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Recipe: Crimson Beets and Purple Cabbage Kraut

Hilary McMullen

Add this colorful and tangy kraut to your salad or stir fry and your taste buds, and gut, will be singing.

One of my favorite ways to incorporate more fermented foods into my diet is to add a generous scoop of kraut into my salad. It lends a satisfying crunch and tangy, acidic flavor that is similar to what vinegar brings to a dressing. You can manipulate the crunch factor by changing the shred size of the beets and cabbage—a thicker shred will lead to a crunchier kraut.

Fermentation time also alters the texture, so if you want crunchier kraut, a shorter fermentation time will work better for you. Watch and listen as your kraut comes to life over the days (or weeks, if you’re patient enough).

You might see and hear some bubbling as evidence of the lacto-fermentation. I imagine it as a progressive party going on in the jar. Every day more of those wild and crazy partygoers like L. mesenteroides, L. plantarum, and L. brevis show up to join the fun and pretty soon there’s a raging party going on in my kitchen!

Crimson Beets and Purple Cabbage Kraut

Makes 4 quarts

1 (2-pound) head of purple cabbage
2 medium crimson beets
1½ tablespoons sea salt

Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage and reserve a large piece to cover the kraut. Shred the rest of the cabbage using the shredding attachment on a food processor or a mandoline. You can also shred with a knife if preferred. Transfer to a large bowl. Peel and shred the beets and add to the bowl. Sprinkle in the salt and massage it into the cabbage and beets with your hands—yep! It’s messy and will stain your hands a nice pink color that might last through the day.

Transfer the cabbage-and-beet mixture to a 2-quart jar, one handful at a time, pressing the mixture into the jar with your fist. Leave about 1.5 inches of head-space. Use the lid from the jar as a template to cut the reserved cabbage leaf into a circle to place on top of the kraut.

Place a small jar filled with water on top of the leaf (baby food jars work great for this!). There should be a layer of brine sitting on top of the cabbage leaf. Place the jar on a pie pan or plate and cover the jar with a tea towel. Tuck it away in a dark corner of your kitchen and allow to ferment for a minimum of 4 days. The longer you ferment, the more beneficial bacteria you get, and the tangier the kraut. I like to ferment for 10 to 14 days.

PRO TIP: The great thing about fermentation is that it significantly increases the shelf life of your cabbage. Once you’re done fermenting, close up the jar or transfer to smaller jars and move them to the refrigerator. They’ll keep for a good 2 months (and probably longer).

©2020 by Michelle Babb. Excerpted from Mastering Mindful Eating by permission of Sasquatch Books.

You might also enjoy “Six Veggies and Recipes for Optimal Gut Health.”


About the Author

Michelle Babb, MS, RD

Michelle Babb, MS, RD, CD, is a registered dietitian and holds a master’s degree in nutrition from Bastyr University. Her training in functional medicine gives her a unique, holistic perspective that helps her create customized nutritional therapies that empower clients to heal themselves. Michelle has also studied at the Center for Mind-Body Medicine, where she learned how to help people change their relationship with food and become intelligent, intuitive eaters. She’s the author of Anti-Inflammatory Eating Made Easy; Anti-Inflammatory Eating for a Happy, Healthy Brain; and Mastering Mindful Eating.

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This entry is tagged with:
Fermented FoodsRecipesEating Healthier

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