purple sauerkraut

This is a live fermented cabbage pickle that is a little unusual, if you’re not used to fermented foods, but is really delicious, and super healthy too. Sauerkraut can take a week or two to ferment at room temperature, at which point it can be stored in the fridge for up to few months.

What you’ll need

Large or very large glass jar
Mixing bowl

Sea Salt
Red and white cabbage (you can also use only one type, though if you only use white, you won’t get the lovely purple colour at the end)

Optional extras 

1 Beetroot 
Caraway seed 
Fennel seed


Wash and sterilise your glass jar.

Weigh your cabbage. You will need 1 tablespoon of salt per 600g of cabbage.

Slice the cabbage finely (or use the mixer on the finest slicer), and put it in the large mixing bowl.

If you like them, grate in a beetroot and add a tablespoon of caraway and a tablespoon of fennel seeds.

Sprinkle on the salt and mix everything together using your hands, massaging the salt into the cabbage mix until liquid starts to come out. You will get purple hands!

Stuff the mix into a large jar, pushing it down in the jar very firmly, and adding any liquid left in the bowl. This fermentation should happen without air, so its important that the cabbage  mix is covered with briny liquid. You need to leave about an inch of space at the top of the jar.

If at any stage you find you have not got enough liquid to cover the mix, you can add a brine made by dissolving a little salt in warm water. (If you can, use spring water or distilled water as chlorine may kill the fermentation culture). 

Weigh down the vegetables with an object like a clean (boiled) stone, or a sterilised glass or ceramic object. This is to make sure that they are covered by the brine. You can improvise with a folded piece of cabbage leaf, to stop pieces floating up to the surface.

Put your jar on a plate or piece of kitchen towel, to protect your kitchen surfaces from any spillage caused by the fermentation.

After a day, open the jar and push down the vegetables. Do this once a day. You need to do this because the fermenting mixture will make gases, which need to be released from the jar, and to make sure that the vegetables stay covered with the brine.

You can start taste-testing your sauerkraut after a three to five days. Once the sauerkraut is as tangy as you like it, refrigerate it to slow down the fermentation.


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