Real Fermenting: Beet-Cranberry Sauerkraut

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Beet-Cranberry Sauerkraut

Okay, so this beet sauerkraut recipe really came out of a chance conversation with my friend David Haddox, who happens to be my wife's cousin. He's a big time mountain biker and all-round superfit dude. He wrote, "Just FYI, beet = lots of nitrates, highest of veggies from what I've read. These nitrates help lower blood pressure, act as a vasodilator, and increases stamina somehow, not to mention all the vitamins for recovery." He's using vegetable juices as sports nutrition!

The beet in question

To lift the sweetness of the beets, I decided to add a handful of tart dried cranberries. The result? The most colorful sauerkraut I have made to date. I just know this is going to be a real crowdpleaser.


This is really as simple as all the other sauerkraut recipes I've made before (basic sauerkraut, wine sauerkraut).

The ingredients, minus half the cabbage

1 green cabbage (around 4lbs)
1 bunch beets
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 tbsp salt

Shred the cabbage finely and sprinkle with the salt. I use a 14-cup food processor with the slicing attachment for this. Superfast. Squish the cabbage up with your hands until your hand starts to cramp up. Then squeeze it a little more so you have a good about of cabbage-y brine. I do the squeezing part in a nice wide mixing bowl before I pour the whole mix into my fermenting pot.

Now peel and shred the beets using the grating attachment of the food processor (or just grate it by hand, much messier). This is probably the most beautiful grating I have ever seen, as the crimson juice positively squirts from the beets. Again, squeeze the beets with the cabbage and brine, and the whole mix will turn a vibrant pink. The beets give up a lot of juice, and make it trivial to cover the mixture in brine.

So vibrant!

Finally, stir in the dried cranberries and pack the whole lot into your fermenting vessel. Tamp the mix down firmly until the pink brine covers everything. Place a plate over the mixture and weigh it down with something heavy and clean. I use a water-filled quart mason jar, but anything will do. I read a great tip recently to use a water filled ziplock bag (could use brine in case of leaks) in place of a plate, but I haven't got any big enough bags at the moment.

Cover the whole lot with a clean, breathable cloth and put it somewhere safe and out of the way.

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