Violet hued purple cabbage sauerkraut stands out from the crowd. Based on its before picture, you’d never guess that Violet Kraut would turn out so gorgeous after fermentation. And that’s gorgeous not just in its color. But in its delightfully sour taste and healthful probiotic bacteria as well.
Fermentation creates tasty, easily digested and assimilated superfoods. The process of lacto-fermentation adds a host of beneficial live bacteria to food. As the bacteria consume the sugars and starches in the food being fermented, the lactic acid they give off changes the texture of the food, adds flavor, and acidifies the food sufficiently to both preserve it and protect it from spoiling.
A grand time for natural fermentation
Spring and summer months are a grand time for fermenting. If you’ve been waiting to make your first ferment, wait no longer. Violet Kraut’s a great beginning. Making it requires minimal equipment. And the crunchy kraut comes out mild with a pop of spice. Gather your jars, vegetables and spices and forward ho! (Note: If you want really easy, the recipes for Fig Jam and Country-Style Mustard are even easier than Violet Kraut.)
How easy it is
The whole process of preparing Violet Kraut from slicing to packing takes an hour. Plus an additional five or more days at room temperature for fermentation to take place. Here’s the breakdown of the 30 minutes of active time and 30 minutes of resting time.
- 20 minutes for slicing and grating the vegetables with a food processor or by hand.
- The vegetables sit unattended for 30 minutes while the salt draws out their juices.
- 10 minutes for packing Violet Kraut into jars or a crock.
For a deeper understanding, read one of my favorite books on fermentation by Wardeh Harmon, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Fermenting Foods.
Sure looks purple to me
So it’s surprising to me that many people call this cabbage “red cabbage,” when it’s so obviously not. A number of sources online say that the acidity of the soil in which the cabbage grows makes a difference in its color.
“In acidic soils, the leaves grow more reddish, in neutral soils they will grow more purple, while an alkaline soil will produce rather greenish-yellow colored cabbages. This explains the fact that the same plant is known by different colors in various regions.”
Okay, but they sure look purple to me.
Recipe inspired by and adapted from Sandor Katz.
Enjoy Violet Kraut as you would any sauerkraut. Violet Kraut makes a delicious and healthful addition to a breakfast, lunch or dinner bowl. This bowl features Winter Lentil Soup with Roasted Tomatoes and Garlic, quinoa and sliced scallion with fresh cilantro. All topped with gorgeous Violet Kraut.
Makes 3 quarts Printer-Friendly Recipe
Active Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour plus 5 or more days for fermentation
3 pounds thinly sliced purple cabbage (4mm food processor slicing disc)
¾ pound white onion, thinly sliced (4mm food processor slicing disc)
¼ pound carrots, large grate
3 tablespoons high quality salt, i.e., Celtic or Himalayan
1 tablespoon whole coriander
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper flakes
- Combine the sliced cabbage, onion and grated carrots in a very large bowl. Sprinkle with the salt.
- Toast the coriander in a small skillet over medium high heat until fragrant. Lightly crush the coriander. (I like to use a coffee grinder that I reserve for spices.)
- Sprinkle the coriander and pepper flakes over the cabbage. Use your hands to thoroughly mix in the salt and spices. Let sit for 30 minutes.
- Knead and massage the vegetables with your hands to release more of their juices.
- Pack the violet kraut in the equivalent of 3 quart Mason jars. Use a kraut pounder or your fist to both tightly pack the vegetables and to release enough liquid to completely cover the vegetables. Leave at least 1 ½ – 2 inches of airspace between the top of the vegetables covered in brine and the top of the jar.
- Use glass or ceramic weights and/or a small jar filled with enough water to keep all the vegetables submerged in the brine.
- Cover the jars with a large plastic bag, sealed with a rubber band. Store the jars at room temperature.
- “Burp” the jars daily by releasing the rubber band and any accumulated gasses.
- Begin tasting at day 5. Taste with two spoons. One spoon to remove some of the brine and put it in the other spoon. Use that second spoon for tasting. Don’t dip the tasting spoon in the brine. The bacteria in your mouth can negatively affect your kraut.
- When you love the taste, remove the weights, seal the jars and transfer them to the refrigerator. Otherwise, cover the jars and let it ferment for another day before tasting again.