Lactofermented Beet Ginger Sauerkraut

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I’ve been making homemade sauerkraut and other veggie ferments for almost 5 years now.  I love the fizzy and zippy taste you can only get from homemade ferments.  Although I have noticed more lactofermented krauts and veggies popping up on refrigerated store shelves, I have a really hard time dropping 8+ dollars on a quart!  I can do it at home for a fraction of the price and adjust the flavors to my liking.

When I first started out, I used Nourishing Traditions as my guideline.  I fermented in Mason jars for years, but truthfully it always made me a little nervous.  On a few occasions, I had mold develop on the top of the veggies and although I’ve read that you can skim it off and still consume the ferment, I had a hard time getting past the thought of mold on my food.  Plus, I have a hubby that deals with seasonal allergies and didn’t like the idea of him consuming any of these bad guys.  As I dug a little deeper, I found that even after skimming, some mold may remain within the ferment.

The last time I used Mason jars, I ended up with a very smelly, rotten ferment.  I used the same method I had used for years, but something went wrong.  This sauerkraut was definitely bad – the smell was terrible (and not in a stinky sauerkraut kinda way).  I absolutely HATE wasting food that I’ve spent my time and hard earned money on, so I decided it was time to invest in some anaerobic fermenting vessels.

Around this same time I was really getting into Jessica’s 52 Weeks of Bad A** Bacteria series.  She posted this article and I was convinced to make the switch.  I purchased 2 anaerobic fermenting jars with air locks and purchased a bunch of regular wire-bail canning jars (also called “Fidos”).  This way, I could store my ferments with glass jar lids and move the air lock to another jar, starting up another ferment.

Why do anaerobic fermenting vessels work better than Mason jars?  Lactic Acid Bacteria (LABs) favor anaerobic environments and as they consume the oxygen within the vessel, carbon dioxide is produced and the gas is able to escape through the air-lock.  The air-lock, however, does not allow oxygen back in.  As a result, the LABs are able to increase in number and thrive.  The lack of oxygen keeps the bad aerobic bacteria from growing and spoiling your ferment.  Mason jars must be “burped” or opened to allow for the carbon dioxide to escape.  Because the seal is broken when you do this, oxygen is allowed to enter.  You can see why this is a less than ideal situation.

Lacto-fermented Beet Ginger Sauerkraut // deliciousobsessions.com Follow Me on Pinterest

This recipe came about when I found myself with a few beets and a small cabbage – not enough of either to make a full batch of pickled beets or sauerkraut.  I love ginger in just about anything, so I always have some on hand.  Beets and ginger are a beautiful paring – if you’ve never tried them together, you are missing out!

Lacto-fermented Beet Ginger Sauerkraut // deliciousobsessions.com Follow Me on Pinterest

I enjoy this ferment any time of year, but I find it particularly refreshing in the summer and fall months.  It pairs well with grilled meats or salmon and is a great starter for a heavier meal like roasts or stews in the colder months.

Enjoy!!

Lacto-fermented Beet Ginger Sauerkraut
 
Author:
Recipe type: Ferment
Ingredients
  • 3-4 beets, approximately 1.5 pounds, peeled and shredded on a box grater or in a food processor
  • Small purple or red cabbage, approximately 1.5 pounds, shredded (reserve 1-2 of the large outer leaves)
  • 1-2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated with a Microplane
  • 19 grams of sea salt
Instructions
  1. This recipe will fit in a 1.5 liter jar. Before preparing the sauerkraut ingredients, throughly wash all components of your fermenting vessel.
  2. Spread the shredded cabbage into a large flat bottom baking dish (I like to use my old lasagna pan) and sprinkle it with the sea salt.
  3. With clean hands, massage the salt into the cabbage for a minute or two.
  4. At this point, I usually let the cabbage rest for 30 minutes to allow the salt to draw out some liquid. This is how you will create your brine.
  5. After 30 minutes, add the beets and the ginger to the cabbage and mix well. The mixture will look like way too much to fit into the fermenting vessel, but no worries, you can jam in all in there!
  6. Now start filling your fermenting vessel with the cabbage beet mixture. I like to add a few spoonfuls and then press it down firmly before adding more veggies.
  7. As you are adding the mixture, run a knife around the edges of the jar to allow small air bubble to escape.
  8. Once the jar is filled to the shoulder (the point where the jar start to curve in), it's time to seal it up.
  9. I like to lay 1 or 2 cabbage leaves over the sauerkraut to keep all the little pieces from floating up.
  10. Place a few clean glass weights or a small pinch bowl over the leaves and press down so everything is submerged under liquid.
  11. Close the lid and add the air-lock - don't forget to add water to your air-lock.
  12. Place in a pantry or dark corner for 2-4 weeks. The longer it ferments, the zippier it will taste!
  13. Store your beautiful ferment in your refrigerator.
  14. Enjoy!!

