Ludwig Van Beets

Posted by Bill Hettig on 31st May 2015

Ludwig Van Beets

The Old World Dutch were among the earliest to bring back spices from Asia. You can sense the cook’s pinches and dabs of rare spices evolved into a traditional Dutch blend known as Speculaas, which marries well to the sweetness of beets. I fashioned this warm, sweet blend—used mainly in their Christmas cookies—to make beets glow any time of year. You will need to prepare Speculaas before you can create Ludwig Van Beets .

For the curious, Ludwig Van Beethoven translates as Ludwig of the Beet Garden

Prep Time: 45 mins Jar Size: 2 quarts

Speculaas Spice Recipe -After roasting anise & coriander place all in spice grinder or mortar and grind finely

  • anise seed, 1 tsp., dry roast in heavy skillet
  • coriander seeds, 1 tsp., dry roast in heavy skillet
  • nutmeg, 2 tsp., whole nutmeg and freshly grated is best
  • cinnamon powder, 2 TBS.
  • cloves, whole, 2 tsp., or pre-ground
  • peppercorns, 2 tsp., fresh ground is best



  • 2 lbs. beets, whole (about 12), peel and coarsely grate
  • 1 TBS. Speculaas spice blend
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 2 TBS. fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 TBS. sea salt, unrefined, 2 scant TBS. (Use ground salt, not coarse for this recipe

After fermentation

  • 2 TBS. sugar, unrefined cane sugar is a good choice
  • 2-4 TBS. water, enough to thin the brine, which thickens during fermentation


  1. Peel four long strips of lemon zest and reserve for final loading of the jar.
  2. Prep beets and place in large bowl. Mix in the sea salt and the Speculaas. Use your hands to squeeze and massage the beets until a rich brine develops
  3. Pack a clean 1 quart jar, lightly tamping each time you add beets until about 3 inches from the jar lip.
  4. Make brine by dissolving salt in water (TIP: put room temperature water & salt into another jar, secure lid and shake vigorously).
  5. Pour brine over vegetables; gently wiggle jar to release all air bubbles. Continue filling until approximately ½ inch below the lip of the jar.
  6. Press brine overflow cup into jar until just level with jar rim. (TIP: you may want to do this with jar in your sink as some brine should spill over).
  7. Allow cup to float as you clean off any veggie or seasoning debris from jar rim to ensure good seal.
  8. Twist on Perfect Pickler® lid until just hand snug.
  9. Pour tap water into airlock to the max line and gently twist into lid.
  10. Place in cool location (68-74 degrees) and wait patiently for 4 days!

After Fermentation - Remove kit top and empty the recipe into a large bowl. Add the sugar and enough filtered water to moisten the recipe if it has become thickened. Repack and refrigerate.