Vibrant red beets. Earthy notes. Numerous health benefits in this sauerkraut recipe.
Beets are an amazing source of minerals and unique health-boosting nutrients. These grungy-looking roots are sweet, impart a beautiful ruby-red color to your sauerkraut and pack tons of flavor underneath their rugged exterior.
They are a wonderful tonic for the liver, working to purify the blood. The plant pigment that gives beets its rich, purple-crimson color is betacyanin; a powerful agent thought to suppress the development of some types of cancer. I can’t say enough about my love for beets.
And, I’ll bet you didn’t know this.
Studies show that beetroot juice boosts your stamina. A 2009 study shows that the nitrate contained in beetroot juice leads to an increase in oxygen uptake, making exercise less tiring. Participants in this study drank 500 ml of the juice per day for six consecutive days before completing the tests.
Yes, a serving of sauerkraut will not get close to delivering 500 ml of beetroot juice, but it’s still is imparting a wide range of benefits. Time for me to develop a fermented beetroot juice recipe… in due time. 🙂
If you enjoy beets in your sauerkraut, my SureFire Sauerkraut Recipe Collection eBook contains two recipes rich in beets: Cardamom Beet Sauerkraut and Rosemary Beet Sauerkraut. Just the color these sauerkrauts add to your plate, especially in the dead of winter, is enough to brighten any day.
This post was originally published on September 26, 2014. It was last updated with new information and images on February 2, 2017.
Note: If this is your first time to make sauerkraut, use The SureFire Sauerkraut Method… In a Jar: 7 Easy Steps, with its step-by-step photography, tips, and additional fermentation information first, then return to this recipe.
And, once you are comfortable making sauerkraut in a jar and want to make larger batches follow: The SureFire Sauerkraut Method… In a Crock: 7 Easy Steps.
Notes and Tips to Get You Started on this Passion Pink Sauerkraut Recipe
Beets have the Highest Sugar Content of All Vegetables
This is not a bad thing, just be aware if you add too many beets to your sauerkraut, the sugar content of your ferment is such that it may turn into a sweet slime.
When adding the grated beets to the scale, I keep an eye on the weight and try to keep it under 25% of the total weight for the recipe. For a 1-quart (liter) batch: 7 ounces (200 grams). This should prevent the development of a slimy ferment.
Beets can be Tough to Grate
I always peel them first – to get rid of the “dirt” taste – and if I’m making an extra-large batch of sauerkraut, I pull out my food processor. Otherwise, use your hand grater, and glove, if you don’t want a red hand for a day or two.
Remove the red stain from your hands.
If your hands become stained with beetroot, rub with lemon juice and salt before washing with soap and water.
Don’t like the Garlic Smell on Your Hands?
Many swear by the stainless steel trick. Rub soapy hands on the faucet (and then dry it with a towel). Clean hands, shiny faucet. Me? I just wash my hands immediately with soap and water and it’s fine.
Small “Jelly” Canning Jar
The recipe calls for a small 4-ounce (125 ml) “Jelly” canning jar which is used as a weight to hold the fermenting sauerkraut below the brine. For other ideas on what to use as a weight see:
Browning of Your Ferment
You may notice – if conditions aren’t optimal – that the top inch or so of your sauerkraut loses its color and turns a bit brown. This is oxidation and it can occur during fermentation or if stored for too long in your refrigerator. Just scoop off the browned section and enjoy the goodness below. And, try to eat sauerkraut containing beets within 5-6 months of fermentation.
Recipes that use Passion Pink Sauerkraut
For more ideas, check out my ever-growing list of ways to enjoy your sauerkraut.
Passion Pink Sauerkraut Recipe
I have two forms of my Passion Pink Sauerkraut Recipe for you. The online one that follows – with numerous pictures – and a PDF version below for printing that includes Gourmet Pairing Options and information on recipe ingredients.
Passion Pink Sauerkraut [A Love of Beets!]
I am not a fan of caraway seeds and didn't think I would like their flavor in this recipe. But, I've been pleasantly surprised and find this beet and caraway combination very pleasing to the palate. It's one of my favorites. Enjoy!
For a PDF version of this recipe, including Gourmet Pairing Options, scroll to the end of this post.
You Will Need
- 1 medium head fresh green cabbage, 2 ½–3 pounds (1 kg)
- 2-3 medium beets
- 2-3 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) iodine-free salt (fine-grain)
- Kitchen scale, ideally digital
- Cutting board and large knife
- Large mixing bowl
- Vegetable peeler, grater and measuring spoons
- 1 1-quart (L) wide-mouth canning jar or similar sized jar liter
- 4 4-ounce (125 ml) canning jar (jelly jar) or other "weight"
- Wide-mouth plastic storage cap or lid and rim that comes with jar
SET UP. Gather Supplies and Set Up Scale
Using a scale to make your sauerkraut will ensure that you add the correct amount of salt for a safe fermentation environment.
You don’t want to include the weight of your bowl in your measurements, so either zero out the scale (usually done with a button on a digital scale or a knob under the tray on a mechanical scale) or write down the weight of your bowl (tare).
CHOP. Prep Your Vegetables and Cabbage
You will need 1¾ pounds (28 ounces, 800 grams) of vegetables and cabbage in your bowl.