Note from Jessica: I personally use the Probiotic Jars for my fermenting. Like Marjorie, I invested in a few of those, and then purchased a bunch of Fido’s. This helped keep the cost down considerably since the lids are interchangeable. For lots more ferment recipes, check out this link.

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About Marjorie Saveski

Marjorie is a blogger and a home cook with a passion for real food, health, and fitness. She is a graduate of Wayne State University and works as an Orthopedic Physical Therapist. Marjorie currently resides in Southeast Michigan with her husband, Alex. Her hobbies include skiing, crafting, and playing around in the kitchen and she hopes to share what she has learned through her real life experience and research with her readers.

Discussion

10 comments

  1. This looks so good! 🙂 I had to laugh a little when I saw this… my last post was on ginger and today I posted on beets! haha Great minds think alike! 😉 Now I’m going to have to try some ginger in my beets! Thanks for the tip 🙂

    reply 
  2. I’ve been getting a ginger beet kraut from whole foods for the past couple weeks-Love it! I’ve been looking for a recipe,so I can make it myself. Looks like I’ve found it! 🙂 Not sure about directions 9-11,but I’ll figure it out. Jars I have,just have lids you screw on-hope that’s ok! Can’t wait to try-thanks for the recipe!

    reply 

    Sarah
    Posted 10/02/14

  3. Hello!

    I have a question that may seem silly: once you move your ferments to fido jars, is it okay to open and close the jars and not worry about oxygen entering the jars? At what point do you take the airlock off and know it’s “ready”? Thank you so much, I’m a fermenting noob!!

    reply 

    Sarah
    Posted 04/02/15

    • HI Sarah – Thanks for stopping by! Once your ferment is finished (which is typically when the active bubbling subsides), you would remove the airlock. I never change the jars, I only change the lids. You would remove the airlock lid and replace that with a normal Fido lid and then store in the fridge. There will be some oxygen that enters the jar when you are getting the food out, but once the ferment has completed, it’s not as big of an issue. Happy fermenting! 🙂

      reply 

      Jessica Espinoza
      Posted 04/05/15

  4. I see it says “lacto-ferment” but I did not see any mention of adding whey. Should we add whey to the batch before allowing it to ferment?

    reply 

    Ciana
    Posted 05/03/15

    • Hi Ciana – No. You won’t add whey. The term lactoferment has nothing to do with milk/dairy. “Lacto” in this case refers to lactic acid, not lactose. I had the same assumption when I first started fermenting and thought that dairy had to be used in lactofermented foods. I then discovered what the “lacto” was actually referring to! 🙂 Also, I wrote about why I don’t advise adding whey to ferments here: http://www.deliciousobsessions.com/2012/02/by-the-whey-side-why-ive-stopped-using-whey-in-my-vegetable-ferments/. Adding whey actually prevents the ferment from going through all the proper stages, thus creating a less than ideal environment for the development of the good bacteria. Hope that helps! 🙂

      reply 

      Jessica Espinoza
      Posted 05/07/15

  5. Hello,
    Just wondering how long this will keep once all done?
    Thank you!

    reply 

    Amelie
    Posted 08/11/15

    • Hi Amelie – That is the beautiful thing about properly fermented foods. They keep almost forever! At least a six months to year (if not more). I have a friend who found an jar of kraut in the back of her fridge that was a few years old and it was still perfectly fine. Crispy, crunchy, and the flavor was divine! Natural fermentation is an amazing thing! 🙂

      reply 

      Jessica Espinoza
      Posted 08/12/15

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