Beet and Cabbage Kraut

Beet Cabbage KrautRecently I posted about how I make sauerkraut. When it comes to vegetable ferments I mostly make sauerkraut, but I love to mix it up a little for variety and flavor. One of my favorite things to do is to add grated beets.

Beets are wonderfully cleansing, and they add a lovely touch of sweetness and an added dimension to the flavor of the ferment. I LOVE this ferment! I’ve actually nearly finished it already, and I’m going to make another one exactly like it!

I followed my sauerkraut recipe except I added grated beets (obviously!) and I had also started chopping up the cabbage before I realized that I didn’t have any whey! So I used a bit of extra salt and it worked out perfectly.

Beet and Cabbage Kraut

1 medium cabbage (I used green)
2 medium beets, peeled and grated
3 1/2 teaspoons fine-ground sea salt
1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped (optional)
1-2 teaspoons Caraway seeds (optional)
Extra salt and water as needed for brine
1/4 cup whey (optional – I didn’t have any and it still worked just fine)

1. Finely chop up the cabbage. As your chopping board fills up with cabbage, toss it into a large bowl (or pot). Add the grated beets on top. Sprinkle over the salt, garlic and carraway seeds.

2. Wash your hands, roll up your sleeves and start scrunching that cabbage with your hands! As you go, mix everything together really well so that the salt, cabbage and grated beets are mixed together really well. Do this for about 5-10 minutes. If you tilt the bowl and move the cabbage out of the way, you should start to see juice collecting in the bottom of the bowl.

3. When everything has been mixed and scrunched really well, and you have juice collecting in the bottom of your bowl, you’re ready to transfer the contents to the jar that it will ferment in.

Note: It’s important to use a glass jar as opposed to a plastic or metallic container because the glass is non-reactive and won’t interfere with the fermentation process. Also, make sure you have a way of weighing down the contents while they’re fermenting.

4. Pack the contents into the jar tightly to remove as many air pockets as possible. When I made this batch, the juice was barely reaching the top of the vegetables, so I added 2 cups of brine (1 cup of brine = 1 teaspoon sea salt dissolved in 1 cup filtered water). I added 2 cups of brine instead of 1 cup because I wanted lots of liquid (sometimes I like to add a couple spoonfuls of the fermented juice to my smoothies).

I then added a glass (or you could use a glass jar) to weigh down the vegetables, which caused the level of the brine to cover the vegetables (apart from a few floaters!).

5. I then covered it and put it in away in the coat cupboard (my usual fermenting spot because its cool and has an even temperature!) for a week.

6. A week later I removed it from the cupboard and here’s the before and after shots:

As you can see, the brine level rose as the salt continued to pull water out of the vegetables during the fermentation process, and the color deepened as the beet juice permeated the cabbage. Isn’t it a beautiful color!

When I pulled it out of the cupboard it had that nice crisp, tangy smell to it. I also tasted some and it tasted crisp, fresh, salty and a little tangy. I’ve been slowly munching my way through it over the past couple weeks and the flavor has matured and become more complex over time – it’s become less salty, more tangy, and the beet is really shining through. It tastes so fresh and alive, I can’t enough of it!

If you’re interested in making this but still feel a little uncertain about some of the steps in the process, I recommend reading my step by step guide to making sauerkraut here.

Lacto-fermented vegetables are a great probiotic food, are so good for you, and really tasty too! Go ahead and try it!

Linking to: Real Food Wednesdays @ Kelly the Kitchen Kop, Healthy 2day Wednesdays @ day2dayjoys, Whole Food Wednesday @ Beyond the Peel, Full Plate Thursdays @ Miz Helen’s, Pennywise Platter Thursdays @ Nourishing Gourmet, Fight Back Friday @ Food Renegade, Freaky Friday @ Real Food Freaks, Friday Food Flicks @ Traditional Foods, Sunday School @ Butter Believer, Monday Mania @ Healthy Home Economist, Homestead Barnhop @ The Prairie Homestead, Make Your Own Mondays, Fat Tuesday @ Real Food Forager, Traditional Tuesdays @ Cooking Traditional Foods

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29 Comment

  1. Patti says:

    I grew up with these two Polish ingredients!! Love it!

    1. Debbie says:

      So good for you too!

  2. Hi Debbie, this recipe looks wonderful! I enjoy making fermented vegetables and fruits so I will be making your recipe. I would love to have you contribute a fermented recipe on my blog at Feel free to contact me if interested at

  3. Mary says:

    Looks great! I love kraut, and LOVE beets, so great combo! Looking forward to trying this next time! Thanks!

