This Ginger Beet Sauerkraut recipe is a nice variation for your traditional sauerkraut. I love using beets in my ferments. Not only do they add such a lovely color, but they also impart strong beneficial health properties including cardiovascular and liver benefits. When fermenting with beets, the fermentation can pick up speed fairly quickly since beets possess much more sugar than the average vegetable. As such, don’t overdo the quantity of beets that you include in this recipe. Don’t be surprised if this ferment starts to get a little bubbly froth at the surface. Seeing an active fermentation such as this is a surefire way to get me excited about how it’s going to turn out. This one is delicious.
- 1 head green cabbage sliced thinly (approx 2 lbs)
- 1 medium beet, grated or thinly sliced
- 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, grated
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds (not the pods). This is optional but it adds a nice nuance to the flavor. You could use cardaomom powder instead.
- 1 Tablespoon sea salt
- Prepare the veggies - Slice the cabbage thinly. Grate or thinly slice the beet. Grate or dice the ginger. I like using this Microplane Grater/Zester when grating ginger.
- Toss with salt - Mix the cabbage, beet, ginger and cardamom together in a large bowl and toss with the salt. Let it sit for 30 minutes or so until the cabbage starts to sweat.
- Place in fermentation vessel - Place the tossed ingredients into a fermentation vessel. You can use a 1 gallon Anchor Hocking Jar, a fermenting crock like this one I use, or a mason jar with an airlock on top such as these Pickle Pipes from MasonTops, this Recap Airlock and Stopper, or the Perfect Pickler. Include any liquid which may remain at the bottom
- Press the mix down with your fist or this Pickle Packer which I adore to compress it in the container and then place a weight of some sort on top of the mix and wait a few hours as the liquid is leached from the veggies and gradually rises to fully cover the veggies. If the liquid doesn't fully rise to cover the veggies, feel free to press down again to see if you can coax more liquid out.
- If after several hours, the liquid level hasn't risen above the level of the veggies, add water until all the veggies are covered by an inch or so of liquid. If adding water, you should stir the ingredients together again thoroughly to distribute the salt evenly throughout.
- Leave the weight on and cover with a towel and leave out to sit and ferment. Check it whenever you are curious and take a nibble. Leave it to ferment for a couple of weeks or until your taste is satisfied that it is ready. It should taste tangy and feel very alive in your mouth when you eat it.
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Measuring and Using Salt in Fermenting
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It isn’t necessary for you measure the pH of your sauerkrauts, but if you find the science aspects of fermentation as interesting as I do, you may want to invest in a nice digital pH tester like this one which I use. These disposable testing strips are a nice lower cost alternative. The pH of this ferment seemed to stabilize around 3.1. The additional sugars in the beets end up in the development of more lactic acid during the ferment and thus eventually a more acidic dish which has a lower pH. Besides testing your veggie and alcohol ferments, it can also come in handy with kombucha making.
My favorite use for this is simply tossing it into a green salad to add more color, taste and probiotic effect. You can top a burger (veggie or otherwise) with this.