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Beet Kraut Recipe

Everyone loves a good basic ferment. This beet kraut is an easy recipe that is delicious and full of great natural probiotics that are wonderful for gut health.

What is Kraut (AKA) Sauerkraut?

Sauerkrat is a fermented cabbage dish. You slice up cabbage thinly, then smash it into a fermentation crock or mason jar with salt. After it sits for a couple weeks or as little as a few days you end up with a delicious fermented thing called sauerkraut. This recipe for beet sauerkraut is a variation on that basic recipe. There is no difference between this kraut and a traditional sauerkraut except the addition of beets.

If you would like a fully detailed explanation of the fermentation process and very specific information about making kraut (fermentation vessel options, weights, followers, etc.) then check out this post all about making a basic cabbage kraut.

fresh sauerkraut rough and tumble farmhouse

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What kind of beets can I use?

This recipe will turn out delicious using either a red beet or golden beets. I find the flavor is pretty much the same. When using golden beets you won’t really get too much of that golden color. You can add a dash of turmeric powder if you really want a rich gold color.

What cabbage is best for Kraut?

I say whatever cabbage you have on hand! I find that making sauerkraut of any kind is best with fresh produce as it easily creates enough brine to cover the cabbage mixture. 

Store-bought cabbage will work just fine, though you might have to work it a little longer to get the cabbage to give up enough of its own juices to make a brine. If you are out of the growing season, it is still worthwhile to check with your local farmers to see if they have any cabbage in storage available.

I wouldn’t waste a purple cabbage on this unless that is all you have available. The beets are going to turn the whole thing purple anyway so I would use green cabbage and save the purple for a pretty slaw.

What salt works best for beetroot kraut?

Please use non-iodized salt for this process. Iodine will inhibit the growth of the good bacteria in the kraut. That’s where all the health benefits of fermented food come from! The iodine may also prevent the fermentation process from working properly and you can get a spoiled batch.

My go-to is Morton’s Kosher salt. Redmond’s or even canning salt would also work. 

salt over cabbage rough and tumble farmhouse

​Tools for Making Sauerkraut

  • Large Bowl
  • Cutting Board
  • Sharp Knife
  • Food Processor or Box Grater
  • Quart Size Mason Jar (wide or regular mouth)
  • Masher or Tamper
  • Fermentation Weight
  • Plastic wrap or a nice cabbage leaf
  • Plate

Ingredients for Beet Kraut

  • 1.5 Pounds of Red Beets or Golden Beets (weight after trimming and peeling)
  • 1 Medium Head of Green Cabbage
  • 1-2 Tbsp Kosher Salt

How to Make Beet Sauerkraut

Prep the Ingredients

Begin with clean hands always! 

Wash your cabbage and remove any outer leaves that are limp or have brown spots. If you have a decent one that is a little limp but still looks nice, set that aside for a primary follower later. 

Slice the cabbage in half and remove the bulkiest part of the core. I usually leave more of the core than other people. If sliced nice and thin the core still tastes great and has good crunch.

Since this recipe is just for a quart-size jar of kraut, I chose to use my knife and thinly slice the cabbage. If you are making a bigger batch feel free to use a box grater, kraut slicer, or food processor to speed things up. 

slicing sauerkraut rough and tumble farmhouse

Place the sliced cabbage in the large mixing bowl. Add a sprinkle of salt across the top. Using your hands, crunch the cabbage up with the salt. Really work it in well. Set the cabbage aside. The salt will begin to break down the cell walls of the cabbage leaves. It will start to draw out moisture from the cabbage, which is where your brine comes from.

Next, wash and trim your beets. Get rid of any funky bits, root tendrils, leaves, etc. Use a knife or vegetable peeler to remove the outer layer of skin from the beets.

Use the box grater (or again food processor) and shred the beets.

Toss the beets into the cabbage mixture. Sprinkle the remaining salt across the top, then repeat the crunching process. 

Mash

​Scoop a large handful of cabbage/beet mixture and place in the bottom of a mason jar. Tamp it down, then add another handful. Again, tamp it down. I find that more of a steady firm pressure yields better results than pounding on it. You should start to see some moisture starting to form. Repeat this process, adding a little at a time and tamping it in, until the jar is full to the base of the neck. This should leave about two inches of space between the top of the kraut and the jar rim.

Really press the ferment down, making sure there is plenty of liquid that forms on top.

Next, using either the clean bit of cabbage leaf you set aside or a bit of plastic wrap, place that over the top of the cabbage mix. This is meant to keep all the little leaves from floating up and around.

Add fermentation weight on top of that. Press firmly so liquid comes up and over. The brine should be touching the weight itself if not covering it. I like these pickle pebbles myself, but even a clean washed rock will work fine. 

beet kraut rough and tumble farmhouse

​Use a clean cloth or paper towel to wipe the rim of the jar, and clean out any loose beet/cabbage that might be above the brine line.

Lastly, cover the jar with something to keep out bugs and such. Again I really like these little pickle pipes from Mason Tops. You can also just cover it with a couple layers of cheese cloth and a lid ring, or a paper towel and a rubber band. Work with what you have! The goal is to let gases escape but keep bugs and drifting yeasts/bacterias out.

Ferment!

Place the jar on a plate, pan, etc, This is a WILD ferment so unless you want bright purple juices all over your counters don’t skip that step!

Allow the jar to sit for about a week, somewhere out of direct sunlight. Most places tell you to put it in a cool dark place, but I find I forget about things tucked away in cupboards or basements. I just keep mine on the countertop and it does fine.

​After a day or two you will start to notice air bubbles cruising their way up the sides of the jar. Fermentation is happening!

After about 5-7 days do a taste test. It should have a tangy flavor with a rich, earthy beet vibe going for it. 

fermenting beet sauerkraut rough and tumble farmhouse

Keep a close watch on this ferment as you might need to “burp” your jar. If you notice a lot of liquid starting to bubble out you can remove your cover to let out extra gases. If too much liquid comes out from the fermentation going wildly, you risk either a spoiled batch or a more slimy result. Definitely had that happen to me a time or two. 

This beetroot sauerkraut recipe is ready when you say it is! That’s the great thing about fermenting sauerkraut, you can decide when the flavor is right where you like it. 

Store

After it tastes the way you want, remove the fermentation weights and the follower. Give it another good smoosh down to keep the brine on top. Cap with an air-tight lid. I personally prefer a metal canning lid to a plastic mason jar lid. I think the flavor stays better. Store in the fridge or a nice cool root cellar. If it is stored at 50 degrees or more it might continue to ferment or spoil.

Adding Spices and Ways to Eat

One of the best things about homemade kraut is the flexibility you have to try different spices! Personally, I love adding caraway seeds. Just sprinkle in a few tablespoons and taste as you mix it up. You can also try red pepper flakes, turmeric, whatever sounds good to you.

​This kraut is delicious eaten alongside pretty much any meat dish. Cooking it will cook out some of the good bacteria, but it is also delicious pan-fried in a little butter.

More Fermentation Please!

Check out some of my other popular fermented food recipes! These are simple recipes that are a great way to look after your gut health year-round. 

Watch and Learn

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beet sauerkraut recipe rough and tumble farmhouse

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