Despite the trendy attention fermented foods are getting these days, human beings have been fermenting foods since the beginning of time. In fact, fermented foods have been a huge part of virtually every single culture on every single continent as far back as we are able to record.
It is only more recently that modern food preparation techniques such as pasteurization and heat treating has drastically reduced the amount of fermented foods we are getting in our daily diet. The immense and very important health benefits one gets from making and eating fermented foods cannot be stressed enough and is a topic to cover more in depth in another article.
Suffice to say that fermented foods are chock full of probiotics. When you consume fermented foods, you are populating your gut with probiotics which is probably one of the most important things you can do for yourself to maintain wellness. Approximately 70% of your immune system resides in your gut and one of the main things that keeps it strong is a healthy gut flora with a majority of good bacteria to bad bacteria ratio.
So, let’s get started!
- 3 – 4 medium whole raw organic beets (when fermenting, it is important to use organic produce, as pesticides and herbicides can kill the good bacteria that are required to start the fermentation process)
- 3 – 4 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
- 2 small red chilies, halved with the seeds left in (optional)
- 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
- Spring water or good filtered water (tap water will not work as the chlorine will kill any bacteria needed to start the fermentation process.)
- 1 tbsp (19g) Himalayan salt
- Mandolin slicer, Spiralizer or sharp knife
- Large wide-mouth mason jar or a glass jar with a lid
- Weight of some sort. Like a smooth cleaned river rock or ceramic weight
- Clean beets of any dirt with a little water. Don’t scrub them too well as you want to preserve some of the natural bacteria.
- Leaving their skin on, slice, spiralize or cut the beets into small cubes or julienne strips.
- Pack jar with beets, garlic cloves, chilies and thyme. Press down and make sure you have 1 – 2 inches of head space left.
- In a separate container make a 2% brine by combining 1 quart water and 1 tablespoon (19g) Himalayan salt. Stir and make sure it is completely dissolved.
- Pour brine over the beets, making sure you still have 1 – 2 inches of head space.
- Add weight to keep everything submerged. This step is VERY important as otherwise your ferment could turn moldy!
- Screw lid on and leave jar on kitchen counter for 4 weeks. After a couple of days, your beets will start to ferment and bubble. This will build up pressure in the jar, so don’t forget to burp the jar daily. After about a week the fermentation process should slow down and you can just leave it.
- Transfer to cold storage or fridge and eat whenever.
Once you have finished eating the beets, don’t throw away the brine. It is full of probiotics! You can hard boil some eggs, drop them in the brine and leave them to pickle for about a week or so before eating them. You can also just drink a shot of brine every night before bed to get a healthy dose of good bacteria!