I have been making my family’s sauerkraut for years now, and we have enjoyed a variety of recipes. This recipe for Pink Fermented Sauerkraut is the one I return to most often. We all prefer the flavor that the purple cabbage adds to a standard sauerkraut made with green cabbage.
Benefits Of Fermented Sauerkraut
These days, it seems that most people have learned of the benefits of probiotics. There are a lot of good probiotics that can be bought and taken in capsule form, and they are helpful and beneficial.
As a family, we have gone through phases of taking probiotic supplements and it has done us good.
But now we eat our probiotics!
Real traditional fermented sauerkraut is absolutely full of beneficial bacteria that our bodies need.
According to the book, Nourishing Traditions, ” The proliferation of lactobacilli in fermented vegetables enhances their digestibility and increases vitamin levels. These beneficial organisms produce numerous helpful enzymes as well as well as antibiotic and anticarcinogenic substances. Their main by-product, lactic acid, not only keeps vegetables and fruits in a state of perfect preservation but also promotes the growth of healthy flora throughout the intestine.”
We almost always have a supply of sauerkraut fermenting in the pantry, while there are jars available to eat in the refrigerator. We add sauerkraut to our lunch most days, it is a rare day when we don’t.
Sauerkraut always starts with the same basic ingredients; cabbage and salt are the foundation.
I love to use both purple and green cabbage for sauerkraut. But due to the darker pigment of purple cabbage, it contains more antioxidants. Because of that and the flavor, it is a wonderful addition.
I also add fresh garlic and onion, which increase the vitamins C, B6, potassium, and folate in the sauerkraut. They also make sauerkraut even more delicious, I think the onion gives it a slight sweetness.
I always use a high quality salt in my recipes. I buy this one.
Although, there are very traditional methods of making sauerkraut, some may prefer a modern method. Sometimes I am in the mood to use my food processor to chop up the cabbage, onions, and garlic.
I like the texture of the smaller pieces of vegetables. Chopping them up like that also speeds up the fermenting process as there is more liquid from the cabbage and more surface area of the vegetables.
Shredding the cabbage results in larger, crunchier pieces of sauerkraut. When doing this, I chop up the onion by hand and use a garlic press for the garlic.
Both methods provide great sauerkraut, both methods require the same effort in clean-up. Often, when weighing my options in the kitchen, the clean-up time and effort is my deciding factor!
So, when it comes to pink fermented sauerkraut, the decision to go modern or traditional comes down to my mood and the resulting texture.
- Right before I start making sauerkraut, I always clean my sink and lay a clean towel in the bottom of it. This catches any cabbage that doesn’t make it in. That way I know that it is clean and can go in with the rest of it.
- After slicing up a cabbage, I find that there is always a piece left over that is too big to go to waste, but too small to shred further with the cabbage board. So I cut those into shreds and brown in a buttered pan for a lunch or dinner veggie side.
- At the end, once the weights are put on the top of the sauerkraut, I wipe any fragments of vegetables off the top area of the crock. Because, if any fall on top of the brine, mold can form. I have found this to be a helpful solution.
Pink Fermented Sauerkraut
Rinse your cabbage in cold water and dry with a clean towel.
Cut off the tough stem end of your cabbages.
Slice the cabbages in half from end to end.
Lay a clean kitchen towel out in the bottom of your kitchen sink. Place a large bowl on the towel. Balance the cabbage board across the sink. Place one of the cabbage halves onto the board and shred it by running it carefully back and forth over the blades.
As it shreds, the cabbage will fall into the bowl underneath. If it misses the bowl, it will fall onto the clean towel.
I ended up with two large bowls full, from two 2-3 pound cabbages.
Next, I roughly chopped a large purple onion and pressed six garlic cloves through a garlic press and measured out 3 Tablespoons of salt.
Following that step, I put a couple of teaspoons or so of the salt in the bottom of my fermenting crock. And I placed a couple of handfuls of each color cabbage and a little onions and garlic. Then I sprinkled a couple more teaspoons of salt on top of all that, and gave it all a good stir.
Going further, I continued layering in that fashion, pushing the layers with the cabbage stomper, until the crock was near the top rim. I used all the salt I had measured out, and made sure it was stirred well throughout the layering process.
After a little while, a couple of hours, I was able to push the vegetables down firmly with the stomper and the liquid could rise to the top a little.
At this point, I placed the fermenting weights on the top and pushed them down firmly.
Often, when I make sauerkraut, it takes several hours for the liquid to be released from the cabbage. So, I just put the lid on the crock and give it some time to do it’s work. After a few hours, I pushed the weights down firmly again.
Then the next day it looked like this.
How Long Until It’s Ready?
Fermentation time can vary depending on the season of the year. The length of time can be as little as 5 days and can extend to 4 weeks, it depends on house temperature and you and your family’s preference.
If it is summer and your house is warm, it will be less. In the winter, I have had to wait longer until sauerkraut has been even slightly fermented tasting.
I prefer sauerkraut to be thoroughly fermented and not to taste like raw cabbage at all. In the summer, we usually start eating our pink fermented sauerkraut after 5 days, or so, In cold months of the year, I leave it to ferment for at least 2 weeks. I check my crocks periodically to make this decision.
When it smells fermented I carefully remove a weight and spoon a little out and taste it. If it is not quite ready, I place the weight back on and push down on the sauerkraut to make the brine level rise to cover the surface.
There are several variables for determining how long it takes, but usually about 5 days to 2 weeks. Some people like to ferment for an even longer period of time. It is a matter of your flavor and texture preferences.
How To Store Pink Fermented Sauerkraut
Once the sauerkraut is ready to be eaten, I pack it into glass jars and ceramic dishes with lids. I try to touch it with the spoon only so I don’t get any bacteria in it from my hands. I hate for my hard work to be ruined with bacteria getting in, and the whole jar getting moldy! Even though I wash my hands first, I have had this happen!
The Pink Fermented Sauerkraut will store well for six months in the refrigerator.
I hope you like the way this sauerkraut turns out! Please tell me in the comments how it goes for you. What are some ways you change up a standard sauerkraut?