In this recipe, I use purple cabbage and grated beets, which give it this beautiful vibrant color. But feel free to use just cabbage if you prefer. The refreshing bite is such a welcome accompaniment to dinner, especially with heavier meals, providing good contrast in texture and flavor. It’s also delicious on sandwiches, in tacos, wraps or have a bowl of it on its own. And you really don’t need any special equipment to make this…. a mason jar works just as well as a crock.
Benefits of Fermented Sauerkraut
The main reason I am in love with homemade kraut is it’s incredibly good for our bodies. The simple fermentation process creates healthy bacteria, that have amazing cancer-fighting and immunity-building properties, similar to the healthy probiotics in yogurt, but without dairy and fat. As cabbage ferments, it produces living bacteria that give our microbiome diversity!
These good bacteria, or “probiotics” help boost our whole immune system, keeping us healthy and better able to ward off illnesses.
But if you eat sauerkraut that has been pasteurized (the store-bought kind, canned and not refrigerated) the heat in the pasteurization process actually kills these good live bacteria, and so we won’t benefit from the probiotics…and that’s why I like to make it at home.
Plus it’s SO easy, and you can flavor it however you like.
Fermented Beet Kraut Ingredients:
How to make Beet Sauerkraut
Finely slice and grate cabbage and raw beets. You’ll need about 4 cups total.
I like to add a ⅛ to ¼ cup of sliced onion, and sometimes minced garlic. This is optional. It will make the smell slightly off-putting as it ferments, but once it’s refrigerated, it adds a really delicious flavor.
Place beets and cabbage in in a bowl and massage with 1 teaspoon salt. Let it sit in the bowl on the counter, mixing occasionally for a couple of hours. Add caraway seeds if you like, or a little grated ginger.
You’ll notice in the photo- I peeled the beet, which I do not recommend.
TIP: As I’ve made this recipe over and over now, I stopped peeling the beets- because the beet skin actually has the beneficial bacteria, so I just leave it on.
Place the cabbage mixture along with all the juices in a mason jar, and pack it down with a muddler or the end of a wooden spoon. Cover it with a cabbage leaf. Pack it down once more. Cover it with a cloth, or just partially close with a lid – you want it to be able to breathe a bit. Let it sit on the kitchen counter for 24 hours, in a warm spot, occasionally pressing down on the cabbage, compressing.
After 24 hours, if there is not enough liquid to cover the cabbage –in a separate cup, make a brine.
Mix 1 teaspoon fine sea salt with 1 cup filtered water, and ONLY add enough of the saltwater brine to bring the water level to the top of the cabbage (while pressing down on the cabbage). You may not need to use the whole cup of water.
Then leave it on the counter, with the cabbage weighed down ( see notes) covered loosely with a lid, over a pan to catch any juices, with a dishcloth placed over it (or place somewhere cool, ideally 65- 72 degrees F) for 3-5 days, or longer if you prefer more fermentation, occasionally pressing down on the cabbage.
My personal preference is 4-5 days at 65F for a refreshing and crunchy version. After a few days, you should start to see some activity, bubbles, with you tap the jar.
After 3-7 days, close it with a lid and put it in the fridge…and don’t worry, it will smell better once it is chilled. Once it chilled, it’s ready to eat. As it rests in the fridge, it will continue to ferment but at a much slower rate. It will taste better and better.
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