To make this beautiful purple kraut, you need only a few days of fermenting time and items you already have in your kitchen.
Every year I pick one thing I want to learn to make and force the issue by removing it from our annual shopping list. Last summer, a friend had us taste her homemade kraut infused with locally picked highbush cranberries, which grow in Alaska. It was delicious. Her quick directions gave me confidence that I could easily make sauerkraut, too.
The purpose of lacto-fermenting vegetables is to store the summer harvest so that vegetables can be enjoyed throughout the year. Since I had only one head of cabbage which weighed a pound-and-a-half, I turned to small batch food preservation methods. Credit for the following directions goes to a blog called The Kitchn where the author posts all sorts of information about lacto-fermentation, photos, and step-by-step directions.
Our first menu with the finished kraut was a knock-your-socks-off reuben. We’ll post that recipe in an upcoming article.
DIY Small Batch Purple Sauerkraut
- 1 small head purple cabbage (about 1.5 lbs.)
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp caraway seeds
- 1 tbsp dried juniper berries
- Gather materials you will need to process kraut: 2 quart container, cutting board, chef’s knife, gallon Ziploc bag, large mixing bowl, and lidded quart container for final product.
- Slice cabbage into ribbons. Discard core.
- Place cabbage ribbons into large mixing bowl. Sprinkle salt all over cabbage.
- Knead, massage, and squeeze salt into cabbage, until cabbage begins to become shiny and loses liquid. This will take about 10 minutes.
- Mix in caraway seeds and juniper berries.
- Pack mixture into 2 quart container. Pour any liquid from mixing bowl into container, too.
- Fill Ziploc bag with water and set inside 2 quart container to weigh down and cover cabbage.
- Press down cabbage every few hours. This will cause air to come to the surface.
- If there is not enough liquid to cover the cabbage in 24 hours, add 1 cup water mixed with 1 tsp salt.
- Keep the container out of light and at a temperature of 65 – 75 degrees F.
- Allow to ferment from 3 – 10 days. Begin tasting at 3 days. Mine tasted just right at 3 days. The longer you leave it, the more sour it will be.
- Put finished sauerkraut in a 1 quart container and store in the refrigerator. It should keep for several months.