Fermented Beet and Red Cabbage Sauerkraut

by Kaitlynn Fenley
using my hads to show the tightly packed layers of a fresh raw red cabbage

The fermented beet and red cabbage sauerkraut recipe is the best way to make fermented beets and cabbage. This beet sauerkraut is excellent for beginners and is ready to eat in three weeks.

Red Cabbage Sauerkraut with Fermented Beet

I should have titled this blog: How to Magically Get Nothing on Your White Sweater While Mixing Red Cabbage and Beets. I usually don’t cook with an apron; maybe I should. Lol.

Homemade sauerkraut is the best fermented food to make if you’re new to fermenting vegetables at home. Sauerkraut is particularly easy for a first fermentation project since cabbage ferments exceptionally well.

The water content and the microbial species richness of cabbage make it optimal for wild fermentation! 

This recipe teaches you how to make probiotic red cabbage and beet sauerkraut in a mason jar.

Can you make sauerkraut with red cabbage?

I love ginger beet sauerkraut. It’s especially great for fall, aka cold and flu season. With just a few simple ingredients and a few weeks of fermentation, you can craft a nutrient-dense, probiotic, flavorful sauerkraut.

Using red cabbage to make sauerkraut is the best. It’s a slightly sweeter cabbage and contains tons of beneficial nutrients, and purple cabbage has more vitamin C, carotenoids, and flavonoid antioxidants, such as anthocyanins and kaempferol, than green cabbage.

Beets are another great source of nutrients, and they’re packed with potassium, betaine, magnesium, and folate. And let’s not forget about ginger! Phenolic compounds in ginger are known to help relieve gastrointestinal irritations and aid in digestion.

All these nutritional benefits combined with the natural probiotics from wild fermentation make ginger beet sauerkraut a superfood.

I add a bit of water to all my cabbage fermentation recipes, and water is still drawn out of the cabbage when salt is added. However, having water as a part of this recipe accounts for seasonal changes in produce hydration levels. So no matter where you are in the world or what your cabbage is like, you should be able to keep everything submerged in the brine and succeed with this recipe.

Fermenting Red Cabbage Sauerkraut

To master fermentation, you’ll need to use weight measurements for your fermentation ingredients, which means you need a kitchen scale. To select the best probiotic bacteria (the beneficial ones) in your ferments, you must weigh salt to create a specific salt concentration.

Weighing salt is the only way to create a salt concentration that will select only probiotic microbes to thrive. You can read more about why you must weigh your salt & how to calculate salt concentration here.

Using a gram scale to determine a 2.25% salt solution.

In this recipe, we are adding 2.5% salt (that means we are adding 2.5% of the cabbage + water weight in salt → i.e. 2.5% x 800 grams = 20 grams.

So we are adding 20 grams of salt to give us a 2.44% total salt concentration. 

Supplies You’ll Need to Ferment Beet and Red Cabbage Sauerkraut

Red Cabbage Sauerkraut Fermentation Timeline

We tracked our kraut throughout the fermentation process. By checking the progress of microbial stages using microscopy, we have provided you with this handy timeline! If you follow our recipe and directions, your timeline of sauerkraut fermentation should approximately match ours!

24 – 48 hours: All contents in the jar should be submerged beneath the brine. At this time, Gram-negative bacteria and opportunistic pathogens are present, and these microorganisms utilize oxygen and will use up all the oxygen in the liquid.

48 hours – 10 days: After 48 hours, you should see lots of bubbles produced. This is when the ferment enters stage two of vegetable fermentation, Leuconostoc bacteria begin to thrive, and all Gram negative organisms die off.

10-14 days: The bubbles in the brine will decrease as the ferment leaves stage two and enters stage three. The ferment will become cloudy, the color will change, and a pleasant sour smell will develop. Lactobacillus species begin to thrive in this period.

14 – 21 days: Lactobacillus comprise most or all of the microbial population. Leuconostoc bacteria die-off. Lactobacillus spp. produce copious amounts of lactic acid and make the fermented cabbage smell even more pleasantly sour. This is the time in which the vegetable mixture becomes preserved.

What Temperature Should I Keep My Red Cabbage Sauerkraut At?

Keep your fermenting cabbage at a temperature between 70-80 degrees F. Keep out of direct sunlight

How Long Should I Ferment Beet Sauerkraut?

After 3-4 weeks, remove the fermentation weight, smell, and taste test. Your fermented cabbage should smell pleasantly sour and taste tart, lightly salty, and cabbagey.  

Do I Need to Refrigerate Beet Kraut?

After fermenting for 3-4 weeks, remove the weight and place a regular mason jar lid on the jar and refrigerate. Consume within six months for full probiotic benefits.

Homemade Beet and Red Cabbage Sauerkraut Tips

During the first few days of fermentation: carbon dioxide and bubbles will be produced. Sometimes jars will become full of liquid, which can seep out. 

