These days my life seems to revolve around finding various items at the farmer’s market, sticking them in a brine, and watching to see what happens.
You know, when it’s not revolving around sleeping, or finding highly-educational and physically-beneficial activities for my summered children to do all day, or feeding painfully-nourishing foods to those worn-out children, or eating bon-bons.
Because what could be more fun than fermenting random things? And sharing those things on Fridays?
So a mini-series it will be. Ferment Fridays. Not likely to happen every Friday, but you know, when it happens.
What’s with fermentation, anyway? Well, it was the original method of pickling — vegetables were dry-salted or brined, and therefore preserved for longer storage (through winter, in some cases). Meanwhile, as often happens, that preservation made vitamins and minerals more readily available, and increased the levels of lactic acid bacteria (bugs that are good for your gut). While the process doesn’t leave the veggies with the same intense punch of a vinegar (or “fresh”) pickle, they are still sour, sometimes quite pungent.
It took me a while to transition from a taste for fresh pickles to fermented pickles. But I’m there now, and loving it.
Today’s feature: fermented beets.
This is my second attempt at fermenting beets (not to be confused with pickling beets) — the first involved shredding the roots, making a relish. But these slices are crunchier, with the ultra-clean flavors of orange and ginger (see recipe note). I love these on salads, with eggs, or eating straight from the jar.
Only slightly more labor-intensive than other pickles because you shock them in boiling water first. But totally worth that extra five minutes.
Because, really. What’s five minutes in a world where ferments are happening?