Other than the the colors and the timing, there's really nothing Christmas-y about the sauerkraut I make this time every year. The colors merge and it's ready more like Thanksgiving time - but "Thanksgiving 'Kraut" just doesn't have the same ring.
I've been making this version for a few years now. I'm not sure if that qualifies it as a 'tradition' even in my own house, but it's a nice, seasonal twist. An added bonus is that it looks pretty and smells like apples, so it's an easier sell to little ones and others who aren't used to cultured foods.
There is no real 'recipe', and it changes from year to year. The basic directions are from Sandor Katz' book 'Wild Fermentation'. These are the approximate ingredients I used this year:
two small cabbages - one red, one green, shredded
one apple, diced
cranberries, coarsely chopped
I combined the cabbage, apple and cranberries in a large bowl, sprinkled about a tablespoon of salt per pound, and mixed it thoroughly.
I used a big wooden spoon to pound it to about two thirds it's original volume to release some of the juice. I let it sit a few hours, then packed it into a large jar a little at a time, packing it down more with each addition. There wasn't quite enough liquid to cover the cabbage, so I added a bit more salted water. (about one tablespoon per cup of filtered water, according to Katz) I covered it and set it aside, checking it every day or so to see how it was coming along, or if it needed more water.
It takes quite a bit longer to ferment this time of year, since the house is cold, but after a week, It looked like this:
We tried some Thanksgiving. I got around to making it a bit later than usual, so the flavors haven't had much time to blend, but it will improve over time. Just in time for Christmas.