  • Remove the lid and tamper everything back down using a gloved hand, tamper, or spoon. Ensure everything, including the weight, is submerged below the brine. Rinse off the lid if it is dirty.

Always Trust your sense of smell: Fermented cabbage should smell pleasantly sour and like strong cabbage. Never eat anything that smells repulsive or yeasty. 

Never eat anything with mold growing on it: You should not encounter this problem by following directions. 

Taste test at three weeks: If you prefer the sauerkraut to be more tart and sour, let it ferment for four weeks. 

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Fermented Beet and Red Cabbage Sauerkraut with Ginger

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The fermented beet and red cabbage sauerkraut recipe is the best way to make fermented beets and cabbage. This beet sauerkraut is great for beginners and is ready to eat in three weeks.

  • Author: Kaitlynn Fenley
  • Prep Time: 15 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 Minutes
  • Yield: 1 Quart
  • Category: Fermented Foods
  • Method: Fermentation
  • Diet: Vegan

Ingredients

  • 500 grams Red Cabbage
  • 100 grams Shredded Beets
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Grated Ginger
  • 20 grams Unrefined Sea Salt
  • 200 grams Filtered Water

Instructions

  1. Wash your fermentation equipment (jar, weight, and lid)
  2. Remove the outer leaves of your cabbage and lightly rinse with cool water. Using a knife, chop the cabbage to your desired thickness.
  3. Place your kitchen scale on the counter. Turn it on and set it to weigh in grams.
  4. Place a mixing bowl on your kitchen scale and tare/zero the scale.
  5. Add the designated amounts of chopped cabbage, beets, and ginger.
  6. Remove the bowl from the scale and set it aside.
  7. Place a small, empty bowl on your scale and tare/zero the scale. Weigh out the salt.
  8. Add the salt into the bowl with the cabbage, and mix with your hands until the cabbage becomes wet.
  9. Place your empty, clean jar on the scale, and tare/zero the scale. Make sure your scale is still set to grams, and add the filtered water to your jar.
  10. Add the water into the bowl with the cabbage and salt. Mix everything well.
  11. Starting with the liquid, add the entire contents of the bowl into your jar, and pack everything down.
  12. Place your glass fermentation weight in the jar, submerging the cabbage pieces and weight fully into the liquid. If your weight is smaller than the diameter of your jar, you can tuck everything in with a large cabbage leaf and place the weight on top. If you don’t have enough liquid, place your glass fermentation weight in the jar and submerge as much as possible. Over the next 12 hours, the cabbage should release more liquid, and you can press down your fermentation weight below the brine.
  13. Secure the solid lid to the jar.
  14. Ferment for 21-28 days, then remove the weight and refrigerate. Don’t forget to burp the jar daily during the bubbly phase.
  15. If you try this recipe and love it, please leave a five-star review below!

Notes

  • See fermentation care instructions and timeline above this recipe.
  • Taring/zeroing the scale with a container on it subtracts the weight of the container, allowing you to weigh only what is added to the container. After taring/zeroing the scale, the scale should read 0.0 with the container on it.

Keywords: fermented,beet,red cabbage,sauerkraut,fermentation

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39 comments

Stan Jones January 27, 2020 - 4:16 pm

Good morning.
Just discovered your site and am enjoying looking around. I have some red cabbage and beets to use up and I have a question regarding your recipe. All our batches of various krauts we’ve used 2-2.5% salt, based on the weight of the vegetables. We let the cabbage and veggies make their own brine and haven’t needed to add water. Your red cabbage recipe calls for approx 3.3% salt, based on ingredient weight. I’m wondering if we could simply use 3.3% salt and let the ingredients make their own brine. Thanks for your thoughts.
Stan

Reply
Kaitlynn Fenley January 27, 2020 - 4:33 pm

This recipe is a 2.44% total salt concentration. Looks like you used a severely inaccurate calculation to arrive at 3.3%. The mathematics of calculating salt concentration is fully explained in the body of this blog post. Water is also an ingredient that has to be weighed to calculate total salt concentration. 20 grams of salt/ 820 grams of total ingredients = 2.44%

It is an option to allow the cabbage to make its own brine. However, if anyone who is using an old cabbage, an out of season cabbage, or a cabbage thats been in their fridge too long they will not have enough liquid to keep the contents submerged for the duration of the fermentation. Keeping vegetables submerged is of the most important in safe vegetable fermentation. Our recipe methods are designed for consistency amongst all of our blog readers, regardless of the state of their ingredients.

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Marie August 27, 2020 - 7:47 pm

Hi! This looks really good. I was wondering if you use cooked or raw beets? Thanks!

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Kaitlynn Fenley August 28, 2020 - 10:22 am

I used raw beets that had been frozen in this recipe.

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Jamie February 18, 2021 - 3:49 pm

I just got a fermentation crock with a lid.ñ from a talented local potter. Can I use it for this recipe instead of a mason jar?

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Kaitlynn Fenley February 18, 2021 - 3:53 pm

Oh, that’s wonderful! I hope to buy myself a beautiful, custom ceramic crock one day! Yes, you can use it. Just note the volume and scale up the recipe as necessary. You can double or triple the recipe using the buttons on the recipe card. This recipe at 1x is for a 32-ounce jar. Oh, and you should still use a fermentation weight and keep everything submerged in the brine.

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Jamie February 18, 2021 - 4:05 pm

Thanks! Excited to try this recipe- is it ok if I don’t fill the crock as long as it stays submerged?

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Kaitlynn Fenley February 18, 2021 - 4:16 pm

Yes, that should be fine. If your crock has a water-seal top, use that as well, in tandem with submerging. 🙂

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Lou Daigle March 26, 2021 - 11:06 am

We love this! I made 2 quarts and I mixed the ingredients gently in hopes that it would still have some crunch to it. I fermented them for the full 4 weeks and they turned out great …. crunchy and so flavorful!
Kaitlynn, I don’t know how you managed to keep your white sweater so clean when you were making this. I wore a black tee shirt and I’m glad I did!
Thanks so much for sharing this great recipe.

Reply
Kaitlynn Fenley March 29, 2021 - 12:47 pm

So happy to hear you tried another recipe and loved it, Lou! Jon says that I have surgeon’s hands, so I guess my steady hands helped keep my sweater stain-free haha!

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Justin April 7, 2021 - 8:57 am

Fantastic recipe, made it yesterday for my birthday. Only 20 days left to taste test. I am having issues with my cucumbers, which I make into sour pickles. Its 90° in the Philippines so fermentation happens rapidly. Although I end up with very sour pickle spears they are not crispy, even though I add in bay leaves (as well as peppercorns/coriander/mustard seed) and very fresh cucs. 3.5% salinity. Can you tell me what I’m doing wrong? Thanks!!

Reply
Kaitlynn Fenley April 8, 2021 - 7:29 am

Hey there,

I responded to the question you left about pickles on our wild fermented dill pickle blog. Yes, a high temperature does speed up the fermentation timeline. Fermentation temperatures above 80-85° F can lead to vegetable softening. I also suggest a 3-4% total salt concentration (which is not the same thing as salinity).

Reply
Caroline Phelan August 11, 2021 - 12:22 pm

This recipe sounds great I tried a kraut with similar ingredients recently and have wanted to recreate it since! Just wondering can this be done without a fermentation weight? I don’t have one and am very new to fermenting but wondering if I keep the veg fully submerged and the lid of my jar airtight will that work? Thanks in advance!

Reply
Kaitlynn Fenley August 11, 2021 - 2:55 pm

It’s best to use a fermentation weight, but it is possible to still have good results without one. You must make sure everything is staying submerged for the duration of the fermentation process though. When it gets bubbly, you will have to check it very often to resubmerge everything with a clean utensil.

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Steve Mitchener November 1, 2021 - 10:20 am

Hi, I followed your recipe exactly using 50% of all ingredients and added it to a 0.5 L (17 ounce) Kilner jar. With a weight added, the tightly packed food was submerged in the brine. The brine came up to the very top of the jar, meaning there was no air under the lid. Is this okay, or should I tip some away to allow for some air? Your blog indicated some bacteria use oxygen in the early stages of fermentation. Can this be extracted solely from the water? Thanks Steve. NB: I live in England and am very grateful you give metric measurements as I find the Imperial system quite baffling!

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Kaitlynn Fenley November 1, 2021 - 11:17 am

Hello! yes, that sounds like the right amount of brine, and no need to tip some away. In the very beginning of fermentation, some microbes do use oxygen, but they’re using dissolved oxygen within the water… and that’s how the brine becomes anaerobic. Just make sure you place your jar in a glass baking dish or a bowl because when it gets bubbly some brine will seep out.

The metric system is the only way to go, especially for fermentation! I hate customary and imperial units haha

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Steve Mitchener November 3, 2021 - 6:19 am

Many thanks for your response. Greatly appreciated! Another question if I may? Fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut and kimchi have gut-friendly probiotic bacteria. I understand these will pass naturally into our microbiome when the food is consumed raw. Are these bacteria destroyed if the food is subsequently heated, which you might do if serving a hot meal? Many thanks. Steve

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Steve Mitchener November 25, 2021 - 11:58 am

This was my first attempt at fermenting anything … and I am delighted with the result. After 25 days, I have a quite sour, crunchy, fresh Kraut with overtones of ginger. I am very grateful for Kaitlynn’s blog and her responsiveness to my question. Many thanks.

