Introduction: Fermented Purple Sauerkraut

Picture of Fermented Purple Sauerkraut

This is a basic step-by-step on making a beautiful purple sauerkraut.

Having two german grandmothers, I grew up eating sauerkraut with
sausages as a family meal. It brings back such good memories for me. It's also super cheap, uber healthy, and keeps for the better part of a year if you are good to it! It's my hope that this instructable brings people to try sauerkraut for themselves and start new family meal traditions. Or at the very least put it on a hotdog.

For those of you who have never had sauerkraut before, the name means "sour cabbage". It's made by a process called lacto-fermentation, the same good stuff happens to give us yoghurt. When combined with salt, it pulls the moisture from the cabbage creating a brine. In the brine, nothing but the strongest survive. The bacteria known as lactobacillus eat all the sugars in the cabbage and burp it into lactic acid-- which preserves the cabbage for a long time and gives it a unique, sour taste! Its high in fibre, vitamin B6, vitamin C, Iron and is generally good for your gut.

Hardware:

- large cutting board

- chef knife

- large mixing bowl, or very clean bucket

- 1 x 4 qt. mason jar, or 4 x 1 qt mason jars

- parchment paper, or keep one large, clean outer leaf of the green cabbage

- small patch of cheesecloth and a rubber band or string

Software:

- 1 large head green cabbage (about 3 pounds)

- 1 medium head of purple cabbage

- 3 tbsp kosher or sea salt

- 1 cup water

- 1 tbsp caraway seeds (optional, for flavor)

Instructions:

Clean and sanitize your cutting board, knife, mixing bowls/bucket, mason jars, with very hot soapy water.

Quarter each head of cabbage. Slice along the bias to make very thin strands of cabbage about 2mm thick.

Dump cabbage into your mixing bowl or bucket. Sprinkle salt over top, and begin mixing it into the cabbage with your very clean hands. You may want to wear gloves, because the purple cabbage can stain your fingers!

Gently massage the salt in for about 10 minutes, pressing and squeezing the cabbage until it starts to become limp, and water begins to leach out of it. Add caraway seeds if you're into it.

Pack it into your jar, pressing down firmly to really press it down. Add any liquid left in the bucket, and an additional cup of water.

Press a piece of parchment paper over top of the cabbage, submerging it down under the liquid in the jar. Alternatively you can use a large outer leaf left over from the cabbage if you want to be all old school about it.

Cover the jar. You want to allow some air flow, but still keep stuff from getting into it so you can use a piece of cheesecloth and a rubber band if you'd like. I just put the lid on mine, it doesnt seal very tightly anymore so it worked fine.

Keep the jar in a dark, room temperature place, between 55-75F.

Over the next day, whenever you remember try to press down on the cabbage every so often. It will become limper and more liquid will be squeezed out of the plant fibers, keeping it submerged.

If after 24 hours, the liquid has not risen above the cabbage, dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt ina cup of water and add it to submerge the cabbage.

The cabbage will take atleast 3 days to start fermenting. Check your batch atleast once a day, making sure everything is submerged.

Once you decide it's tasty enough, move your jar to the back of your fridge and put a proper lid on it. It will be good for the better part of a year.

Step 1: Prep Your Veg

Picture of Prep Your Veg

Clean and sanitize your cutting board, knife, mixing bowls/bucket, mason jars, with very hot soapy water. Its important to work with very clean tools and equipment because during fermentation at room temperature its very easy for bad bacteria to grow, and we want to encourage only the right kind.


On a large cutting board with a sharp chef's knife, quarter each head of cabbage. Slice along the bias to make very thin strands of cabbage about 2mm thick.

Step 2:

Picture of

Place your sliced cabbage into a large mixing bowl or clean, food grade bucket.

Sprinkle over your salt.

Using your hands, press and massage the salt into the cabbage. It will start to soften, go limp, and begin to get watery. You can see how much purple juice is coming out of the cabbage!

This usually takes about 10 minutes.

