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How to Make Hot Pink Sauerkraut (easy!!)

Sauerkraut is pure magic. It blows my mind how much money many of us spend on superfoods and artisanal probiotic beverages when one of the most probiotic-rich, nutrient-dense foods can be made at home from just cabbage and salt (and time…and love! too much?).

Incase you’ve had sauerkraut on a sandwich but you aren’t quite sure what it even is, sauerkraut is simply fermented cabbage. Through the process of fermentation, kraut contains good bacteria. When you eat kraut, you’re adding that good bacteria to your gut’s ecosystem, which helps your digestion run smoothly. When your digestion is working at it’s best, all of your other bodily functions work at their best- clear skin, improved energy, etc.

Ok, so that was a super simplified explanation on the why/what of kraut and your gut. If you’re interested in learning more about the science behind fermentation, I highly recommend the books The Art of Fermentation and Fermented Vegetables.

Moving on, yes, can buy high-quality organic sauerkraut at the grocery store (always get it from the refrigerated section!), but I really love the process of making it at home for a couple of reasons:

  1. It’s way cheaper! At the store, sauerkraut usually runs $5-$10 for a 16 ounce jar that will last for about a week (in my house). My recipe below uses about $5 of cabbage and makes 64 ounces of kraut. That will last over a month for us!
  2. You can get creative. There’s something really special about classic cabbage-only kraut but did you know you can throw almost every kind of herb and spice and many kinds of fruits and vegetables into your kraut? More on all my favorite variations later!
  3. It’s fun and fermempowering. When I first started learning about choosing organic and shopping local, it felt very empowering to be able to make informed, conscious decisions that positively affected my health and the health of our planet. Being able to make a probiotic-rich superfood in my own kitchen takes that feeling of empowerment to another level. I don’t need pills, or supplements, or processed yogurt, or whatever else the “health food” industry is trying to convince me I need for a healthy gut- I’ve got what I need at home in my mason jar!

Alright, let’s make some kraut! The recipe I’m going to demonstrate makes 64 ounces of beautiful hot pink kraut. You’ll notice that the kraut isn’t “hot pink” in the photos, it’s actually purple-ish with some green. I wanted to get this post up ASAP so I didn’t wait for the after photo but after a week or so the colors will blend together and make a super vibrant, hot pink color! I’ll be sure to update the post with a photo when this batch is done.

Let’s get started!

  1. Prepare a clean work surface and clean equipment. You’ll need a cutting board, knife, large bowl, jar and a weight (more on that in step 8). For this batch, I’m using 4 pounds of cabbage so I need a 64 oz wide mouth mason jar.

kraut 1

  1. Slice the cabbage. Remove the tough outer cabbage leaves. Keep them nearby because you’ll need them for the “cabbage shelf” in step ?. Thinly slice the rest of the cabbage, discarding the core. Place the sliced cabbage in the bowl.

kraut 21. Add the salt. For 4 pounds of cabbage, you’ll want to add roughly 2 tablespoons of salt. The salt draws the water out of the cabbage, so older, drier cabbages might need a little more salt. Start with 2 tablespoons and use your hands to toss the cabbage and salt together.

2. Let everything sit. This step isn’t necessary, but if you have the time, it’s great to let the bowl sit for 5-30 minutes, so the salt can start to draw the water out of the cabbage. This will make step 5 a little easier.

3. Massage, Massage, Massage! Use your hands to squeeze the cabbage. After 5 or so minutes, the cabbage should start to wilt. Keep squeezing until it starts to release liquid. Add a little more salt if needed. Massage the cabbage until it’s totally limp.

kraut 34. Pack it into the jar. Take handfuls of the cabbage and press it into the jar. I use a fun tool called a tamper that makes this step a little easier, but it’s definitely not required. Keep adding cabbage, making sure to press it down tightly, until all is used. If there’s liquid left over in the bowl, pour it in.

kraut 45. Make a shelf. Remember the discarded cabbage leaves from step 2? Fold them into the jar, covering the shredded cabbage, and press them down. This keeps the kraut from touching the air (which is how bad bacteria and mold can ruin your batch!).

kraut 56. Weight it down. I use these handy Pickle Pebbles, which are perfectly fitted to a wide mouth mason jar. You definitely don’t need them though! A smaller, regular-sized jar works well too.

kraut 67. Cover it over. Use a clean towel or cloth to cover the opening of the jar.

kraut 78. Put it up. Find a cool spot to keep the jar that is out of direct sunlight. Place a plate under the jar to catch any brine that fizzes over (trust me, you don’t want sauerkraut brine dripping all over your kitchen!

