The Mason Jar Chronicles here at Nibs and Bits will, yes, chronicle my/my family’s adventures in fermentation, water-bath canning, and pretty much anything and everything that can be crammed into a mason jar – that can and will includes cold brew coffee(s) and various fruit-y and non fruit-y beverages. Follow along for the triumphs and the let-downs!
Wonderfully and surprisingly we’ve had an abundance of red beets in the garden this year – and since I can only eat so many roasted beets, I thought it might be fun/interesting to try a small batch of beet sauerruben (sauerruben, fermented, is typically made with turnips) in a 1/2 gallon jar with an airlock on. In case you’re wondering what-the-heck an airlock even looks like, click HERE for a general idea. Fermentation airlocks, on a whole, are a pretty economical option if you want to break into the fermentation game. The airlocks are fairly inexpensive (usually under a buck or two), as are the mason jars and plastic lids – and, if you can retrofit the airlock into the plastic lid (with a plastic gromit) for the mason jar you’ll save a bit, too. The pre-made airlock kits will run you around $15-20. Retrofitting will be closer to $5. But enough numbers!
The sauerruben I made is pretty straight forward: peeled and grated beets with Redmond’s Real Salt and caraway seeds crammed into a 1/2 gallon mason jar and then squished down and worked around until the salt has pulled enough liquid to cover the beets. I then put the jar into a small bowl (to grab drainage from the airlock) and tucked it away in a dark cupboard until it tasted sour enough to be yummy (around a week and a half). I transferred the sauerruben into pint jars and refrigerated. I’ve been enjoying it on rice bowls and sandwiches – the recipe I followed also recommended it to be used in a borscht. But I’m far too lazy for that.
So, without further ado, here are some images:
<no images of the actual fermentation process or the jar with airlock – my bad – next time!>
The result is a sticky-ish, faintly caraway noted, beet relish of sorts. It has a slight sauerkraut bite – but it’s quite mild overall. As hard as I tried to get ALL the grit off of the beets before grating, there is a gritty surprise (I like to pretend it’s the salt – Redmond’s salt has a bit of “natural minerals”) every now and then – but not enough to be repugnant, just earthy.
The beet sauerruben is a hair heavy for summer cooking (I find beets generally are), but perfect for winter and autumn fare – even though I’m enjoying it now. I’d definitely make it again – possibly tweak the spicing notes, but it’s a great little component to have hanging around in the refrigerator.
I used the sauerruben recipe from this book – and really, if you’re into trying fermentation I’d definitely get yourself a copy – it’s kinda the bible: