You can make red cabbage sauerkraut! It is easy to make and yields a beautiful, nutritious ferment. Perfect for a quick side dish or to top a brat or Italian sausage!
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Red or Purple Cabbage?
Is there a difference between red and purple cabbage? From my quick research, I don’t think there is a difference. Purple cabbage is often referred to as red cabbage. The nutrient content and flavor are the same. The reason for the difference in color is the type of soil it grows in. Acid soil produces a more reddish leaf where as a more alkaline soil produces a more purple leaf.
For this ferment, you can use any kind of cabbage you like. My head of cabbage was more purple than red. I also mixed it with green cabbage because that is what I had on hand! Mine turned more red than purple after it was done fermenting as well.
How to Preserve Cabbage
Did you know that fermenting veggies is a great way to preserve them? If you have a head of cabbage in your fridge and you need to use it, this is a great way to keep it from going to waste. If you have never fermented anything before, rest assured that it is truly very simple and doesn’t really require any special tools or ingredients!
Another benefit of fermenting the cabbage over cooking it is that fermenting retains the nutritional value of the cabbage. Whereas heating most veggies reduces the nutritional content. Plus fermenting adds the benefit of gut-healthy probiotics!
What are the Health Benefits of Red Cabbage?
You can make sauerkraut with green cabbage the same way you make it with red. However, red cabbage actually touts several nutrition advantages over green cabbage.
- 6-8 times more vitamin C than green cabbage ( higher than oranges even!)
- 2 times more iron than green
- 10 times more Vitamin A than green
- High in anti-oxidants
- High in Vitamin K which aids in maintaining bone calcium and helps to prevent osteoporosis
- Fights inflammation and arthritis too
- Good for treating ulcers
What Equipment will I need for Making Sauerkraut?
In the old days, people just kept a crock of kraut in their cellar and scooped out what they needed as they needed it. I love the idea of that, but old crocks can be so expensive!
I will tell you what I have used and what I use now.
The man that taught me how to make sauerkraut has made it his entire life. He uses a gallon jar and packs 10 lbs of cabbage in it. Then he takes one cabbage leaf and pushes it down over the top of the cabbage. He then takes a large yogurt or sour cream lid and pushes it down in the jar to hold the cabbage down and to keep it under the liquid. Next, he covered the top with a lid. Every so often he would open the lid to let out any pressure, you know to “burp it.”
I used that method a few times but found something that I like better. I am all about using what I have on hand which is why I liked the above method, however I don’t like anything that I have to babysit. So I purchased glass fermenting weights and these special pickle pipes.
How to Make Red Cabbage Sauerkraut
This is so easy you will likely never buy storebought kraut again! Plus it is way better than storebought, it retains crispness because it isn’t heated. To start you will need at least 5 pounds of cabbage. Red cabbage heads are typically smaller so you will likely need 4 small heads, possibly 5.
Wash and drain the cabbage and cut into halves or quarters and discard the core.
You may either slice the cabbage very thin, no thicker than a dime. Or you can use a food-processor with a grater attachment. Try not to over process the cabbage, I have done that in the past and it turns out mushy.
Put the cabbage in a bowl and add 3 TBS canning salt or sea salt, sprinkling it over the top. Using your hands knead the salt through the sourkraut. You will notice that the cabbage will begin to release its juice.
Next, pack the cabbage into a clean jar. For 5 lbs of cabbage, you will need a half-gallon jar. It’s nice to do a huge batch of 10 pounds as it fits in a gallon jar and then you don’t have to make it that often. When I say pack it in, I mean pack it. Use a wooden spoon and really push the cabbage down into the jar as tightly as you can. There should be enough juice released to cover the cabbage. That is the idea, you need to keep the cabbage immersed in liquid.
After you have the salted cabbage stuffed in the jar, make sure there is enough liquid to cover it. If not, mix 1 1/2 TBS salt with 1 qt of water. Add whatever water you need to cover it. (Keep that jar in the fridge in case you need it again). Next place the glass weight on top of the cabbage, or the yogurt lid or cabbage leaf, whatever you are using to keep it down. Lastly, put the lid on it. Use the pickle pipe if you have one. If you don’t have one, make sure to “burp” the jar every few days.
What To Expect as it Ferments
You should place your jars in a shallow dish of some sort. If you are using the fermenting lids, you will have some seepage as the pressure releases. You don’t want that all over your counters.
How Long Should the Sauerkraut Ferment?
I think 10 days is the minimum for good kraut. However, you can start tasting it after about a week. You can leave it to ferment for as long as you like if it’s in a cool dark place. Just always make sure there is enough water to cover the cabbage. Keep that quart jar of water in your fridge and add the saltwater to it if it gets low.
What to Eat with Red Cabbage Sauerkraut?
We like to eat sauerkraut as a quick side dish. It pairs nicely with barbeque chicken, or chicken and rice. Of course it’s good with kielbasa and pierogies. Use it to top brats or hotdogs. Add sauerkraut to sandwiches for a little zing and crunch! Just know that anytime you add sourkraut you are adding gut-healthy probiotics to your diet!