Ginger Carrots and Beets
This recipe is the creation of a Local Greens customer, Marie. The beetroot and carrots here are treated like cabbage is in sauerkraut and relies on fermentation. Fermenting is a bit like pickling, but uses natural wild bacteria to acidify and preserve, rather than added vinegar. Super interesting aromas and concentrated flavours develop as a result. It will easily bring so many dishes to the next level - and it’s full of probiotics which are really good for your health!
1. Clean a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid with hot water and soap and let dry. Peel the beets and carrots and cut them into a julienne (thin sticks). A mandoline or food processor with an attachment will make this easier. Peel the ginger and chop into tiny pieces. Chop the spring onion into thing rings, and garlic into small pieces.
2. Add everything to a big bowl and sprinkle with about 1 tbsp coarse sea salt or 1tsp fine sea salt per pound of vegetable, or more to taste. It should taste salty but still edible! Add the pepper and red pepper flakes to your taste. Let sit for 15-30 minutes. The veggies should start sweating a bit.
3. Using clean hands, strongly massage the veggies to get as much juice out as possible. It will take about 5-10 minutes.
4. Transfer the vegetables to the clean, dry jar. Pack them as tightly as you can and then top up with the juice so they’re just covered with liquid. Leave about an inch of space between the surface and the lid. It’s important all the space between veggies in the jar is filled with liquid (not air) so that fermentation can happen. This will create an anaerobic environment for lactobacillus to develop. Don’t worry if a couple of veggies are floating on top.
5. Leave the jar in a warm place, away from the sun (the top of your fridge could be a good spot). The contents should ferment for at least five days. In this first five-day period, open the jar once a day to let the CO2 created by fermentation escape. You can see this happening when little bubbles come up to surface. It’s a good sign that the healthy bacteria is hard at work. Always be sure to keep the vegetables submerged in the juices and press them down as needed.
6. After five days, you can taste the mixture with a clean fork (never double dip and always use a clean utensil. This ensures the good bacteria stays in and the bad bacteria stays out). It can be eaten at this point, or you can continue the fermentation for weeks (or months!) depending on the depth of flavor, fermentation and heat you would like. It will develop a more 'tangy' taste the longer you allow it to ferment. When you are happy with the taste, stop fermendation by tranferring the jar to the fridge.
Enjoy your fermented beets in sandwiches, salads or as a bbq side.