Back in November of last year I posted a fermented beet and apple “kraut” with instructions on how to make fermented veggies. Since then the students in my gardening classes have been experimenting with various combinations and we have created the BEST VEGGIE KRAUT recipe (we think so, at least!)
No matter how much we make we sell out every week, it is so delicious. The children LOVE it and beg their parents to buy it! How is that for a happy twist on getting kids to eat vegetables and starting them out on healthy eating habits for a lifetime 🙂
We make huge batches at a time because the children do all the chopping but to make just a few jars divide the recipe by a quarter. It is beautiful, nutritious, and so healthy for your gut. It is really great in salads, though most of us have been eating it straight out of the jar. Last week, one of the students was complaining that his mom ate the entire jar before they even got home from school, so there was none left for him. Several children come with their allowance money on Produce Sale days just to buy a jar for themselves. Love it!
We don’t add lots of salt or spices since most of the children don’t like that version and our secret ingredient that takes it over the top is apples. So I am sharing our special recipe and hope you try it and love it as much as we do 🙂
VEGGIE KRAUT RECIPE:
(this will make about a dozen pint jars so just cut amounts in half or quarter for smaller batches; also feel free to vary the amounts or add a few other veggies, but do try this version first!)
2 heads organic green cabbage
1 head organic red cabbage
2 lbs. organic carrots (wash well but do not peel)
4 or 5 medium to large organic beets
1 large daikon radish root (about 10 – 12 inches long)
2 inch piece of ginger (or more or less, depending on your taste)
3 organic granny smith apples (could use other firm variety but these grate well)
optional: 1 organic red bell pepper
2 – 3 TBSP sea salt or Himalayan pink salt
1 dozen clean pint jars with lids
Wash the vegetables well and peel the beets and daikon radish.
Do NOT peel the apple or carrots.
Grate all the vegetables except the cabbage, bell pepper (if using) and ginger on the large side of a box grater. You can use a food processor with the grater attachment but grating them by hand is best.
Wash the cabbages and remove any funky outside leaves, then cut in half and remove the cores.
Chop the cabbage into very thin slivers like you are making coleslaw. This is where having children helpers is very “handy” (pun intended)!
Julienne the bell pepper.
Cut the skin off the ginger and dice into tiny pieces.
Put all the vegetables and ginger into a very large bowl, sprinkle the salt over the vegetables and mix well with your hands for a few minutes until the juices start to release.
Pack each jar as tightly as possible with the veggie kraut. I use a wooden spoon to push them down. Leave about ½ inch of headspace at the top of the jar.
I put the jars in a clean plastic dish pan to keep the spills from making a mess on your counter. Screw the lids on loosely, not super tight!
Leave the jars alone for about 24 hours, then open each jar, push the vegetables down under the juices, which should be starting to get foamy as they ferment. Make sure ALL the vegetables are under liquid; if there is not quite enough to cover them add a bit of slightly salted water (brine) to the top to cover the vegetables. THIS STEP IS CRITICAL to the success of your veggie kraut, so do not get lazy and skip it. Every day you will check the jars, push down the veggies and make sure they are completely covered with liquid. They usually overflow a bit which is why you want to put them in a dishpan.
The only thing that will ruin your veggie kraut is not having the vegetables completely covered in liquid. Check them everyday and by the third day they should begin to taste a bit fermented/sour*. This is a good thing. You can leave them out for up to a week or so, checking them everyday to cover with liquid by pushing them down with a wooden spoon and adding a bit of brine water if needed. Once you like the flavor, tighten the lids and put them in your fridge. They are now ready to eat. Veggie kraut will keep in the fridge for months, though most of us scarf it up very quickly. If they get a bit brownish/gray on top do not worry, just stir them up, they are fine.
Veggie kraut is great on salads, abundance bowls, with cooked grains and vegetables or, my favorite way to eat it, straight out of the jar!
* The bacteria that is growing is lactobacillus, which is the same bacteria that is in yogurt culture. SO GOOD AND SO GOOD FOR YOU!