9. Keep an eye on it. You want to make sure that the kraut is always submerged in brine (the liquid). To ensure this, press down on the weight every day or so. If that isn’t helping, you can add a little water in a pinch.

10. Let it ferment. I let my sauerkraut ferment for 2-4 weeks. The length of time usually depends on the season. In warmer months sauerkraut will ferment faster. This isn’t an exact science, so to tell if your kraut is ready, simply taste it!

11. Move it to the fridge. Your kraut is done- yay! Move the jar to the refrigerator for storage, where is should stay good for a couple of months.

I’ll update the post with the finished photo when this batch is done fermenting. For now, here are some ways I’ve made meals more delicious with hot pink kraut in the past..

 

 

 

I’ve also included the printer-friendly instructions below:

5.0 from 1 reviews
How to Make Sauerkraut
 
Author:
Recipe type: sauerkraut
Cuisine: vegan, gluten-free
Ingredients
  • 1 (roughly 2-pound) red cabbage
  • 1 (roughly 2-pound) green cabbage
  • 2-3 tablespoons sea salt
equipment
Instructions
  1. Prepare a clean work surface and clean equipment. You'll need a cutting board, knife, large bowl, jar and a weight (more on that in step 8). For this batch, I'm using 4 pounds of cabbage so I need a 64 oz wide mouth mason jar.
  2. Slice the cabbage. Remove the tough outer cabbage leaves. Keep them nearby because you'll need them for the "cabbage shelf" in step ?. Thinly slice the rest of the cabbage, discarding the core. Place the sliced cabbage in the bowl.
  3. Add the salt. For 4 pounds of cabbage, you'll want to add roughly 2 tablespoons of salt. The salt draws the water out of the cabbage, so older, drier cabbages might need a little more salt. Start with 2 tablespoons and use your hands to toss the cabbage and salt together.
  4. Let everything sit. This step isn't necessary, but if you have the time, it's great to let the bowl sit for 5-30 minutes, so the salt can start to draw the water out of the cabbage. This will make step 5 a little easier.
  5. Massage, Massage, Massage! Use your hands to squeeze the cabbage. After 5 or so minutes, the cabbage should start to wilt. Keep squeezing until it starts to release liquid. Add a little more salt if needed. Massage the cabbage until it's totally limp.
  6. Pack in into the jar. Take handfuls of the cabbage and press it into the jar. I use a fun tool called a tamper that makes this step a little easier, but it's definitely not required. Keep adding cabbage, making sure to press it down tightly, until all is used. If there's liquid left over in the bowl, pour it in.
  7. Make a shelf. Remember the discarded cabbage leaves from step 2? Fold them into the jar, covering the shredded cabbage, and press them down. This keeps the kraut from touching the air (which is how bad bacteria and mold can ruin your batch!).
  8. Weight it down. I use these handy Pickle Pebbles, which are perfectly fitted to a wide mouth mason jar. You definitely don't need them though! A smaller, regular-sized jar works well too.
  9. Cover it over. Use a clean towel or cloth to cover the opening of the jar.
  10. Put it up. Find a cool spot to keep the jar that is out of direct sunlight. Place a plate under the jar to catch any brine that fizzes over (trust me, you don't want sauerkraut brine dripping all over your kitchen!)
  11. Keep an eye on it. You want to make sure that the kraut is always submerged in brine (the liquid). To ensure this, press down on the weight every day or so. If that isn't helping, you can add a little water in a pinch.
  12. Let it ferment. I let my sauerkraut ferment for 2-4 weeks. The length of time usually depends on the season. In warmer months sauerkraut will ferment faster. This isn't an exact science, so to tell if your kraut is ready, simple taste it!
  13. Move it to the fridge. Your kraut is done- yay! Move the jar to the refrigerator for storage, where is should stay good for a couple of months.

 

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5 Responses to How to Make Hot Pink Sauerkraut (easy!!)

    • You’ll need something to weigh it down no matter what size jar you use. They make special weight for regular-mouth jars, but I prefer the wide-mouth jars because you have more options for what you can use as a weight!

  1. I am obsessed with that color! It reminds me of pickled onions. Imagine having some pickled carrots, onions, AND this sauerkraut on a plate. Wow! What a dymanic trio of colors. Thanks so much for your recipe!

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