|nutritional information (per serving)|
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|Servings: 8 to 10|
|amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Saturated Fat 0g||0%|
|dietary fiber 1g||5%|
|total sugar 5g|
|Vitamin C 3 mg||16%|
|Calcium 17 mg||1 %|
|Iron 1 mg||4%|
|Potassium 215 mg||5%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) indicates how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories per day is used for general nutritional advice.|
(Nutritional information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)
Long before home canning, fermentation was how people preserved food. From fermentation, we get delicious, spicy foods like sauerkraut and kimchee, fancy, sometimes smelly foods like cheese, yogurt, and sourdough, and beverages like kombucha, wine, and beer. Chances are, some of your favorite foods and drinks are fermented.
Fermenting at home is an easy, economical, and rewarding way to preserve vegetables. These fermented beets taste pleasantly tart and earthy and the process couldn't be simpler. All you need is a large mason jar, beets, some salt, filtered water, and any flavorings you like. This version features a simple combination of peppercorns, garlic, and thyme, but you can use any complementary combination of whole spices and herbs.
Some equipment — airlock lids, weights, specialty jars — will facilitate fermentation, but for a jar or two of fermented veggies, you can get by with what you have on hand. In order to ferment successfully, you must maintain an anaerobic environment, or an environment without oxygen, which means you must completely submerge the food in the brine or liquid. You'll need something to weigh down the beets and keep them submerged in the brine, as well as a lid that will allow air to escape from the jar but not get in. You can improvise with a small plastic bag filled with a little extra brine for weight. For a makeshift lid, secure a piece of cloth over the jar with a rubber band, or loosely screw the lid on and remove periodically.
Fermenting beets takes about a week. The brine appears cloudy as the fermentation progresses and becomes clear after about a week. Once the brine is clear, place a lid on the jar. Fermented beets are best stored between 32 and 50 F for 1 to 2 months. The fridge is ideal.
“The spicy and salty fermented beets are delicious and worth waiting a week for. You can sterilize the jars, tools, lids and utensils with your dishwasher. Be sure to store the fermented beets in the fridge and that the beets will always keep fully submerged in their brine. -Diana Andrews
1 1/2 Pound beetsabout 2 big
2 to 3 cups room temperature filtered waternot chlorinated
2 tablespoon kosher salt or sea salt (not iodised)
3 to 4 teaspoon dry thyme
1 to 2 Garlic cloves
Gather the ingredients. Make sure your hands, glasses, tools and work surface are clean. Learn how to sterilize your jars here.
Scrub the beets, then trim off the tops and root ends. If necessary, you can peel them. Cut the beets into 1/2-inch cubes or chunks, or slice into 1/4-inch thick slices.
Combine the water and salt in a large measuring cup. stir to dissolve.
Place the beets, thyme, garlic, and peppercorns in a wide-necked quart-size mason jar or two (1-pint) jars, leaving at least 1 to 1.5 inches of clearance to accommodate the weight take into account.
Add enough salted water to completely cover the beets. Add a proofing weight or other weight. Put a lid on the jar. If you don't have an airseal lid, attach a piece of cheesecloth to the jar with a rubber band. Alternatively, loosely screw on the cap and periodically unscrew to allow any air to escape.
Place the jar on a baking sheet, shallow dish, or cake plate to catch any spills or juice that may spill over. Put the jar in a cool, dark place. During fermentation, the brine may appear cloudy – after about a week or when fermentation is complete, it will become clear.
Store fermented beets refrigerated and with a tight-fitting lid for 1 to 2 months. Make sure the beets remain fully submerged in the brine as they chill.
Fermented vegetables can be safer than raw vegetables because the acidic environment destroys harmful bacteria. Make sure the beets are fermenting in a cool, dark environment. Once the beets are fermented, put them in the fridge. Here are some more tips to keep your fermented foods safe.
- Keeping the food submerged in the brine is important for safe and successful fermentation.
- Wash the vegetables, your hands, work surfaces, containers and tools.
- Vegetables should be optimally fresh.
- Once the veggies are fermented, handle them gently. Use clean hands and utensils and avoid cross-contamination with other ingredients such as raw meat or fish.
Special fermenting lids that release air and pressure but keep the air out, and glass fermenting weights are ideal, especially if you intend to ferment frequently. However, there are also some DIY alternatives that you could try.
- A small, resealable plastic bag filled with extra saline solution.
- Ceramic cake weights in a small plastic bag.
- Small condiment containers, mini jelly jars, or ramekins that fit in the top of the jar.
- Use a plastic mason jar lid. Unscrew loosely and remove daily to “burp” the food and release excess air.
- Cheesecloth secured with a rubber band can work, but might attract fruit flies.
One of the fun things about fermenting beets at home is the customization of flavor. Here are a few ideas for flavors and combinations:
- Add 1 stick of cinnamon and 2 to 3 whole cloves.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds, 2 teaspoons grated ginger, and 2 teaspoons grated orange zest.
- Put a bay leaf in the glass.
- Add a few sprigs of dill and 1 to 2 small cloves of garlic.
- Add 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds and 5 or 6 black peppercorns.
- For a more pronounced pickled flavor, add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to the jar.
- Cut a small pepper in half lengthwise, remove the seeds and add to the jar with the beets. Leave the seeds in for more heat.
Place a thinly sliced carrot or shallot in the jar with the beets.
What is the difference between pickling and fermenting?
Fermenting and pickling are food preservation techniques. Some pickles are fermented and some fermented foods are pickled.
Pickled foods are typically immersed in an acidic solution and then heated to kill microorganisms.
Fermentation creates an acidic environment with the breakdown of starches and sugars and relies on time rather than heat.