I love sauerkraut and never tire of the basic cabbage-only recipe. But at Fermentools, we like to recommend variety to entice reluctant eaters to try fermented foods. If you have a reluctant eater or are one, try this amazing beet and cabbage sauerkraut recipe. The sweet of the beets gives it the flavor you might be looking for.
Sauerkraut is an amazingly versatile ferment. There are so many variations that are excitingly unique and surprisingly delicious, like:
And you can even make up your own variations that suit your tastes or what you have available. If you have a bunch of ginger, you could try a ginger sauerkraut and if you have a lot of extra kale you could try adding that too.
Though sauerkraut is made from cabbage, I find that the taste and texture is much milder than fresh or cooked cabbage, so it’s a good way to get family and friends who think they don’t like cabbage to begin to enjoy it. Of course, it can be quite tangy or sour if left to ferment for a long time but those who enjoy sauerkraut usually agree that it just gets better with age.
For newbies, a moderately fermented sauerkraut is a great way to introduce fermented foods. In that case, I like to ferment until it’s just starting to get sour, knowing it will continue to ferment as it ages.
An Amazing Beet and Sauerkraut in a Jar Recipe
• 3 cups purple or green cabbage (about 1/2 head)
• 1 cup grated beets (about one large beet)
• 3-4 slices of onion
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 tablespoon sea salt
• Quart Mason jar
1. Place cabbage, beets, onion, and garlic in a large bowl.
2. Sprinkle with sea salt.
3. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes or begin smashing and kneading with a wooden spoon or cabbage tamper right away. Really work the mixture to release the moisture. You can also let the mixture sit for longer (up to an hour) to encourage softening and releasing of moisture.
4. When there is a nice pool of cabbage/beet juice transfer the entire mixture to your jar. Pack the mixture tightly into the jar and pour all of the juice over it.
5. Be sure to leave one to two inches of headspace. If there’s not enough moisture to cover the cabbage mixture add additional brine to just cover the mixture. (For extra brine if needed, mix one teaspoon of salt to one cup of water.)
6. Cover the sauerkraut in a jar with a cabbage leaf, glass weight, or both. Place the airlock on the top of the jar and leave in a warm place for five to seven days.
7. When the sauerkraut is to your liking, remove the airlock and cap with a regular top.
8. Refrigerate or keep in a root cellar for six to 12 months.
Insider Tips for Amazing Sauerkraut in a Jar
• Fresh cabbage will have enough moisture that you won’t need the extra brine. The exception is old cabbage which may be dry.
• Be sure to cover the mixture with brine/cabbage juice or you could encourage mold growth.
• Purple cabbage will give the mixture a deeper red/purple color, but green cabbage will take on the red of the beets as well and looks pinker.
• Many believe that sauerkraut is best when refrigerated for a week or two after being fermented.
Enjoy your sauerkraut!
To eliminate the problems associated with oxygen exposure, use airlocks with your ferments. The Fermentools lid is specially made of surgical-grade steel to fit the airlocks perfectly, not rust and last a lifetime. To get yours, visit the Fermentools store.
Mindy Wood is a writer, wife, mother, and homesteader, living in the beautiful mountains of New Hampshire. She writes at Purposefully Simple where she shows people how to live more self-reliant and healthy lives by growing their own food and learning other homesteading skills.