Originally cabbage was always sliced and not shredded. Cabbage head was usually halved or quartered and the knife did the rest. When larger quantities of cabbage were processed a wooden mandoline slicer was used. Mandoline Slicer
You could fit the whole cabbage into the movable box and the diagonal knives were about 8 inches long. Such a device would not shred cabbage, it will slice it from left to right into long strips like spaghetti. This is how cabbage was sliced for centuries. As we invented plastics and cheaper ways of processing, a lot of clever devices like rotary drums appeared on the market. They looked cute and were cheap, but were too small to slice the cabbage. Cabbage was shredded, almost diced into little pieces. You could not pick up with tongs just a piece of original sauerkraut, it was like a spaghetti clinching together. Modern shredded sauerkraut can be picked up with a spoon.
I am looking forward to fermenting beets. They are supposed to be so healthy for you. They must have gobs of antioxidants with all that red color. In addition, they are so sugary. I'm sure the fermentation will use up some of the sugar.
On the other note, I slice my sauerkraut into long big chunks. They are more like the size of a matchbook or two than the tiny shreds one often sees with commercial sauerkraut. I think they get the fermented goodness, but it still tastes like the original vegetable.
I am now responding to my own post. I love fermenting beets. They retain their crunchiness, but not too much for a long period of time. I have read that they are great for lowering cholesterol, although I have no double blind controlled laboratory studies sponsored by Beets corporation, telling you to buy a $50 beet tablet every day. They are quite sugary, so the fermentation decreases the sugar, which it would seem would improve their glycemic load, and they still have those bright red antioxidants-anthocyanins, I believe. Tastes great-less filling.
My only sense about this is that the leaves will ferment much more quickly than the beets. Beets will stay crunchy for a long time, but leaves like that will only be good in the summer for like a week, then they start to turn slimy and combine into the sauerkraut "soup". Timing is the issue. I like making a quick 3 day ferment out of leaves in the summer, but it's only leaves, not even cabbage.
They gave me pumpkin ice cream. It was not pumpkin pie ice cream. Wiping my tongue on this tiny ad:
Heat your home with the twigs that naturally fall of the trees in your yard