Beetroot & Red Cabbage Sauerkraut
It's Christmas! It's Christmas!
There are many things I love about this time of year:
gathering with friends and family
the many varieties and colours of christmas lights
But being a minimalist, there's one thing I do not like about the holiday season: the commercialization of it. Don't get me wrong, I love to give gifts - but not just for the sake of giving gifts. I like to give things that are thoughtful or that I know will be of use to others... and edible gifts are always winners.
This year for Christmas I gifted several jars of sauerkraut. It's fermented in batch so the large quantity makes for multiple cute little gifts when placed in small jars, sealed with cloth and ribbon or twine.
Another gift is sauerkraut's main health benefit: probiotics.
Dietitian's Definition: probiotics are beneficial bacteria that live in the intestinal tract.
Here are some of the benefits probiotics offer:
protect against harmful bacteria
produce antimicrobial compounds
enhance nutrition status by improving the absorption of certain nutrients
make certain vitamins, such as vitamin K and biotin
release enzymes that help with food breakdown, which positively affect metabolism and protect against colorectal cancer
strengthen the immune system
What happens if there is not enough good bacteria? The gut flora is more easily taken over by pathogens.
Dietitian's Definition: pathogens are disease-causing microorganisms.
These harmful pathogens can:
decrease immune function and therefore increase risk of infection
compromise metabolism, and
contribute to weight gain
So how to ferment your own nutritious and delicious sauerkraut? Here are the steps:
Step 1: gather equipment and ingredients - you'll need: red cabbage, beetroots, coriander seeds, salt, a large bowl, a large glass jar, a weighted object, a clean cloth and rubber band
Step 2: finely slice the red cabbage and add it to the bowl
Step 3: grate the beetroot and add it to the bowl
Step 4: add the salt to the bowl
Step 5: work the salt into the vegetables by massaging and squeezing for 10-15 minutes
Step 6: transfer the mixture into a glass jar, including the brine that's extracted
Step 7: firmly push down the mixture until it the cabbage and beets are submerged under the brine
Step 8: add a weight on top of the mixture so it remains fully submerged throughout the fermentation and close with an air-tight lid
Step 9: allow the sauerkraut to ferment for 5 to 10 days away from direct sunlight at a cool temperature, about 18 to 24°C (65 to 75 F)
Step 10: once fermented place the sauerkraut in desired glass jars and seal with an airtight lid
Note: step #8 is especially important.
You want to make sure your sauerkraut is fully submerged under the brine while fermenting to avoid any harmful bacteria from growing in it. If after massaging for up to 15 minutes you still don't have enough liquid to fully submerge the sauerkraut, you can add some salted water.
Make sure to use a clean weight to weigh down the sauerkraut or else it will rise back above the liquid after a few hours. Here I used a clean cup and placed some rice in it it:
Note: the picture above was taken after 7 days when I chose to end the fermentation. You'll see that bubbles naturally form on the top as part of the fermentation process. This is normal and not a cause for concern.
If giving it as a gift, covering the lid with cute fabric and wrapping with a ribbon or twine, as I did:
Happy holiday season, everyone!
Beetroot & Red Cabbage Sauerkraut
▸ ▹ Vegan, raw, gluten-free, oil-free, refined sugar-free, nut-free
Yield: 8 cups Prep Time: 20 min Total Time: 5 to 10 days
1 medium head red cabbage, cored, thinly sliced*
2 medium beetroots, peeled, grated
1.5 Tbsp (20-25g) salt
1 Tbsp (15g) whole coriander seeds*
Add the cabbage, beetroot and salt to a large glass bowl. Work the salt into the vegetables by firmly massaging and squeezing for 10 to 15 minutes. Note: the cabbage will get softer as you continue to massage and liquids will naturally release to create a brine. When finished massaging, mix in the coriander seeds.
Transfer the mixture, including the brine, into a clean glass jar. Firmly push down the mixture until the vegetables are fully submerged under the brine. Note: it’s very important the mixture is fully submerged. If not, mix half a teaspoon of salt in a cup of water and add this to the jar to submerge.
Place a clean weight on top of the vegetables to keep them fully submerged under the brine throughout the fermentation process.
Close with an air-tight lid and allow the sauerkraut to ferment for 5 to 10 days away from direct sunlight and at a cool temperature, about 18 to 24°C (65 to 75 F); taste test after 4 days to determine when you’d like to stop fermentation.
Once fermented, place the sauerkraut in desired glass jar and seal airtight with a lid. Note: bubbles will naturally form on top throughout the fermentation process, this is normal and not a cause for concern.
*Variations: choose green cabbage instead, or flavour with caraway seeds or juniper berries instead of coriander seeds.
Speed-it-up: using a food processor to grate and slice the cabbage shortens the preparation time.
Storage: store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to three months