Summer has arrived and although it seems the weather has remained cooler and wetter this year in comparison to the recent past years, I know 90 degree Fahrenheit days are not far away. As I love cool weather root crops and greens, I am happy with this cooler weather. The cooler weather means the beets, carrots, cabbages, fennel, dill, cilantro, parsley, radishes, kale, broccoli, lettuces and more will produce a little longer. Can you tell I love root vegetables, lettuces, greens and other cool weather crops?
Fresh medium to large sized beets appeared at the Western Wake Farmer’s Market today. Small beets had been available for about a month and I use smaller beets for pickling and oven roasting and don’t forget to use the tender beet greens as a part of your meals as they are tasty and really healthy to eat. The larger beets I roast and also make fermented beets in various forms to use in the late fall and winter for eating raw or cooking in soups.
I pre-ordered 10 pounds of the larger beets earlier this week from In Good Heart Farm (https://ingoodheartfarm.com/) to pick up today at the market. I also ordered 10 pounds of Daikon radishes to make radish kimchi as the larger winter radishes are quickly moving past their prime and will most likely not be available after next week.
My family and I love fermented beets. We love them on salads, as a salad with shredded carrots, apples and thinly sliced cabbage tossed with a little poppy seed dressing, and our favorite way to use fermented beets is in Borscht. As I stock my pantry for the months ahead, fermented beets are one of the main items I make certain I have made and stored.
Beets are so easy to ferment! I have used the Sour Beet recipe from the book, Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz, since it came out in 2003 as well as his Borscht recipe. Although my grandmothers and great grandmother fermented other vegetables, this was the first time I had fermented beets. Now these fermented beets are a mainstay of my nutrition and eating as well as my grown children and their families.
In my Fermentation Workshops this time of year, I teach how to make fermented beets and other fermented vegetables and I give you ideas on how to use the preserved food you make in healthy and delicious recipes to eat all year long.
Check out my website: www.thegardenerskitchen.com for upcoming Fermentation, Water Bath Canning and Pressure Canning Workshops.
Here is Sandor Katz’s Fermented Beet Recipe with some minor changes I have made:
5 pounds grated beets
3 tablespoons sea salt (no preservatives)
1 tablespoon caraway seeds (optional)
Grate beets coarsely or finely based on personal preference.
In large bowl mix sea salt, caraway seeds and grated beets.
Begin to pack beet mixture into sterilized half-gallon jar or 2 qt jars or crock jar.
Continue packing jar (s) until tightly packed and beet juice covers the beets.
Place jar lid loosely on jar and place jar in dark cool dry location and check daily for fermentation. You may need to take a chopstick and push into the beets daily to help the gases escape so the fermentation does not overflow the jar/container.
Fermented beets become very thick and dark. The liquid can evaporate and cause the brine to reduce. If this occurs add brine made by adding 1-tablespoon sea salt to 1 cup of spring water (NO chlorinated water). Keep fermenting beets covered with brine.
Beets are usually fermented in 3 to 7 days. Taste daily to determine the degree of tartness you desire. When beets are fermented to your taste, you can store the jar of fermented beets in the refrigerator where the taste will continue to mellow. If a mold does develop on the top of the beets just remove it. If the beets smell rotten then do not eat them
Fermented beets can be stored in the refrigerator for months but they never seem to last that long as they are eaten quickly at my house. Fermented beets can be used raw in salads or to make borscht soup. Beyond yummy and so healthy for you too!
Makes ½ gallon jar.
Recipe adapted from Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz