If I had to give up my daily latte or cup of fermented beet juice, guess which I’d let go of? OK — neither.
Still, my addictions aside, fermented beet juice is immensely healthier! (On the note of beets, check out the original post here.)
Actually, in researching for this article I was overwhelmed by the amount of benefits offered by fermented foods in general. The one fact that struck me most is that fermented foods help produce acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter! — the ‘thing’ that carries information across our brains), effectively assisting in balancing out our digestive juice levels.
And the domino effect of introducing friendly bacteria into our gut quickly affects so many areas of our health, from alleviating all sorts of upset stomach issues to boosting our resilience against sicknesses by strengthening our immune system.
Besides acting as detoxifiers of unwanted-nasty-cancer-causing-stuff in our bodies, since fermented foods are in essence pre digested (and so easier on the pancreas — the sugar stabilizing organ), they are unquestionably beneficial for people with diabetes, as well as are an awesomely delicious alternative for those among us who are lactose intolerant.
This is quickly becoming an encyclopedic loadful of information, and honestly merely the tip of the iceberg.
Still, keeping at least some of it in mind, let me turn to mentioning how to actually make fermented beet juice, and next how to use it to make borscht.
Being of Polish descent, I have been irreversibly indoctrinated with the idea of borscht being a prerequisite to any authentic Christmas dinner. This year was no exception, and, as per tradition, accompanying the crimson soup was another 11 dishes (to make up the mandatory 12)… overkill? Yes! But otherwise, so goes the unwritten custom, no presents…
I discovered the recipe I’ll be sharing with you here inside of a Polish cookbook (like extremo Slavic — written by a nun… with the first recipe inside guaranteeing a heart attack: pâté de foie gras-topped schnitzel… ?!), which was given to me by my grandmother last holiday season.
Borscht can be prepared to be eaten either hot or cold, both forms however require cooking (aka pasteurizing), which deprives the fermented juice of its amazing nutritional benefits.
While most recipes call for a piece of rye bread as the fermentation catalyst, my little homey-home is, all year round, too warm, causing the concoction to ferment so quickly that it molds — meaning that y’all have to do some experimentation yourselves to figure out what kind of starter does the trick without turning your beets’ fermentational magic into a bowl of fungus.
The container for your little beets’ metamorphosis can be anything from a generic jar to a lushly decorated antique clay pot… so there’s options.
Once the transformation takes place, and, after straining the beets, you are left with a deep, ruby wonder-syrup, you can go ahead and use it as a base for your borscht. By all means, this raw substance can be consumed as is — realistically any modification to it at this point will be depriving rather than enriching it.
Nonetheless, borscht is our post’s destination, so to keep on track we can feel free to add chicken or vegetable stock to our fermented beet juice miracle. Finally, to reduce waste, try using up (at least some of) the strained beets inside a delicious salad!
While the recipe below is quick, straightforward, and awesome, there is a longer-established and labour-intensive recipe that I’ll be sharing soon — so stay tuned!
- 2¼ lb (1 kg) red beets
- 2 liters warm water
- 2 pieces rye bread
- 3-4 cloves garlic
- 2 bay leaves
- 3-4 grains allspice
- Wash and cut beets into slices.
- Place beets inside jar or clay pot; add rest of ingredients and pour over with water.
- Submerge rye bread.
- Cover with cheese cloth or tea towel.
- Let sit in warm room for 4-5 days.
- Strain. Drink as is. To make borscht, add chicken or vegetable stock. Season to taste. Don’t be afraid of being liberal with spices!