Cabbage and Beetroot Sauerkraut

– by Byron Smith and Tess Robinson,

authors of "Slow Down and Grow Something."

 

 

My daughter surprised me with this cookbook for my birthday this year, and I must say that I've done a real good job of making sure my children know me... This is one fantastic cookbook - slash - gardening tips book - slash - inspirational book. 

Highly recommend you run out to your nearest Indigo and buy one for yourself.

One of the recipes I tried following from the book, is this one: Cabbage and Beetroot Sauerkraut. I was actually looking for a Kimchi recipe for quite some time because I love the stuff and it's just SO GOOD for you. I knew I didn't want it to be spicy though, because two of my three daughters aren't into the spicy thing quite yet (I'm sure they will be later... I mean, with a mother coming from South America, cooking spicy stuff all their lives – at some point they would have to like spice, no?).

This recipe attracted me because of the colour; I mean, LOOK AT IT! Isn't it just gorgeous?

The other reason why this recipe attracted me to it, was because I had just picked the last of my fennel from the garden as the season closed (what a sad time of year that is!). I like growing fennel because well, it's delicious, but also because I raise Eastern Swallowtail butterflies, and they LOVE the stuff – the fennel I grow is where I find most of their eggs, which I then raise and release (one of the highlights of my spring and summer months!).

 

Anyway, enough distraction! This recipe is so much fun to make because it's easy, quick, everything is chopped roughly, and mixed in my big stainless bowl using hands. Love that!

In 2-3 weeks you can have your very own tangy and crunchy Sauerkraut. 

My advice? Try it on your fish tacos – it makes the dish come alive!

What you'll need:
  • 1/2 red cabbage, chopped

  • 1/2 white cabbage, chopped

  • 4 beetroots, peeled and grated (I actually used 6 beets because I just love their flavour! Let's just say they were a bit on the small side, hah!)

  • 2 fennel bulbs (remove tough outer layer), chopped

  • 4 dill sprigs, chopped (I never used to be a big fan of dill, but it's so good in this recipe)

  • 4 Tbsp. fine sea salt (the Himalayan stuff is the best, really)

  • 1/3 cup baby capers, rinsed (I actually never really knew what "baby" capers were, maybe in Australia they're smaller than here in Canada? I used the ones in the glass jar, the pickled ones, and yes they need to be rinsed out).

  • 1 Tbsp. caraway seeds (which I actually did not use myself, as I'm not a big fan... sorry)

  • 1 Tbsp. fennel seeds

  • 1 Tbsp. sesame seeds (I would actually add 2 Tbsp. next time)

Add all the ingredients in a massive bowl, like the one I used, and massage gently for about 5-10 minutes. This is really important as it will ensure all ingredients are mixed well, and that they begin to release some of their natural juices. This juice will help to naturally "ferment" and coat all the veg, making it super tasty. So don't skimp out on the massaging, it's real important!

Separate all your mixture into a bunch of glass Mason jars, shoving them in and pressing down well using a spoon or your hand (if it fits). 

As you can see, I used some larger containers and some smaller ones, because that's all I had on hand from the previous pickling experiments I did. 

NOTE: It's important that all the mixture is covered well into the top of the jars, to prevent the veg from oxidizing and turning a not-so-appealing brownish colour. This is apparently due to a large amount of air it had on top of the jar... So just push down the mixture well and top up all veg into the jars. Easy!

Let the jars sit, well covered, at room temperature for about 2-3 weeks. I put mine in the basement, and after 3 weeks moved them into the refrigerator. 

After that time, your sauerkraut will taste tangy and somewhat sour, like it's been pickled. AND IT'LL BE SOOO GOOD!!! 

Look at how the colour changed over the fermentation time. It turned a darker burgundy colour – love it! Thanks, Byron and Tess for this great recipe!

What should I try making next from their recipe book? Maybe the "Fig and Rosemary Tart" or the "Grape Pizza"... it all looks creatively amazing!

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