Friday 19 July 2019

Cabbage & Beetroot Sauerkraut

When we were at Hellens Garden festival last month we tried some amazing ferments made by a local firm. 

The two I liked best were the kimchi (hot and spicy) and a beetroot sauerkraut. What set this sauerkraut apart from others I'd tried was the addition of ginger and garlic. It just lifted the flavour so much!

So I decided it was time I had a go at making it. I loved our fermented wild garlic from a few years back so thought it would be good to get back into it.

I'm afraid this is going to be one of my recipes with very loose instructions and measurements, but I think it would be hard to go wrong with it.

I had half a cabbage, shredded.
Four large beetroots, grated,
Two carrots, grated,
Five cloves of garlic,
A thumb sized piece of ginger, grated,
A teaspoon of salt,

When you've added all your ingredients together, mix them up, sprinkle on the salt and leave for a little while. The moisture should then start to be drawn out the veg.

Now it's time to get your hands in there - my favourite part! Squeeze and scrunch the mixture, it should start to produce loads of moisture now and will drip out of it when you hold up a handful.

When you've worked out all your aggression on it for a good ten minutes it should be ready to pack into a jar.

The trick here is to pack it in tight. Make sure there's no air bubbles and keep pressing it down. Hopefully you'll have enough liquid to cover all the veg when it's full. If not you can make a simple salt brine to top it up (luckily I didn't need to).

It then needs to be weighted down so all the veg are submerged while the fermentation process starts. I used a freezer bag filled with water. I'm sure there are far better ways than that though and need to make something up that will be reusable for future ferments.

Then it's a case of leaving it on the side and waiting for it to start bubbling. When it send up it's first few bubbles it means the fermentation process has started.

I then left it for four days, trying a little each day until it had the taste I like. Once it was there I transferred it into smaller jars to keep int he fridge. The fridge massively slows the fermentation process and means it should keep for months and months.

I'm amazed at how much I love this stuff. I have it on wraps and sandwiches, the kids love it as well. It has a lovely taste and the garlic and ginger seem to really set it apart from other sauerkrauts I've tried in the past. We've been using it lately instead of pickle and chutneys and with all the health benefits of fermented food it might be a little better for us, although I'm not hugely concerned about that - it's more about the taste for me!

Who else ferments food?

What recipes would your recommend I try? I'd love some links!


  1. I ferment a lot of things when I don't have enough to justify getting out the canner. Carrots with ginger and garlic is wonderful. Green beans with garlic and dill. I've been loving the garlic scapes I did recently. And then there are good old pickles. My family likes fermented pickles better than canned pickles. I usually do both each year as the canned ones can keep even longer. I hear fermented fruits are great too, but I haven't tried them as yet.

    1. How do you do your green beans? they sound lovely although I've no dill growing this year but I'm sure fennel would do the same?

  2. All looks delicious! I've been experimenting a bit with fermenting recently (wild garlic, peas, asparagus) and want to try some kimchi/sauerkraut. Wish I'd grown some beetroot this year but seems you can ferment more or less any vegetable. So tasty, and from what I keep hearing, incredibly good for you too.

    1. Yeah, I keep getting told how good it is for us. I just love the taste. It's good as the kids seem to like it as well!

  3. I think I’ll give that a try.

  4. Oh I haven't made kimchi in years. Love it. Have you read Sandor Katz? He is king of fermentation here in the US. His books are fantastic and we had the luck of seeing him speak once. He ferments everything.

    1. No! Someone else recommended that book to me as well. I must have a look on eBay and see if I can dig it out.

  5. Hi , I have had a go at making this , and the juice is coming over the top of the jar, also it seams to be thickening up is this correct ?, it smells fine . I have never made a ferment before ,just wondering is this is normal behaviour ?

    1. My juice is still pretty thin, It did bubble up though, I should have put in the instructions to leave it on a plate or bowl! Mine would have made a right mess otherwise. This is much more likely to happen when it's warm I think but normal. I'm still a novice at this so far, I'm learning all the time. Let me know how yours tastes when you eat it.

    2. I left it for 4 days and potted it up into smaller jars , the first two inches at the top had turned brown , I think this was due to me not weighting it down properly, but the bright purple mix underneath smelled fine , the taste is good, I have never made anything like this before but will be happily snacking on it and having another bash at fermenting , I wonder if you can do courgettes ? up to my chin with them .

  6. That looks fantastic, my mouth is watering! I've made lots of sauerkraut in the past but never with beets. My son gave me a real fermenting crock this past Christmas and I can't wait to use it. Tomorrow I hit the garden and I am so making this cabbage and beetroot sauerkraut! Many thanks for sharing the how-to.


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