I LOVE apples and beets, so when I saw this recipe, I just had to give it a try, especially because it is fermented – lacto-fermented and cultured foods are the best probiotics for healing the gut and strengthening the immune system.
Apples and beets are loaded with nutrients and color, and their flavors combine well. Apples are rich in polyphenols like quercetin, especially in the peel. Polyphenols are a category of anti-oxidants that protect your body from inflammation and other problems. Apples also have anti-cancer benefits and help with decreased risk of asthma issues.
Beets contain a precursor to glutathione, the prime detox agent in the liver that works to rid the body of toxins that can cause many serious health problems, including colon cancer.
Both apples and beets play an important role in blood sugar regulation and insulin sensitivity, and may help stave off Type-2 Diabetes.
Apple and Beetroot Relish (Lacto-Fermented)
Fermented fruits and veggies are the best probiotic you can consume, and are essential for healing a leaky gut and strengthening your immune system. Experts recommend eating a tiny amount of a fermented fruit/veggie with each meal or at least once a day. Fermenting fruits and veggies is also a great method for preserving them.
I’ve adapted this recipe from one on Nourished Kitchen website (1). I like to use a mix of apple varieties in recipes, so my first full batch will have one each: Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, and Granny Smith. And if I can get them, I’ll use at least one orange beet in addition to red beets. For my test batch, I used one Granny Smith apple and one red beet, for a ⅓ recipe; it made about 2 cups of the finished relish (see ‘Testing’ below the recipe). Normally fermented foods last at least a year if kept in cold storage, but after a couple months, my test batch started bubbling, probably producing alcohol. To avoid that in the future, the beets should be sliced or diced rather than shredded. My preference is to slice, as for pickled beets, and I would also slice the apples for consistent texture. I’ve updated the recipe accordingly. However, if the batch will be used up within a month, shredding should be OK.
The original recipe uses a vegetable fermenter, but I don’t even know what that is; I just use a wide-mouth mason jar, with lid.
I’d like to test adding some grated ginger, but for my first test I used powdered ginger.
Ingredients & Equipment
- about 3 large large apples, (1 ½ pounds, cored but not peeled)
- about 3 large raw beets, (1 ½ pounds, peeled)
- ¼ teaspoon powdered cloves and a pinch of ginger and/or cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp unrefined sea salt
- about ½ tsp liquid from another fruit or veggie ferment (I use from pickled beets or beet kvass, if I have some on-hand); alternately use fermented vegetable starter culture (powdered) such as Body Ecology brand
- food processor (optional)
- Mason jar with lid (a full recipe will likely require a half-gallon size jar)
- small potato masher or mallet (for pounding the fruit-veggie mix)
- blender (or food processor)
Image, right, from ebay (3), cropped for use here.
- Wash but do not peel apples; wash and peel beets.
- If the relish will be used up within a month, shred the apples and beets (by hand, with a Mouli Shredder as in image, right or in a food processor. Otherwise, slice them as for pickled beets, or cut them into half-inch dice.
- Toss them together until they are well combined.
- Add the cloves and optional spices to the mix; and toss until spices are evenly distributed throughout the mix.
- Layer in jar: Add a portion of the mix to the jar or fermenter, then sprinkle with the unrefined sea salt or starter culture, or a few drops of fermentation liquid. Then press with a wooden spoon, small potato masher, or mallet to encourage the apple/beet mix to release their juices and create a nice brine that will encourage growth of the beneficial lacto-fermenting bacteria.
- Repeat pressing after each layer is added.
- Do not pour off the liquid; it should rise above the top of the apple/beet mix to protect from spoiling. If it doesn’t rise to cover the mix within few hours, add a bit of filtered water, ¼ tsp at a time until it is just covered, then mash again. If you have a weight that will fit inside the jar, place that on top to keep the mix submerged.
- Ferment in the mason jar (with lid) or vegetable fermenter for a minimum of 3 – 5 days, or longer, depending on the level of warmth in your kitchen.
- Optional: When ready, transfer mix to a blender or food processor and process until smooth. I prefer not to do this because it could generate alcohol rather than lactic acid, and because I like the shaved texture test.
- Store in cold storage (refrigerator or root cellar).
2/18/17: Made ⅓ recipe using 1 large beet and 1 large Granny Smith apple, shredded with my Mouli-shredder, and a scant ⅛ tsp cloves plus tiny pinches of powdered ginger and cinnamon. Added total of 1 tsp unrefined sea salt and 3 droppers-full (about 2 ml) of liquid from lacto-fermented beets, divided between layers in a quart mason jar. They juiced nicely but not enough to cover the mixture, so added 2 droppers-full of filtered water. Screwed on cover and set to ferment on counter, at noon 2/16. Tasted at 6 PM on 2/19: nicely sweet and spicy, not too salty. But no taste of the fermentation yet, so will let it sit on counter for at least one more day. Tested 6 PM on 2/20: starting to have taste of fermentation; perhaps will be ready tomorrow morning. Tested 7 PM on 2/21 part-way through 5th day; so good, slightly sweet, slightly tangy, with hint of clove. I’ll leave it on counter one more day. 2/23, Result: I’ve been having a small serving each night with dinner for the last couple nights; so good. Last night I put the jar in the fridge. 3 weeks later, it had fermented even more, and was even more delicious! April update: The mix is producing a lot of bubbles, probably alcohol. I’ll watch it for a couple weeks. 5/4/17 update: it has stopped making bubbles but there is a white ‘dust’ over the top. It seems OK underneath that dust, but I decided to add it to my compost. In future, I will dice or slice rather than shred the beets and apples, to minimize the production of alcohol.
- Nourished Kitchen recipe: nourishedkitchen.com/beetroot-relish
- Nourished Kitchen: Fermented Foods for Gut Health
- ebay image (NOTE: I cropped original for use in this posting): ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-1949-MOULI-JULIENNE-ROTARY-GRATER-SLICER-SHREDDER-4-BLADES-IN-BOX-FRANCE-/252771251157