Kielbasa is a Polish sausage that is enjoyed all around the world. It is a thick, dark-colored sausage that is packed with a heavy smoky flavor.
Originally, kielbasa was found on the tables of noblemen and knights, those with higher stature in society, but nowadays it is enjoyed by just about anyone.
Luckily, we are not in the times of lords and knights, and you more than likely have a freezer at home.
But can you actually freeze kielbasa? Freezing kielbasa is a great way to keep a stash at home, perfect for last-minute dinners and sausage cravings. Kielbasa can be stored for up to six months safely until it needs to be consumed.
Read on to see what exactly are the best ways to freeze kielbasa!
Is Kielbasa Freezable? – How to Freeze Kielbasa
Kielbasa is perfectly fine to freeze if it is prepared properly before being frozen. This is the ideal way to store kielbasa in the freezer waiting for the perfect time to prepare it for dinner or enjoy it as a snack.
The kielbasa should not lose its flavor or texture when stored in the freezer, as long as you prepare it in the following way:
- Wrap the kielbasa in saran wrap.
- Place the wrapped sausages in freezer ziplock bags.
- Place in the freezer.
An alternative to this, if you have a vacuum sealing machine at home, is to simply vacuum seal the kielbasa sausages.
In fact, I bought this vacuum sealer off Amazon and love it! You do not need to wrap them in saran wrap beforehand if you are vacuum-sealing them.
Kielbasa can be kept in the freezer for six months until it needs to be consumed.
How to Defrost Kielbasa
Once you have properly frozen your kielbasa, you might wonder how to defrost it for dinner.
The defrosting process needs some care, as bacteria and other germs love meat that hasn’t been defrosted properly. Depending on how quickly you need to defrost your kielbasa, there are a few different ways to safely defrost it.
With a Refrigerator
Make sure your fridge is at the right temperature: below 41°F. Anything higher than this, and you run the risk of bacteria growing and multiplying.
If your fridge doesn’t have a built-in thermometer, place a thermometer in the fridge and leave the door closed. After 5 minutes, take the thermometer out of the fridge and check the temperature.
Remove the kielbasa from the freezer. Make sure to leave it in the packaging, this helps the kielbasa defrost more evenly and faster.
If the kielbasa is already removed from the packaging, wrap it in food-safe plastic wrap (like this product from Walmart) before placing it in the fridge.
Place the kielbasa on a plate and put it at the bottom of the fridge. The plate stops the water running off the kielbasa once defrosted and leaking into the fridge.
Make sure the kielbasa is kept away from other ready-to-eat foods, as any contact could cause contamination.
Leave the kielbasa in the fridge until they are soft to the touch. You shouldn’t be able to feel any ice or frost on the kielbasa.
Using the fridge is one of the safest ways to defrost kielbasa, but can take up to 24 hours to properly defrost. Once defrosted in the fridge, the kielbasa can stay in the fridge for 3 to 5 days.
With a Microwave
Place the kielbasa onto a microwave-safe plate (I use these from Amazon). Leave the wrapping on the kielbasa. Use the defrosting setting on your microwave to safely defrost the kielbasa.
If your microwave doesn’t have a defrost function, you can set the power to 50% and leave it to warm for 3-4 minutes.
Check to see if you can separate the kielbasa with a fork after this time, and if not, microwave for another minute before checking again.
Once you can separate the kielbasa, place them back in the microwave for 2-minute intervals. Remember to leave a gap between the kielbasa to ensure all areas are defrosted.
Once fully thawed, cook the sausages immediately to prevent any bacteria growth.
Microwaving to defrost the kielbasa is one of the quickest ways to get it done, but you need to consume the sausages straight away after defrosting and cooking to avoid any contamination.
Thawing with Water
Begin by removing the wrapping from the kielbasa. Find a large bowl big enough to fit all the kielbasa and place the kielbasa into the bowl.
Fill the bowl with lukewarm water around 110°F. Place the bowl under a dripping faucet in the sink.
Do not allow the water to flow from the tap, let it rather just drip down to ensure that the water in the bowl stays at a constant temperature.
Keep the bowl placed under the faucet until the kielbasa has thawed through. The time it takes to defrost the kielbasa will depend on the amount and size, but generally, 20 minutes will work for one or two kielbasa sausages.
Do not leave the bowl of kielbasa under the tap or in the bowl for longer than 4 hours. Once done wash the bowl and the sink with a heavy-duty kitchen cleaner to kill any bacteria.
How Is Kielbasa Made?
There is a traditional way of making kielbasa, but nowadays we have tools that make the process a little bit easier.
There are three main variations of kielbasa, white, dried and regular.
Dried kielbasa does not need to be heated or cooked and can be eaten as is. Regular kielbasa also does not need to be cooked, but people do enjoy heating it up before eating. White kielbasa is raw and does need to be cooked.
Meat is ground down with fat, and then certain spices are added to the ground meat mixture. This mixture of meat and spices is stuffed into hog casings, which creates the sausage.
The sausages are then smoked which results in a wonderfully rich flavored meat sausage that can be cooked in a variety of ways.
There are machines available to purchase for your home that make the kielbasa-making process much easier, and you can play around with different spices and flavors when making the kielbasa at home.
Different Ways of Cooking Kielbasa
Cooking with kielbasa offers a wide range of variations, each highlighting the rich, wonderful flavors of the Polish delicacy.
Grilling kielbasa is for those who love an extra smoky sausage, perfect for picking up to snack on off the grill or to have as a main grill dish. You can achieve a really great chargrill on kielbasa when done on the barbecue.
Baking kielbasa can be done in a few ways. You can either bake them on their own to add to your dinner or use them in a casserole.
You can add almost anything to a kielbasa casserole, such as cabbage or tomato, depending on the flavors you would like to bring out in the sausage.
Boiling kielbasa will also help keep the flavor profile intact. You simply heat up the water in a pot on the stove and drop the kielbasa in and leave them to cook until hot all the way through.
This is a great cooking option for when making kielbasa hot dogs!
If you want a quick kielbasa snack, you can pop it in the microwave for 1-2 minutes until cooked through. This is a fast way to cook the sausage and it will still taste great afterward.
What Is the Difference Between Kielbasa and Sausage?
While kielbasa can be considered a sausage in some forms, it is not the same thing.
Sausage is a seasoned mince mixture that is held in casings. Sausages are usually made from pork, but other meats such as beef, veal, lamb, turkey or chicken can be used. Sausage covers a wide range of sausage-like foods.
Kielbasa is a Polish sausage. It can be made from pork or a combination of beef and pork. Kielbasa has a strong garlic flavor, often complemented with cloves, marjoram, and pimentos.
It can either be smoked or unsmoked, served dried or raw. There are different types of kielbasa as well, all with different flavor profiles and ways of being served.
Kielbasa is traditionally paired with sauerkraut, which is preserved cabbage.
The other sausage on the block is Bratwurst. Bratwurst is a German sausage made from pork and veal, and sometimes beef.
The seasonings of Bratwurst commonly used are caraway seeds, nutmeg, coriander, and ginger. Bratwurst can be sautéed, grilled or broiled, and is also served with sauerkraut.
If you find yourself stocking up on discounted kielbasa in the grocery store, do not worry. It is perfectly fine to freeze kielbasa, as long as you do so safely.
Knowing how to safely freeze kielbasa is one thing, but knowing how to defrost it is just as important. Proper storage and preparation of food ensure that there is no harmful bacteria growth and no risk of salmonella or other harmful illnesses.
Kielbasa has been around for quite some time and deserves to stick around. Keep some in your freezer, and whip them out whenever you are in need of some Polish delicacy!