    1. Debbie says:

      Thanks Mary! I love this combo, so I hope you enjoy it too!

  4. Lynne says:

    Have you tried doing this using a PIckl-It jar with an airlock (or any other product that does the same thing)? Don’t have to use the drinking glass that way and less likely to lose a batch of kraut. I’ve got a gallon jar I found on the internet that has the same kind of airlock in the lid and it works, too. But the PIckl-It jars come in all different sizes of jar.

    1. Debbie says:

      I haven’t tried the Pickl-It jar, I’d never really thought about. But now that you mention it I’m thinking I should look into it! It will probably make the process easier and more fail-proof as you say. Thanks!

  5. Lynne says:

    The beets are raw in this recipe? I heard they can get slimey when fermented. ?? I have a bunch of beets I’d love to try doing this with right now…

    1. Debbie says:

      The beets are raw. I’ve never had any problems with them getting slimey in this ferment recipe. The only times I’ve had problems with slime is when I didn’t ensure the veges were properly protected from being exposed to air. Beets are so good in this, I would give it a go!

  6. Miz Helen says:

    Hi Debbie,
    This is such a wonderful combination. I am a big Beet fan so I have to try this, it looks so good I can almost taste it. Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday. Hope you have a great week end and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

  7. Cecilia says:

    What a great idea and instructive post! So how long will this kraut last in the fridge (that is, if I don’t consume it all on the spot).

    1. Debbie says:

      If it has been properly fermented, it will last for months! But I don’t make huge batches, so it typically takes me a month to munch through what I make. But nearly a year ago I made a ferment with sliced daikon radish and beets which just ended up sitting in the fridge because I didn’t like the chunky texture (I prefer grated), and I recently threw it out, and it was still good!

      1. Cecilia says:

        That’s good to know about it’s shelf life. I think small batches is a good idea. Usually I get so excited about something I over do it.

  8. Betsy says:

    After it’s done fermenting, do you pour out the excess liquid or store it in the fridge as is? I’d think the excess liquid would make it turn soggy?

    1. Debbie says:

      The excess liquid is full of probiotic goodness! I use excess liquid on purpose so that I can add a spoonful to my smoothies each time I make them. I keep the excess liquid in the jar with the cabbage, and it doesn’t make it soggy at all!

  9. Thank you for your submission on Nourishing Treasures’ Make Your Own! Monday link-up.

    Check back later tonight when the new link-up is running to see if you were one of the top 3 featured posts! 🙂

  10. Karen says:

    I just made a batch of this ferment. I used cabbage, beets and a little bit of carrots
    (for good measure) but no garlic. I also added the spice ground cloves as I love
    it with beets. Hope it turns out. Thanks for showing us your ferment!

    1. Debbie says:

      This sounds great! Carrots always work really well and are a good addition. I’ve never thought to add spices, but that’s a great idea! Please let me know how it turns out!

  11. WolfSong says:

    I’ve been making sauerkraut for a few years now, but never thought of adding beets. I’ll have to make a small batch and try that! My favorite batch, so far, has been with red cabbage and cayenne peppers. Spicy and hot, just the way I like it. 😉

    I will add though…sauerkraut definitely can be made in plastic containers, as long as they are food safe. I’ve used gallon ice cream pails, a 25 lb margerine pail, and my last find was a 5 gallon pickle pail, that I do 50 lbs of cabbage at a time in. Metal, however, is not suitable for fermenting, just like you said.

    1. Debbie says:

      Red cabbage and cayenne peppers sounds great! I didn’t know that about plastic, but good to know! Hope you enjoy it with beets 🙂

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  15. edibleJungle says:

    I plan to make this today! thanks for the recipe. Looks delicous.

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  18. mie says:

    Hi, Thanks for sharing this.
    Do you peel the skin of beets? I just made a batch with beets/carrots/ginger but as I thought the skin of veggies are the key for the fermentation, I left the skin of the beets too ( I did peel ginger though).

    1. Debbie says:

      Hi, I always peel things like beets and carrots (and ginger too, of course 🙂 Not peeling them would be fine too, so long as you scrubbed them well to remove any dirt and grit. But the skin is not critical for fermentation, the lactic acid bacteria seem to be everywhere, not just the skin.

  19. cris says:

    Hi, do you have a per jar salt amount for say quarts and gallons? I have a huge cabbage and various sizes of beets from my garden and would like to try this with just salt and no whey. Now that I’m asking this I realize that it wouldn’t really work that way as I need to add the salt to the big pot to mix everything together to get the liquid out. I’m just wanting to add a bunch of veggies including carrots and not sure how to figure the salt amount if I’m not weighing everything?

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