Pickled beets are one of our family's favorite ferments. Nutrient-dense beets provide a sturdy structure that keeps it's crunch throughout the fermenting process and even storage over the winter. This is an ideal way to preserve the spring or fall crop straight from your garden or purchased at your farmer's market. Your gut will thank you for the hearty dose of probiotics it receives from these pickled beets.
3-4 medium beets, peeled
1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
2 cups brine*
1/4 cup whey
Quarter and slice the beets. Pack beets and garlic into a wide mouth quart sized jar. Add whey and brine, leaving an inch of headspace. Add a fermenting weight or regular-mouth lid to keep the ingredients below the brine. Let the beets sit at room temperature for 5-7 days to ferment. Store in the refrigerator.
Keep in mind the fact that beets have a fairly high sugar content. If grated or sliced too thin, sugars can be released quickly and there is a risk for a ferment gone awry. For this reason, I pickle my beets sliced about a quarter inch thick. Once the fermenting process is complete, I may desire to chop the pickled beets smaller based on how I am serving them.
An excellent way to serve this recipe is to dice the beets after they've been fermented and add raw, grassfed sour cream and fresh herbs. This makes a delightful salad on its own, or an excellent accompaniment to poultry or seafood. Leftover juice has many medicinal qualities and can be added to salad dressings or reserved to replace whey in your next ferment. To read more about fermented foods and their benefit to the body, please read this article.
*Prepare the brine by putting 3 tablespoons of unrefined salt in a quart sized mason jar. Fill the rest of the way with clean, filtered water. Tightly secure a lid and shake vigorously until salt is thoroughly mixed with the water.