We’re in the tail end of beet season at the farmers markets. And perhaps the dipping temperatures have you thinking about ways to prolong the harvest. Fermenting vegetables at home might seem like a daunting task, but the barriers to entry are lower than you might think.
Take beet kvass for example (above, left). It’s just a few veggies in a jar and allowing the natural yeasts do their thing. The result is an earthy, probiotic elixir that’s salty, vegetal, and kind of funky. It might also mix well with vodka and a splash of club soda. Just saying.
This recipe comes straight from GYST Fermentation Bar, where they know a thing or two about the magic of yeast. It was created by Jim Bovino, whose Keepsake Cidery in Dundas is churning out spectacular juice.
3 medium beets (about 1/2 to 3/4 pound)
3 ounces cabbage
hunk of day old bread (no mold)
25 grams salt
3 quarts water
Method: Chop the cabbage and slice the beets into rounds. Add the vegetables and bread to a 1 gallon jar. Heat the water and salt together until the salt dissolves. Pour the salt water into the jar, making sure the vegetables and bread stay fully submerged in the brine. (If needed, fill a ziplock bag with water and weigh down the veggies to ensure an anaerobic environment). Ideally, seal the jug with an air-lock stopper. Otherwise, try to release any built-up pressure every now and again. Store in a cool dark place, preferably between 55-65 degrees Fahrenheit, for three to five days. Strain off the liquid and refrigerate.
Modify: You can play around with different sugar sources other than the bread. Bovino has substituted dried persimmon and apple to wonderful results.