Making sauerkraut at home is very easy! Especially when doing small batches, it only requires a few minutes of prep time. This old way of preserving food is a fun process to learn. This recipe for Beetroot and Cabbage Sauerkraut is just lightly fermented, resulting in a kraut that is fresh, crunchy and not overly salty –making it a perfect side “salad” to any meal.
In this recipe I use purple cabbage and grated beetroot, which gives it a beautiful vibrant color. 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…. an old pasta sauce jar is perfect! (we had many hiding in our cupboard)
The main reason I am in love with homemade kraut is this— it’s incredibly good for our bodies. The simple fermentation process, an ancient way of preserving food, has amazing cancer fighting and immunity building properties, similar to the healthy probiotics in yogurt, but without the diary and fat. As cabbage ferments, it produces live bacteria. These bacteria, or “probiotics” replenish the good bacteria in our bodies and help stop the growth of bad bacteria, boosting our whole immune system. But if you buy sauerkraut from the supermarket or store (mainly the shelf stable ones), these have usually been pasteurized. The heat in the pasteurization process actually kills the good, live bacteria! So you won’t benefit from the probiotics…and that’s why I like to make it at home.
Finely slice and grate cabbage and beets. You need about 4 cups total. I will use one whole cabbage and 2-3 large beetroots, this usually makes double the recipe and requires more time. Adding ⅛ to ¼ cup of sliced red onion, and a touch of freshly crushed garlic is optional and will make the smell slightly off putting as it ferments, but once it’s refrigerated, its adds a really delicious flavor!
Place in a bowl and massage with 1 teaspoon salt. Let it sit in the bowl on the counter, mixing occasionally for a couple hours. Add caraway seeds if you like, or a little grated ginger.
Place the cabbage mixture along with all its juices in to several clean jars, and pack it down with a wooden spoon. Cover it with those outer cabbage leaves we saved at the start. Pack it down once more. Cover it with a cloth, or just partially close with a lid – you want it to be able to breath 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, mix 1 teaspoon salt with 1 cup water, and ONLY add enough of the salt water to bring the water level to 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 for 4-8 days, or longer if you prefer a really fermented flavor, occasionally pressing down on the cabbage. My personal preference is 5 days for a refreshing and crunchy version.
After 4-8 days, screw the lid on and put it in the fridge…and don’t worry, it will smell better once it is chilled. After a couple of hours, 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.
A very easy, small batch recipe for Beet and Cabbage Sauerkraut that anyone can make using a mason jar or old pasta jar. Full of good healthy bacteria!
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Total Time: 20 mins
- Yield: 3-6 cups
- Category: Preserving/Fermenting Foods
- 3 cups red cabbage - finely & freshly sliced (save the outer 2-3 leaves)
- 1 cup freshly grated beetroot
- ⅛-¼ cup sliced red onion
- 1 garlic clove grated
- 1-2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
- Finely slice and grate cabbage and beets.
- You need about 4 cups total, but feel free to double this recipe.
- Place in a bowl along with any other optional ingredients and massage with 1 teaspoon himalayan rock salt. Let sit on the counter, mixing occasionally for 1-2 hours, until cabbage has wilted and released a little water.
- Place cabbage beet mixture and all the juices in a sterile jar and pack it down with a muddler, or the end of a wooden spoon. If there is not enough liquid to cover, add just enough water so cabbage-beet mixture is submerged. Leaving at least an inch of space at the top of jar. Top with a cabbage leaf and press it down once more. Cover with loosely with a lid and place on a tea towel or tray (to catch any liquid).
- Then place in a cool place (basement, cellar, dark cupboard) for 4-8 days. Longer if you wish.
- Once fermented to desired amount, place in the fridge. Once its chilled the smell will surprisingly mellow out and it will actually seem edible! So let it chill overnight, discard the top cabbage leaf, then give it a taste!
Do not use pre-shredded cabbage. You need the natural bacteria from a whole cabbage. Farmers market cabbage works especially well.