RECIPE : beet root pickles

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this is what i spent my friday night doing 2 weeks ago – reading the book syra själv (means sort of fermenting at home) by karin bojs. yep my friday nights are wild and exciting.
the result : absolutely delicious beet root pickles !

i completely love my own homemade sauerkraut and i wanted to learn a bit more about the actual process. so this book was a perfect introduction to making veggie pickles yourself by lacto-fermentation. basically this means simply adding salted water to veggies and letting the lactobacteria already present on the veggies make all sorts of yummy healthy stuff by using the natural sugars of the veg as fuel.
i read it cover to cover in one night, so it’s just about enough information to absorb in one sitting. i now feel like i understand the process enough to go crazy with them pickles. although my first attempt to pickle cherry tomatoes was a failure – they got all mouldy a few days in and i had to chuck them out.

but i’m not crying because my other experiment turned out way better than i thought. i’ve pickled polka beets (the white and pink patterned beet root) with some purple cabbage and red onion. this is a variation of one of the recipes in the book, i just added the red onion and i’m so glad i did. this is freshness in a jar. i also got the idea to mix the pickles with homemade soyghurt (more about that later) and hazelnuts from the book (although the recipe in the book uses yoghurt and walnuts). it’s hella delicious and i’m thinking this is a great alternative to tzatziki, cole slaw, ranch or similar sauces for barbecue or summery salads. i’ve added some chopped basil on top too.


  • beet root pickles
  • 1000 g beets (i used polka beets but any kind will work)
  • 250 g purple cabbage, very thinly shredded
  • 1 red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 20 g / about 1 tbsp salt, without added iodine or anti-caking agents
  • if needed: 250 ml of water with 1/2 tsp added salt

first of all - make sure your hands, equipment and veggies are all very clean. remove any rings and wash hands thoroughly. you'll need one large, or a couple of small, glass jars.

i used a spiralizer to make long thin strips of my beet root, but you can just as well grate it or shred it in a food processor. we're using the cabbage and onion because the beet root's sugar is mainly a kind that the lactobacteria don't particularly like to eat, so the onion and cabbage are added as something for the bacteria to snack on.

place all ingredients (except for the salted water) in a big bowl and give it a good 5 minute massage. and this is not the time to be gentle, really get in there. leave it for 15-45 mins and massage the veggies again. the salt should now have made the veggies moist and soft, and you should be able to see some lovely coloured brine at the bottom of your bowl.

scoop up the veggies and place them in your glass jar. press down hard with your knuckles and add more. pressing makes sure you're not getting any air bubbles left, because your good bacteria lives in water, not air - and you don't want any unwelcome guests. when you've pressed down all the beet root shreds, pour the brine on top. if you don't have enough brine to completely cover your veggies, add more salted water. the veg should be covered by a couple of cm / 1 inch, and make sure no shreds are poking up or stuck on the side of the jar.

ok so now we wait. leave the jar out in room temperature for about 10 days. make sure the lid is not tightly screwed on, that could lead to a beet root explosion from all the gas produced by the little bacteria guys. liquid sometimes leaks over the edge of the jar, so i normally put it on a plate or in a bowl.

after 10 days, screw on the lid and keep in the fridge. always use clean utensils when serving pickles from your jar to make sure you're not contaminating it, and keep your fingers out !

serving suggestion : mix 2 parts beet root pickles with 1 part soyghurt and a small handful of roughly chopped hazelnuts. yum !


pickling veggies by lacto-fermentation is really much easier than it seems. ok so you have to wait a week or two to reap the rewards, but it’s so worth it. and since pickled veggies can stay fresh in the fridge for like…. ever, you can make a huge batch at once to eat for months.

do let me know if you try this recipe out, or if you have any other favourite type of fermented food you think i should try.

until next time
love // jenny


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