Spice Marries Herb in Simple Ceremony
Here at Perfect Pickler we don’t make pickles, we make them simpler to make. Our focus for over twenty years now is to develop equipment and recipes so you—as a DIY fermenter—will become a healthier, more engaged cook.
We were able to cast off grandma’s tiresome all-day affair with preserving an easy, inexpensive, and fun way to ferment vegetables by the single quart—any time you please. We also gained insight through you, the reader and pickler, that you want: K-I-E-S-S — keep it even simpler, stupid.
I am so ready to trim more time off pickling.
Over the years I supplied you with exotic pickles with tastes of tamarind, keffir lime, speckled with rare flavors from the Spice Islands and they are included throughout our site. Now I have been advised by my workmates (who happen to be very modern, multi-tasking moms) to please give us recipes we can make in a few minutes that are healthy and tasty for their families. I hear, I hear!!!
The key reasons to ferment vegetables are: cost savings, deliciousness, and health benefits of eating cultured foods-like pickles. In addition, a little yogurt, some raw vinegar in a salad dressing, some pickled beets…that is the gist of this blog — simple ways to enrich the diet, save money and have fun in the kitchen.
To buy finished pickles or probiotic supplements is viable, but you can save A LOT by making your own.
I saw a pint of fermented sauerkraut at the store that cost $6.00. You can make a half-gallon in the Perfect Pickler® for about $2.00. Translated into cash—you need $24.00 to buy a half gallon or $2.00 to make your own! If you figure one hour to prepare-including clean up-that is $22.00 an hour in your own kitchen! (That logic reminds me of the guy who used to jog behind a bus to save a dollar fare, until someone told him to jog behind a cab and save $8.00).
If you invested in a Perfect Pickler® kit you already saved the cost of it with your first batch of kraut.
You can Pickle Like the Pros
In a new twist to this blog, I plan to scour the marketplace and find finished pickles that people are talking about, then ferment a batch from what is on the jar’s ingredient list. If it turns out worthy, I will source the product and share my version of it with you. To begin this exercise I pulled some beets out of my garden and tested this beet recipe. Let’s get into the kitchen and ferment!
I was inspired by this flavorful pickled beet recipe. Oregon Brineworks creates an herb and spice play between rosemary and caraway with the sweet chew of shredded beets. This is delicious as a side dish, a salad, and as a salad topper. It’s very quick to make.
I hope you will dabble in the pickling arts!
Pickled Beets with Rosemary & Caraway - Makes 1 Qt.
Beets: I am the proud parent of these beets, or you can pick up raw beets with or without the greens attached. (Boiled beet greens are delicious. It’s a “two-fer” when you buy beets with the greens attached.)
Choose smaller ones of similar size. Figure on about 1-1/2 pounds when buying. You can choose the common red beet, or for a color change: try golden beets or a rainbow assortment.
Spice: Caraway is a spice found in Eastern Europe that marries well to sauerkraut, beets, and of course, rye bread. Use 1 tsp.
Fresh Herb: Rosemary is a perennial herb with a little taste from an evergreen forest. I prefer fresh over dried, but if using dried, grind before using. For fresh it is fun to use a few sprigs to show through the jar and let folks know what is inside. Use 6 two-inch sprigs. Strip the leaves off two branches and mince to produce 2 tsp. Save the others for displaying in the jar window. Lightly pound the sprigs with the butt of your chef knife to bruise them and release additional flavor. If using dried rosemary, use 2 tsp.
Brine: Dissolve 2 tsp. unrefined sea salt with 1-1/2 cups filtered water
- Peel the beets and grate using medium sized grater holes or food processor
- Toss in the caraway and minced rosemary
- Make the brine by dissolving the salt and water
- To a clean, 1 quart jar add the beet mixture, lightly tamping as you go until about 3 inches from the jar lip
- If displaying the rosemary sprigs, use a thin spatula and slide down side of jar and pull handle toward center of the jar to open up a gap. Holding the spatula push the rosemary sprig down the spatula’s face and onto the jar side to display it. Pack the beet mixture back and repeat with the other sprigs. If not displaying sprigs, mix them into the beets and pack with the mixture
- Add the brine until about a half-inch from the jar lip
- Seal the jar with the Perfect Pickler® kit per instructions on the website or instruction booklet
- Ferment four days. Use cooler and ice blocks if warmer than 74º
You can take the beets from a side dish to a side salad to a main salad
As a side dish: Beets love a drizzle of good olive oil
Keep going: add feta or blue cheese crumbles
Sharpen the Flavor: Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or spritz of apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar.
Full Salad: Top with some chopped walnuts or other nuts, slices of hard boiled egg, strips of cooked protein, and lay atop a few dressed lettuce leaves.