Easy Raw Fermented Beets: An Old Homestead Recipe

fermented beets
We are almost one week into our homesteading pantry challenge, with the general idea being that we won't shop for food unless it is perishable like milk or fresh fruit. 

Honestly, it hasn't really been that challenging so far as we have more than enough stores to keep us content for a long time. (Hence, our reason for the challenge.) 

Our fridge is crammed with the remains of Christmas and New Years Eve. The canning room is filled with last summer's produce, the freezer is packed with our own broiler chickens and traded pork, and the kitchen pantry is overflowing with pastas, rices, sauces and canned veggies.

This morning, Wendie went through what was left in the fridge and discovered some beets that were never finished up. We don't want them to go to waste, so we thought, why not ferment them? But, how to ferment beets?

Fermented Foods

fermented beets homesteadingNow, this wasn't just some random, 'let's try something new' suggestion. Homestead canning has been a big part of our life, with one of our earliest experiments beginning with making our own sauerkraut. 

One our our favorite canning recipes is for pickling cukes, and we've dabbled with other veggies of the years.

There are countless benefits to eating fermented foods. Whether it's sauerkraut or Kimchi, the resulting beneficial bacteria promotes good health. 

Simply put, fermentation is a process of breaking down carbohydrates such as sugar and starches when bacteria and yeasts interact. In ancient times, it was a simple way of preserving food, but was soon discovered to be have incredible health benefits as well.

By eating fermented foods like kefir, kombucha, yogurt, and tempeh, we are promoting positive health through probiotics, reducing risk of heart disease, bolstering immunity, aiding weight loss and aiding digestion. Plus, our diet expands into some truly flavorful areas of culinary delight.

Our Fermenting Kit

fermented beets how to
Until this Christmas, our fermenting supplies included a bucket, a plate, a towel, and some ball canning jars. However, on a last minute trip to the Vermont Country Store this past November, I found a fermenting kit made by Kilner that was just perfect. 

The jar has a wide mouth, and it comes with half-moon ceramic discs to weight down the veggies, a rubber seal cap, and snug air lock like we use on our mead carboys. 

The price was right ($35), so it became one of Wendie's presents this year.

Now, I'm not getting any kind of consideration from Kilner on this. I really like this product and that's all there is to it. Honestly.

If you've ever fermented the way we used to, you probably know the frustrations involved with using 'ok' equipment to get the process done. This kit was engineered for the easiest process possible, and you can bet good money we'll be getting one or two more.

If you want to get into fermenting foods, yes, the Kilner kit is fantastic. But, like a lot of homesteading DIY projects, you don't need to buy anything fancy to have success. 

As mentioned before, we used a bucket in our early days. Make sure it's clean, of course, and have a plate that is just a little smaller than the opening. This acts as a weight and keeps the food below the brine line so the anaerobic reaction can go off without being disturbed by microbes in the air.

Easy Raw Fermented Beets: An Old Homesteading Recipe


  • Raw Beets
  • 1-2 Tbs Salt
  • Water
  • Food-safe Bucket
  • Dinner Plate
  • Clean Towel
Slice your beets thinly into strips. This is easier if you use the julienne blade on a cheese grater or a mandoline slicer. Once you have enough for your needs (we usually don't use less than 4 cups), place the beets into a large bowl.

Sprinkle the salt over the beets and mix well with your hands. Use your knuckles to muddle the mix. After doing this for about five minutes, move the beets to your fermenting bucket. Pack them evenly towards the bottom.

Place your plate on top of the beets to weight them down. If you need more weight, add a couple more plates.

how to ferment beetsAdd water to the bucket until it covers the beets completely. (We are on well water, but if you're in an urban setting, boil your water first to remove particles and other unwanted 'stuff'). 

We like to have a few inches over the plate to ensure a good aerobic environment and prevent evaporation. 

Scoop out any free-floaters, but don't worry about getting everything if you can't. You just don't want a mat of floating beet pieces as a resting place for molds.

Drape the towel over the bucket to stop any catch any FOD (foreign object debris) from getting in. It might sound like a good idea to wrap the top tightly with plastic wrap, but you want the gasses to escape.

fermented beetsLeave your fermenter at room temperature on your counter away from direct sunlight. Check your recipe every few days after two weeks to make sure it's working. 

If everything went well, your beets will be ready in about four weeks from when you started.

It is possible you will discover a layer of 'scum' forming on the water's surface. Don't worry, it isn't harmful, so just spoon it out. 

Once the beets are fermented to your taste, remove them from the bucket and place them in canning jars. 

You can water bath these if you wish, or eat them out of your refrigerator without preserving.

It's All About Self-Sufficiency

Our goal is to be as self-sufficient as we can be, and this pantry challenge really has us thinking outside of the box. Deciding to make some fermented beets was a great idea. These work well as a side veggie dish, as a burger topper or even as a flavorful garnish. No matter how we use them, I don't expect them to last long.

We love sharing our off the grid homesteading life with you all, and truly love it when we hear back from you. Have you ever experimented with fermenting food? How did it go? Let us know by joining the conversation below!


Beana said…
Gonna try the beets. I did turnips a while back and they turned out great
Beana said…
Gonna try Beets. I did Turnips a while back and they were great.