It's CSA season, and that means more vegetables every week than can reasonably be consumed. Last week (and don't ask me how we're getting root vegetables in July), it was beets. The solution? Lacto-fermentation!
It's pretty straightforward, and the results taste like tart, savory, spreadable borscht.
1.) Finely grate two beets.
2.) In a small, wide mouthed jar (I used a jam jar), alternate layers of roughly 3 loose tablespoons of beets, a dash of salt, and whatever seasonings you like. I used scallions, chopped garlic, and dill seeds. You might want to try caraway, bits of onion, or juniper berries.
3.) If you want to give the fermentation a head start, drop in a piece of kimchi or another fermented vegetable containing live cultures. Use a clean utensil to mash the ingredients together a bit.
4.) Set the lid loosely on top of the jar, and leave the jar out for about two days. Press down the beets every day with a clean fork to ensure the solid material is below the brine.
5.) After two days, give it a sniff and a taste. If you'd like it to be more tart, leave it out for a few more days. If you like it as it is, stick it in the fridge.
6.) Serve as a vivid red garnish on sandwiches and soups, as a topping for crackers, or blend with silken tofu or Better Than Cream Cheese for a creamy spread.