When making sauerkraut, you first prepare the flavoring ingredients – carrots, ginger, radish, caraway seeds or whatnot – then add sliced cabbage. This allows you to add only as much sliced cabbage as necessary to hit 1¾ pounds on the scale.
Peel and grate beets, mince garlic and place in your bowl along with the caraway seeds.
Discard the limp outer leaves of the cabbage, setting aside one of the cleaner ones for use during the SUBMERGE step.
Quarter, then slice cabbage crosswise into thin ribbons. I leave the core in because I find it helps to hold the layers of cabbage together making the slicing job easier.
Add sliced cabbage to your bowl until the weight of your vegetables and cabbage is 1¾ pounds (28 ounces, 800 grams).
SALT. Create Your Brine
Salt pulls water out of the cabbage and vegetables to create an environment where the good bacteria (mainly lactobacillus) can grow and proliferate and the bad bacteria die off.
Sprinkle vegetables and cabbage with 1 tablespoon of salt and mix well.
If you want the salt to do some of the work for you, you can leave your salted and well-mixed bowl of cabbage sit for 20-60 minutes.
Then, massage the vegetables with strong hands until moist, creating the brine. You should be able to tilt the bowl to the side and see a good-sized puddle of brine, about 2–3 inches in diameter - see the picture below. This process can take anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes.
PACK. Pack Mixture into Jar
Now that you have a puddle of brine, it’s time to pack the cabbage mixture into your jar.
Grab handfuls of the salty, juicy cabbage mixture and pack them into your quart-sized (liter) wide-mouth canning jar, periodically pressing the mixture down tightly with your fist or a large spoon so that the brine rises above the top of the mixture and no air pockets remain.
Be sure to leave at least 1 inch of space between the top of the cabbage and the top of the jar. Because we weighed out just the right amount of cabbage to fit in your jar, this should happen automatically.
Pour any brine left in your mixing bowl into the jar and scrape out any loose bits stuck to the sides of the bowl or to the side of your jar.
Lastly, wipe down the outside of your jar and posh down any loose bits stuck to the sides of the bowl or the side of your jar.
SUBMERGE. Hold Ferment Below Brine
Now make sure your fermenting mixture is in a safe anaerobic (no air) environment. This means that you need to keep the cabbage mixture submerged in the brine while it ferments.
Floaties Trap. Take that cabbage leaf you saved during the SETUP step, tear it down to just fit in the jar, and place it over the surface of the packed cabbage.
Forgot to save a cabbage leaf? No problem. You can fold a narrow piece of parchment paper to size or even cut an old plastic lid to size.
Place the 4-ounce jelly jar - or whatever you are using as a weight - on top of the cabbage leaf, right side up with its lid removed.
Lightly (to allow for escape of CO2 gases), screw on the white plastic storage lid. I like to label my jars using green or blue painter’s tape and a permanent marker. I note the flavor of sauerkraut I made and the date I started fermenting.
I like to label my jars using green or blue painter’s tape and a permanent marker. I note the flavor of sauerkraut I made and the date I started fermenting.
In these pictures, I'm using a Pickle Pusher to hold the ferment below the brine and Trellis & Co. stainless steel airlock lid..
FERMENT. Ferment for 1 to 4 Weeks
Time now for the friendly bacteria to do their work while you watch and wait. Can you wait 7 days to taste the tangy crunch?
Place your jar of fermenting sauerkraut in a shallow bowl (to catch the brine that may leak out during the first week of fermentation), out of direct sunlight. Wait for 1 week before opening to sample.
The jar on the left is Day 1; right, Day 5.
For what to expect as your sauerkraut ferments, see SALTY Cabbage to SOUR Sauerkraut: Fermentation Signs to Monitor
Should the brine level fall (very unlikely) and remain below the level of the sauerkraut during this first week,
dilute 1 Tbsp of salt in 2 cups of water
and pour some of this brine over the sauerkraut (removing the little jar first) until it just covers the mixture. Put the little jar back in, screw the lid on lightly and let the fermentation continue.
Don’t worry if the brine disappears after the 7- to 10-day mark. By this time, you’ve created a safe environment in which the bacteria that would cause mold or slime has been chased away by the beneficial bacteria produced during the fermentation process.
You can ferment your sauerkraut for up to 4 weeks. The longer you ferment it, the greater the number and variety of beneficial bacteria that can be produced.
STORE. Store in Refrigerator for Up to 1 Year
After fermenting your sauerkraut, it’s ready to go into the refrigerator and ready to be eaten.
Rinse off the outside of the jar. You can take the little jar out. Clean the rim if necessary (sometimes it can get sticky from the brine that overflows), and screw the lid back on tightly.
Add to your label how long you fermented the contents.
Enjoy a forkful or two of your sauerkraut with your meals. It will continue to ferment – aging like a fine wine – but at a much slower rate that before.
If the flavors are too intense, leave it the jar for a month or two and then eat it. You will be amazed at how the flavors have changed.
If successfully fermented (tastes and smells good), your sauerkraut can be kept preserved in your refrigerator for up to a year.
All my sauerkraut recipes include a downloadable PDF in the same style as the recipes in my eBook: The SureFire Sauerkraut Recipe Collection.
Click to Download the above PDF for My Passion Pink Sauerkraut Recipe with its useful set of tips and Gourmet Pairing Options on the backside. NO OPTI-IN required. And, please accept my apologies for the off-colors on the first page. I haven’t yet been able to prevent that during file conversion. 🙁