How to Make Amazing Fermented Beets (The Result of an Accidental Ferment of Beet Kvass)
Have you ever just forgot about something that takes time, and suddenly realized that something should have been done two whole months ago? Well, that's what happened with my beets! I had prepared beet kvass, and it was happily bubbling away....and I forgot about it. Actually, I procrastinated. Then I forgot. But what a happy ending anyway! Here's what happened with those beets and the kvass.
Beet kvass is a healthy probiotic fermented raw drink that provides energy, electrolytes, and tons of nutrients and minerals. Typically, it's fermented for about a week, maybe two at the most. Some people only ferment it for a few days---I tend toward longer ferments. But this time? I went WAY overboard!
This kvass stayed on the counter, like always. Then as we were getting our home ready to be listed on the market, I moved it out of the way and promptly forgot about it. So...this stuff had been fermenting for about two months when I realized I had better check on it!
I was expecting a fermentation tragedy: You know. The kind where you just have to compost everything because it's moldy or yeasty or just plain "Ugh." But I was pleasantly surprised! (You can find out about mold on your ferment in this article: NOT a good thing!)
What I found was a layer of harmless Kahm yeast on the top, which I scraped off. Kahm yeast is often mistaken for white mold, but it's not fuzzy. It's definitely a yeast because there are patterns in the formation, and it's kind of got a yeasty smell. Mold is usually fuzzy and gross. If you have something growing on top of your ferment and are not sure, then play it safe and compost. I've experienced Kahm yeast before...so it was all good.
To make sure all was well, I of course smelled the liquid---smelled fine! Then I gave it a little taste test....Mmmmmm. Delicious! It was just a heavier beet kvass taste! So I scraped off the Kahm yeast, strained off the beet kvass, and refrigerated the drink (kvass) to enjoy later. But what about the beets?
Usually I'll reuse the beets for a second ferment, but I figured they'd been in that kvass so long, they wouldn't be good for that. If you know anything about raw beets, you know they are HARD and TOUGH. Surprisingly, because these beets had been soaking at the bottom of the fermenting beet kvass for so long, they were.....SOFT! And had a pickled taste!
Oh. My. Gosh! They were great! So, I ate a few, and I added a few to the roast I had in the crock pot for the heck of it, and I put the rest in a Mason jar to use later.
Based on my accidental experience, here is how to make fermented pickled beets----And if you'd rather know about how to make beet kvass, click here. And if you want an incredible recipe for Golden Beet Kvass with Turmeric, here you go!
Also, if you are interested in my two favorite fermentation books, and the ones that got me started on this journey, here they are: The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz, and Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. They are both wonderful additions to your library if you are interested in becoming healthy through the foods you eat!
Affiliate disclosure---There may be affiliate links scattered throughout this article, and if you happen to click through and make any kind of purchase, I may earn a very small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you very much for helping support Healing Harvest Homestead--It allows me to keep writing and sharing my experiments with you! Heidi
How to Make Fermented Pickled Beets
1) Make Your Beet Kvass Like Normal
Yep---I just made my normal beet kvass.
2) Let It Ferment EXTRA Long--Like a Couple of Months
That's what happened here! These beets sat in this jar for months before I got around to straining them.
If you happen to get a kind of white film on top that isn't mold, don't worry! It's probably Kahm yeast and is harmless. Sometimes it adds a kind of different taste, but generally it tastes good and is not harmful.
Strain off the liquid (kvass), and use it as a healthy daily drink if your nose says it's fine. If your smell test is telling you it's off, just can the whole experiment right here. Compost everything.
But...if you like the taste and smell of the kvass, continue on!
4) Bottle Your Fermented Beets
If your beets are completely fermented and ready, they should be soft and tasty.
Save enough of the kvass liquid so that when you store your beets, they are covered completely. They'll store like this for literally months in cold storage!
5) Enjoy Your Fermented Beets
You can use these fermented beets in salads, as a side dish, or as an appetizer. You can eat them along with eggs (one of my favorite ways of eating fermented veggies) and even add them to your cooking if the tastes line up!
Final Thoughts on Fermented Beets: A Pleasant Accident
This experience is the perfect example of why I love fermentation! Seriously. It's my most favorite way of preserving food. Here's why:
1) You get the extra nutritional value of the ferment.
2) The veggies always taste BETTER (in my opinion)
3) Fermented foods last a LONG time
4) Fermented foods are so versatile
5) Fermented foods are great for your gut and easy to digest!
Isn't it funny? People often think of fermentation as being this fancy process. In actuality, fermentation is the beginning of the decomposition of the vegetable (or whatever you're fermenting) matter. There is a fine line between spoilage---the decomposition of foods in a "bad" way; and health---the decomposition of foods in a "good" way.
Fermenting is really one way foods can break down in their journey back to earth. But if you do it right----What a gift from those good micro-organisms!
One thing I learned: Don't listen to folks when they tell you how long to leave something fermenting away on the counter. In my experience, the longer some vegetables ferment (like cabbage), the better they turn out. In this case, my rock-hard fresh beets became something beautiful and bold!
With all that said---be sure to use common sense. If you are not sure if your ferment is ok, I'd err on the side of caution and compost. I've been fermenting vegetables and things long enough that I have a good nose and intuition about whether or not something has turned. And I do not hesitate to compost if I'm unsure.
What do you think of fermenting your foods? I'd love to hear about your experiences or if you have any questions! Leave your questions, comments, thoughts---all in the comments! We'd love to hear from you!
Hugs & Self-Reliance,
P.S. I hope you'll sign up for our newsletter! You'll never miss a thing, and you'll get a couple of great free eBooks on using herbs and essential oils. I love my readers, and I thank those of you who are part of this community! --Heidi
Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor, and in no manner, stated or implied, is any statement I make in this article, elsewhere on my website, or in any publication, meant to cure, diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or health issue. I simply give me personal opinions based on study and experience and for informational purposes only. Please be sure to seek medical advice from a medical professional. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.