Recently 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!
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