Pink Sauerkraut

The winter garden is fading fast.  The onions,  once growing in neat rows, must be hunted for among the ragweed and evening primrose.  The lettuce has become tall spires of bright yellow flowers,  and the Brussels sprouts have been harvested all the way up the stalks.

The cabbages this year have begun to split open and bloom if i don’t pick them in time, an unusual occurrence,  no doubt caused by the harsh winter that vernalized the collards as well. 

  Really all you need to make pink sauerkraut is red cabbage, but the beets are prolific in the garden this year.  Unlike places with richer,  sweeter soil,  Florida is not friendly to beets. An exciting harvest for me would likely look small and pathetic to the lucky Northern gardener,  and it’s only by adding quantities of dolomite lime when they are seeded do i get any sort of harvest at all. 

I like beets a lot though.  Their rich color and sweetness paired with the earthy flavor appeals to me.  In this recipe,  i used them to sweeten up the cabbage a bit,  which has lost a lot of its sweet flavor in the hot weather. 

I almost never can vegetables, preferring the old-fashioned salt pickling instead.  I like that it preserves vegetables as a living food,  with incredible numbers of diverse beneficial probiotic bacteria rather than the sterile and highly cooked canned pickles.

These salt-pickled vegetables become delightfully sour and keep their crunch better than heat canned veggies, and they provide us with a steady supply of vegetables while we wait for the summer garden come along.

Pink sauerkraut 5

Pink sauerkraut 4

Pink Sauerkraut

A good- sized head of cabbage

1-2 beets 

Fine,  non- iodized salt

  1.  Very finely slice the cabbage and grate the beets. 
  2. Now the vegetables must be salted.  There are specific weight ratios you can follow,  but i never have time for that. I salt the grated vegetables until they taste just a little saltier than i would like for a salad. I sprinkle some salt on, mix it up,  and add more as necessary. 

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3. Next the vegetables must be crushed or pounded. This releases the juices so the microorganisms can thrive,  and creates a brine to submerge the vegetables under,  keeping them in an anaerobic state that preserves them from mold or undesirable bacteria. 

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I have a wooden vegetable pounder,  but just crushing the shredded vegetables with your hands works well too.

Pink sauerkraut 1

4. Now they must be packed into clean glass mason jars.  Press the vegetables down with a wooden spoon or your knuckles so the juices are squeezed out. 

5. Cap the jars and let them ferment at room temperature for 1-2 weeks at least.  If they still taste too salty and not sour enough after 1-2 weeks,  your kitchen is colder than mine!  Leave them out another week or so,  until the kraut is tart and tangy.

9 Comments Add yours

  1. mariaminno says:

    Why do you use non-iodized salt?

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    1. Because the iodine will actually disrupt the culturing.

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  2. tonytomeo says:

    Ick! That does not look good at all. But, beets AND sauerkraut? It sure sounds better than it looks!

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    1. It’s quite good, actually! The salt pickled kraut is so different from the commercial pasteurized stuff! It’s tangy and crunchy and altogether tasty, i promise!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. tonytomeo says:

        I do not doubt that it ‘tastes’ excellent. It just ‘looks’ questionable. We make quite a bit of sauerkraut, but only with cabbage and salt. I have never added any other vegetable to it. I dislike the red cabbage, but the neighbor insists that it makes better sauerkraut. I suppose if we got a bunch of red cabbage, we would use it. We use whatever we get. Years ago, we got a whole bunch of cabbage when a truck full of it wrecked nearby. There was cabbage everywhere! A few years after that, we got crates of cabbage from a restaurant that mistakenly got too much in their grocery order. Their account was credited, but the cabbage could not be sent back. You would think that I would get tired of cabbage, but I just find new used for it. The last time we made sauerkraut, we did not cut it very finely, so it had a weird texture to it. I need to do it properly with a sharp knife or salami slicer next time.

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      2. That’s cooking for you, i guess! Everyone has different tastes to what they like! Honestly i can’t taste the beets at all, it just tastes like sauerkraut, but at this point in the season the cabbage has lost much of it’s sweetness. It really does make a big difference how finely cut the veggies are. I know what you mean!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. tonytomeo says:

        I seriously can not stand carrots! They are SO nasty! However, I grow them because everyone else likes them. I also grow turnip greens, even though no one else likes them, and I get them all to myself! Yes, we all have different tastes. I really dig beets, even if they take special timing here. I wish I could grow good cabbage comparable to that I got on the side of the highway. We just have an odd climate that favors all the warm season vegetables, but not the cool season vegetables.

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      4. And some people would be very jealous of that! Cabbage needs frost to be sweet… maybe it’s a weather thing that makes your cabbage less sweet?

        Liked by 1 person

      5. tonytomeo says:

        Our frost is pretty pathetic, but it is more than what the Salinas Valley gets, and excellent cabbage grows there. Those who grow it professionally know how to do so.
        Although I really enjoy our climate, the nice apples, peonies, lilacs and so many other plants that want chill are enviable.

        Liked by 1 person

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