Monday, September 9, 2013


So I have been wanting to ferment some beets since I tried the dragon/buddha/macro bowl at Aux Vivres. Those bowls are like a party of happy doing the macarena on your taste buds.

beets. why u so mysterious?
So I decided it was time to get to business, seeing God had it in his plan that I should date a Missouri farm boy. So I got me some beets pulled out of the ground yesterday (I will never, ever stop talking about this, because those of you who know me KNOW I kill everything I plant and seeing something pulled out of the ground to eat is a spiritual experience EVERY TIME) and they are impatiently waiting to be made into pro-biotic versions of Los del Mar.

BUT when I've looked up recipes, there's SO much conflicting info!

Some recipes call for FULLY cooked beets, some call for 5 minute shock-boiling, then slicing and peeling, some call to leave the peel on because there are living organisms ON THEM (mortified squeak), but I'm like "Y'all, I just wanted to ferment some beets! Why does this have to be so difficult?"

So ladies, I need help...what's the deal? How do I ferment these beet babies? Do I cook them? Should I leave on the peel? What will be most nutritious? Do I use whey? Isn't whey...not a whole food? Do I omit whey and use more salt instead?

I would like to have them shredded so I can make gorgeous salads with them!


  1. I don't know how to ferment, just to can them, if you want?

  2. I would use raw and peeled, for sure. Though yes of course there are microorganisms on the skin, and they can be great to add. Honey you need to remember that the Coptic sterile worldview is an illusion; everything is literally crawling with microorganisms, and the goal isn't to kill them, but to be very hospitable to the good ones to make them big and strong so when the bad ones come to compete the good ones will kick their ass.

    Anywho... "whey" in fermentation recipes is not denatured protein powder. It means real whey; eg the liquid that separates from kefir, or that collects when yogurt is strained. Either is fine as long as it's live.

    Anywho so peel (or not) and then grate or thinly slice them (do you have a food processor yet?), then add about 1 tsp of salt per cup, or maybe 1/2 tsp ish, then toss that and let it sit an hour or two to get the liquids flowing. Then pack it tight in a crock or jar, add the whey, then add only as much water as you absolutely need. Ideally you should be using something like a bowl in which a small plate also fits; you need to weigh down the food so it all remains below the liquid. (You can get a fairly cheap crock here - I have been meaning to order one for the Burlington store to pick up next time we go! I learned about it from this blog - ...,%20missouri|50) And then you let the stuff do its work! Whey is really not universally recommended in making krauts (any fermented vegetable food is a kraut if it uses salt to draw out water and fend of harmful pathogens).

  3. Thanks Amy, this was super helpful! But the crock...doesn't have a lid? I've never seen that before. What do I use for a lid? Matt found me a brand new Salad Shooter that was lying around in his house. The midwest is all about slaw and his mom was shocked that I'd never owned one. It's satisfying my shredding needs for the moment.

    "then add about 1 tsp of salt per cup, or maybe 1/2 tsp ish, then toss that and let it sit an hour or two to get the liquids flowing"--> I add water, right? How much water do I add to the jar?

    Also: can I strain store-bought yogurt and use the whey from that? Or do you suggest I not use whey in the end?

    1. Huh yeah weird that it has no lid. I assumed it had one. Look for a small plate that you can use instead.

      No, don't add water at the initial salting stage. Beets have a ton of liquid, the salt will draw it out naturally.

      If you want to use whey you can indeed use whey from commercial yogurt, as long as it's live.

  4. And yes! There's an ace literally 2 blocks away from me. I'll get you one when I come back in Dec, if you can wait that long!