In the last year or so, we have been experimenting with texture and how it affects the flavor of fermentation. We want to offer this recipe as an example of how this plays out with beets. Fermented beets are delicious and can be intense due to the high sugar content of the beetroot. Often beets are grated into krauts—mixed with cabbage to help cut the intense syrupy brine. Over the last few months I have been working with beets that I slice finely on a microplane slicer or mandolin. (It is important that they are paper thin as if the slices are to thick the beets will be tough—like eating raw beets.) The advantage of slicing the beets is a salad like consistency without the thick brine.
Sweet, Sour and Spicy Beet Salad
Yield: About a quart
Heat Index: 1
The heat level is entirely dependent on the fresh pepper that you use—for a higher heat use Fresnos, jalapeños or equivalent choice. You can use red beets for this recipe but they tend to takeover the color and the flavor of the ferment.
2 large golden beets, sliced thinly
¼ pound fresh red pimento peppers, chopped finely
2 tablespoons goldenberries. left whole
1 tablespoon dried cranberries, left whole
2 tablespoons candied ginger, sliced
1 lemon, juice and zest
1 teaspoon salt
Prepare the golden beets and peppers. Sprinkle in the salt the mixture should become moist right as soon as you start massaging. When you have a nice brine add the berries, ginger and lemon. Mix everything together. Press the mixture into your favorite fermentation vessel. Follow the instructions that come with that vessel. Otherwise choose a jar that is just the right size for your ferment. Press the mixture into the jar. When you have pressed the beet mixture into the jar, releasing any air pockets, press a Ziplock bag against the surface, fill the bag with water to weight, and close the bag.
Put this in a corner of the kitchen to cure. Watch for air pockets forming in the ferment. If you see air pockets remove the bag, or open the lid, and press the ferment back down. If the lid starts to bubble up, simply open the lid for a moment to “burp” the ferment.
Allow to ferment for 10 – 21 days. Usually you will know it is ready when you see the colors of the ferment mute, you also might see the cloudiness develop in the brine. There is a pleasing acidic smell to the ferment. It will taste pickl-y and may also have a bit of an effervescent zing. Allow to ferment longer for more sour and punch. When it is ready tighten the lids, then store in the fridge. This ferment will keep, refrigerated for 10 – 12 months.