I’m just getting into fermentation, but I’m already a big fan. I’d never much liked pickles until I tasted a proper full sour, and realised that it was pickles treated with vinegar that I didn’t like so much. The flavours are better, and because they’re rich in probiotics, they’re a lot healthier. I’ve just finished reading Wild Fermentation, which has a lot of great ideas (including the recipe on which I based yesterday’s beets), and I’m looking forward to additional inspiration from The Art of Fermentation. It takes a bit of practice to make sure that the taste and texture are all there, but it’s surprisingly easy, and something that humans have been doing for ages. It’s nice to produce something that is healthy, tasty, and deeply rooted in human history and cultural tradition.
Last night, in an effort to step up my food preparation a bit more, I got some fermented beets started. These were leftovers from a farmers’ market purchase – I’d actually used some already and forgotten about it, and so once I got them chopped up and peeled, they made less than I thought they would. I’m hoping to buy some more this week, though, and get another batch started (this time with some extra spices).
The recipe – such as it is – is pretty simple: a bunch of peeled and sliced beets (I had a pound and half) and some salt (I used just over a tablespoon of uniodized sea salt). As I sliced the beets I put them in a bowl and layered them with the salt to draw out some of their liquid and help make a brine. When I was done, they went into a clean glass jar. They didn’t produce a lot of their own brine, so I topped them off with another tablespoon of salt mixed into a cup of water. I put another canning jar on top as a weight, and now all I need to do is wait for them to ferment. I can’t wait to taste them, and to see how things turn out.