It’s been about a month since I last posted. First there was Christmas, then we were gone for a week, on vacation and to celebrate my parents 50th wedding anniversary. Then things got busy at work, and to be honest, after doing a post a day, in December I needed a little break.
But I’m back, and back with a new fermentation recipe. If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile you’ll know that I love sauerkraut, pickles and all sorts of fermented foods, and thanks to my friends over at Cheftalk, not long ago I received a fermentation crock, which I have been keeping full. You can find my review of that crock over at Cheftalk, here. I’ve also written recipes for making sauerkraut which I’ve posted both on my blog and on Cheftalk. You can find those recipes here and here.
With my most recent batch of sauerkraut I wanted to try something a little different. In my mind, I have always associated cabbage and beets with each other. I’m not sure why, other than the fact that they are both stereotypical Eastern European vegetables. This association got me to wondering what it would be like to grate beets into my cabbage to make a red, beet sauerkraut. It was worth a try, I thought, so I called up my brother, who also happens to really be into the whole fermentation thing and he wasn’t very optimistic. He said that he had tried it once and was not happy with the results. His batch came out slimy and with an unpleasant taste. While I appreciated his advice I was determined to try it for myself and see what happens, but his experience led me to decide that a smaller batch was in order, just so not to waste a bunch of food, if it didn’t work out.
Luckily, I had much better luck than my brother. My beet sauerkraut came out a beautiful red color, with a crisp texture and an interesting, but not unpleasant taste. The beets lent a slight sweetness to the kraut and an earthy note that played well against the cabbage. The only drawback is when I sautéed the beet cabbage with some white wine it dulled the color considerably, but the wonderful flavor was still there.
2 quarts Water
3 Tb. Kosher Salt
4 pounds Cabbage
1 pound Beets, peeled (weighed after peeling)
3 Tb. Kosher Salt
Bring the water to a boil and add the kosher salt. Stir until dissolved then remove from heat, cool to room temperature and set aside.
Remove the outer leaves from the cabbage, core and finely shred it. Using a large holed grater, grate the beets.
Sprinkle with the kosher salt then mix everything together, pounding the cabbage and beets to make them start releasing their juices.
Pack, tightly, into your fermentation vessel of choice (see links above for more detailed explanations of making sauerkraut), and weigh down. The cabbage should have produced enough liquid, on its own, to cover, but if not, add some of the reserved brine, that you made, until the liquid tops the vegetables by about 1 inch. Ferment for 4-7 weeks, or until it is as sour as you like it. Pack into sterilized canning jars and top with lids but don’t screw them on tight.
Place in the fridge. After 2-3 days, when the chill has slowed down the fermentation you can tighten the lids slightly. Serve as you would any other sauerkraut.
I served it as a quick Choucroute 1 night. To do this I browned up a couple of different sausages removed them from the pan, added onions and sautéed them before adding the kraut and a cup of white wine. I then added the sausages back to the pan, covered and allowed to simmer until the sausages were cooked through (about 20 minutes).