Step 3: Welcome to Your New Home!

Picture of Welcome to Your New Home!

Pack the sauerkraut into your jar. I have a giant jar that some store bought Bicks brand sauerkraut came in. Good stuff, but home made is always better. Store bought or canning sauerkraut with heat kills off any good bacteria, so its tasty but doesn't have much going for it.

Once your cabbage is well packed down in the jar, add all the juice left in the bucket. If your cabbage is looking dry, you can add a cup of water.

Press a piece of clean parchment paper down against the surface inside the jar, carefully submerging it under the liquid. You want it to hold the cabbage under the liquid. Anything left outside of the brine, can dry out or develop mold.

Cover your jar with a piece of cheesecloth with a rubber band around the rim. This allows air to flow in and out, but keeps stuff like dust and bugs out. I just used my lid because it doesn't seal properly anyway.

Step 4: Waiting Game

Picture of Waiting Game

And then we wait.....

Put your jar of kraut in a dark place with a steady temperature of around 60-75F (about room temperature).

I just used a cupboard in my kitchen I dont go into very often.

Over the next day, whenever you remember try to press down on the cabbage every so often. It will become limper and more liquid will be squeezed out of the plant fibers, keeping it submerged.

If after 24 hours, the liquid has not risen above the cabbage, dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in a cup of water and add it to submerge the cabbage.

The cabbage will take at least 3 days to start fermenting. Check your batch at least once a day-- I tried to remember to say goodnight to it before bed, and see how it's doing. Make sure everything is submerged.

Because this is such a large batch, it took 7 days before it really started to have a nice flavour. I kept it out for 10 days, before I put it in the fridge. The colour deepened and then became almost flourescent, and it bubbled happily away. We had our first sauerkraut dinner 12 days after I started it and it was so good. We kept eating from the jar for 3 months, and the taste just kept getting better and better!

In terms of nutrition value, its best eaten raw. In terms of tastebud value, its best fried up with bacon, onions and an apple and then covered in sausages.

Guten Appetit!

Comments

TheCoffeeDude (author)2015-12-24

My stomach is growling now!

h0n3y5un5h1n3 (author)2014-10-04

My mouth is actually watering.

I'm always paranoid about canning because I'm afraid I'll mess it up and poison us. Canning things are the next frontier for me.

nate piedmonte (author)2014-08-27

cant wait to try it!!!

That is byoo-ti-full! Sauerkraut martini?

nope. straight up dirty vodka!!! today is day seven

batery99 (author)2014-08-14

Es sieht lecker aus!

karalalala (author)batery992014-09-02

Danke. Es war kostlich. Mit vielen wurstchen!! German always makes me want to shout...

nate piedmonte (author)2014-08-27

just made my first batch. followed directions exactly!! my father makes huge batches in a pickle crock

That is awesome! Maybe you could do an instructable on how to do it in a pickle crock!

sboja (author)2014-08-14

i love sauerkraut so much... :-) yamyam. cheers

mwisdom1 (author)2014-08-14

A few of my ancestors were from the Rhineland and I grew up loving sauerkraut. I've got to try making it! Thank you for a great looking recipe!

mwisdom1 (author)2014-08-14

A few of my ancestors were from the Rhineland and I grew up loving sauerkraut. I've got to try making it! Thank you for a great looking recipe!

verence (author)2014-08-12

What part of Germany were your grandmas from? I've never seen Sauerkraut made from purple cabbage before. But, yeah, looks nice!

karalalala (author)verence2014-08-13

One of them was from the very far north, and one was from a farm in the south.. they didnt seem to get along, but they both could cook like crazy. Purple isnt exactly traditional, I just thought it looked pretty. My Nan from the north would make red cabbage with an apple and clove and a bit of vinegar, that was very nice too!

Yum, this looks amazing!

Thanks!

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Bio: Professional maker and eater of food. Donuts.. Cheese.. Chocolate.. Beer.. these are a few of my favourite things! @karakabangpow
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