Mar 23, 2014
Homemade Pink Sauerkraut ~ Low Sodium!
Hot damn! Check out the dazzling color on that kraut! This is my third attempt at making my own fermented veggies. I started with sweet pickles, using these amazingly fresh cucumbers from my garden last summer. That was a chore! The result was pretty good but I used quite a bit of coconut sugar and didn’t feel the recipe was in keeping with my blog’s whole food message, so I didn’t post it. Then I experimented with kimchi (which I love) but that one was much less than perfect so I will continue to hone it before I share it with you. Fermented veggies help to promote superior flora (good bacteria) in the gut and are a vital addition to any diet.
This sauerkraut is just divine! And while it takes patience to wait for your creation to perfectly ferment, it’s really so simple I can’t believe it. AND, the best part about making your own is that YOU control the amount of sourness and saltiness. Typically, sauerkrauts and other fermented foods are just loaded with sodium. I did use some sea salt for this recipe (I’ve heard rumors that you can make it without any salt at all but I thought I would try this out first).
Using red cabbage is what gives it a glorious hot pink color… and health-promoting anthocyanins! The addition of pink peppercorns and juniper berries adds an earthy balance to those lively sour notes.
- 1 medium head red cabbage, thinly shredded
- 1 red apple, cored and sliced thinly
- 1 TBS red peppercorns
- 1 tsp juniper berries
- juice of one lemon
- 1 TBS sea salt
- 1 Starter Culture such as Caldwell’s Cultured Vegetable Starter (optional but recommended when you’re first getting started to prevent molds and to ensure you have the right healthy cultures to start off). When you make your next batch you can use some of this batch in order to transplant the healthy cultures into your future batches!
- Before you get started make sure to wash all bowls, utensils and fermenting vessels that you’ll be using (and your hands!) very well in hot water.
- Set aside 1 large outer leaf of the cabbage before you shred it.
- Toss the shredded cabbage with all the other ingredients in a large bowl.
- Using a wide-mouthed quart sized mason jar, stuff the mixture into the jar, a handful at a time, pushing down firmly as you go. It should all fit in the jar—you really want to pack it down well and avoid air bubbles as much as possible.
- Cover with water, leaving 2-3″ of space from the top of the jar.
- Cut the large outer leaf that you set aside into a round, larger than the mouth of the jar, then work it over and around the cabbage mixture. This will provide a barrier that will prevent the ingredients from floating up and out of the water.
- Next pour the lemon juice over the top of the mixture. This is just an extra precaution to avoid any kind of bacteria that may want to join the party!
- Cover the jar loosely and set aside out of direct sunlight. It will ferment in anywhere from about 4-10 days, depending on the ambient temperature in your home. Each day, use a clean utensil to push the mixture down (it will want to keep floating up as it ferments and releases its natural gasses).
- Push the top leaf aside and taste it after a few days to see if the sourness is to your liking. If not, continue to ferment until it’s just the way you like it.
- When it’s just right, remove and discard the top barrier leaf and refrigerate your beautiful kraut! Fermented veggies keep forever in the fridge… well, almost.