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Briana December 29, 2021 - 2:08 am

Do you have to use previously frozen beets?

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Kaitlynn Fenley January 2, 2022 - 7:38 am

no, you can use fresh beets.

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Liz A. April 4, 2022 - 12:51 pm

Hi Kaitlynn- questions for you. I love a kraut from Wildbrine that is similar to this recipe but they also included pear with the beets and red cabbage. I would love to make my own version but am wondering if I add some pear to this recipe can I keep the amount of other ingredients the same? Or would I keep the weight of the beets and pear together to 100 grams? If not, what would be your suggestion on how many grams of pear to add?

Newer to fermenting so I appreciate any advice!

Reply
Kaitlynn Fenley April 11, 2022 - 10:18 am

Hi there!

You want to keep the weight of the beets and pears together at 100 grams.

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JBethmann April 29, 2022 - 10:00 am

I hopped on this site loving that same Wildbrine kraut and am so thankful for your Q and Kaitlynn’s answer 🙂

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Vica November 7, 2023 - 4:58 pm

Also looking for this Wildbrine recipe! Thanks!!!!

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Rebecca June 2, 2022 - 8:05 pm

Hi! Is it possible to leave the beets out or to substitute for an equal weight of additional cabbage? Thanks in advance!

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Kaitlynn Fenley June 4, 2022 - 9:16 am

absolutely!

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Marilyn June 17, 2022 - 12:59 am

JBETHMANN, me, too! I just love that WildBrine Kraut. Sprouts quit carrying it, & the other 2 stores that carry it don’t always have it in stock. It is the yummiest!

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SMP August 1, 2022 - 8:16 am

The way I make kraut, I don’t know until the end how much water I’ll need. I wonder if making a 2.5 concentration of brine, I can just add as much brine/water as needed once my jar is packed with cabbage. Of course, I would have used the proper amount of salt for the cabbage earlier. Your web site is a game changer and quite possibly a life saver! thank you so much.

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Kaitlynn Fenley August 1, 2022 - 9:31 am

My recipes are tested to fit a quart mason jar. But yes that should work! as long as you account for salt with the cabbage weight too.

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Cecile September 29, 2022 - 11:24 pm

Do you just use a regular canning lid?
Also, would I be able to reuse the plastic jar from Wildbrine to make the kraut?

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Kaitlynn Fenley September 30, 2022 - 8:21 am

There is a list of recommended equipment above the recipe card in the blog post. I do not suggest fermenting in plastic.

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Brett March 4, 2023 - 12:37 am

The first time I made this I just made one quart. It was so good that it didn’t last long. Just started a half gallon jar. Great recipe and so different from regular sauerkraut.

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David Kapral March 11, 2023 - 11:11 am

In step 16 it is suggested that one “place a standard mason jar lid” on the soon to be fermenting cabbage. Would it not be better to use a pickle pipe airlock during primary fermentation and then replace that with a Ball Plastic leak proof lid when placing it into the refrigerator? A standard lid has no way to drive off gasses. One would have to manually burp the stuff otherwise.

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Kaitlynn Fenley March 11, 2023 - 2:48 pm

No, it would not be better. Solid lids with burping work best. Those silicone lids are awful and cause mold and issues for most people.

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Rachel March 22, 2023 - 9:05 pm

After day 24-28 hours I did not notice any bubbles but I opened the jar to push down the weight. Did I mess it up? Am I only supposed to open the jar when it is bubbly? I also wanted to ask if it is okay if tiny pieces are floating at the surface? I used the weight to submerge all the ingredients that I could but I noticed a few tiny floaty pieces around 24 hour mark which is why I opened the jar to remove the small pieces. Did I mess up the process by opening the jar without it being bubbly? I hope these questions make sense.

Reply
Kaitlynn Fenley March 23, 2023 - 10:02 am

You didn’t mess it up. It’s perfectly fine to open up the jar and adjust the weight, even if it’s not bubbling yet. You’re doing great!

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Heather September 15, 2023 - 11:12 pm

I’m excited to taste this in a few weeks! I am concerned about be lack of space I have in the top of my jar compared to yours in the picture. Everything is submerged, but my jar is filled to the top with the weight. Do I need 1-2 inches of space at the top? Should I scoop some out to make space?

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Arlene September 4, 2023 - 1:56 pm

Hi
I just made one jar of this! Thank you for your specific instructions. I’ve made something similar last year and it wasn’t good, went bad and what I realize is that you weigh EVERYTHING and others just say ONE CABBAGE well, what does that mean !?!? How much weight? How many cups? UGH! So thank you! I want to make another jar but without beets which means I sub that for more cabbage but can I add fresh garlic and a spicy pepper, if so how much is safe?

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Kaitlynn Fenley September 7, 2023 - 12:36 pm

you can sub the weight of the beets for some garlic and spicy pepper!

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