Beet Apple Cabbage Kraut
1 organic white cabbage, outer leaves removed
1 large organic beetroot, grated
1 organic pink lady apple, grated
1-3 Tbsn celtic sea salt
(Optional) 1 cup filtered water + 1 tspn salt for extra brine
Remove outer leaves and impurities from the cabbage. Reserve the outer leaves for later.
Cut the cabbage in half and remove the core. Reserve this for later use, and then cut the cabbage again so it is in quarters.
Slice or grate your cabbage to the desired thickness. As this recipe includes fruit the kraut will ferment at a faster rate than a straight vegetable ferment. For this reason I like to always cut my cabbage quite thin for this mixture. I also add a grape leaf to help keep the ingredients firm (see note)
Place sliced cabbage into a large bowl a handful at a time, covering each handful with a dash of salt until all the cabbage is in the bowl. Don’t go overboard. It’s easier to add more salt later than it is to reduce the amount of salt by adding more cabbage!
Massage the cabbage with your hands by opening and closing your fist while the cabbage is inside the palm of your hand. This, with the salt, pops the walls of the cells in the cabbage, releasing water. When the cabbage is moist and there is liquid in the bowl it is ready to be jarred.
Mix in the grated beetroot and apple so that it is dispersed evenly throughout the cabbage.
In a large glass jar, place a small handful of the cabbage mix, pushing it down so that it is very firm and compact. You will need to use quite a bit of pressure. Continue in this fashion until the last of your cabbage mix is firmly squashed into the jar. There should be around about a 1-2 inch gap between the top of the cabbage and the lid of the jar. By this stage salty water should have risen to the top of the cabbage mix. If it has not risen use the filtered water and additional salt to create brine. For every 250mls of water you add, you should add a teaspoon of salt. Most likely though you will only be topping the mixture up slightly so a pinch of salt in a dash of water would be enough, again although there is a formula you can also do this by taste.
Fold the outer cabbage leaves in the shape of the lid of the jar. Push this down on top of the kraut mix like a plug, ensuring all parts of the leaves are submerged under liquid. This is so the mixture does not come into contact with air.
If there is still a fair amount of room between the top of your cabbage and the lid of the jar you can use a large piece of the cabbage core to push down the cabbage mix further or cut up a carrot and use thumb size pieces to push the mixture down. When all the kraut is submerged place the lid on.
Place a container under the jar and keep it out of direct sunlight. Juices are likely to seep out of the top and onto the plate. Check the kraut regularly (every day) and push it down as needed so it is always under the brine. You can also add more salty water if needed but just remember the key to success here is keeping the mixture away from oxygen (keep it under the brine)!
Leave the kraut mix to ferment at room temperature for 1-2 weeks. A slightly cooler temperature is more desirable with fruit ferments as you don’t want it to ferment to quickly. As always check your ferment daily to become familiar with the tastes, smells, gasses and liquids that are created at each stage of fermentation.
Transfer to the fridge when you are happy with the taste.
Grape leaves, horseradish leaves, oak leaves and tea leaves all contain tannins. Tannins can help to keep lacto fermented vegetables from going soggy during the fermentation process. Each tannin containing leaf has its own effects on the ferment and even though all tannins provide some degree of anti-oxidative protection it’s best just to use a little at a time. For a mason jar a pinch of tea leaves or a couple of grape leaves are enough.