, and place in a ziplock freezer bag.
We hope that this article has given you all of the information you need to feel confident in freezing and thawing kielbasa.
You can use the frozen sausage to add a different flavor to dishes such as jambalaya and gumbo, which would really benefit from the addition of smokiness. A little goes a long way with kielbasa, and so your stockpile in the freezer will last a long time.
Freezing kielbasa will save you money and reduce your household’s food waste, so what is there not to love? There’s no excuse for an empty freezer anymore with these tips.