A delicious ruby addition to your dishes!

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by Jody Gowans in Lacto-fermentation, Recipes
October 2, 2017

 I just recently started to eat beets.  I refused to eat them as a child and for most of my adulthood.  My father used to can them every September, infusing our small house with the super pungent aroma of stewed beets and vinegar.  I think that’s what started my aversion to beets in any shape or form.   A few years ago, I was served a salad garnished with a spiral of raw beets and couldn’t believe how delicious they were.  I soon began to incorporate raw beets in my salads, and experimented with roasted beets as well.  Success, I was hooked!  As with most vegetables I encounter, I tried lacto-fermenting some beets last year.  The result?  Lacto-fermented beets are super easy, not stinky, and downright delicious!  


Fresh, local beets

Beets are delicious and nutritious vegetables to include in your diet. Beets are a good source of folate, fibre as well as a multitude of vitamins and minerals  (vitamin C, manganese, potassium and iron).   Since there is no heat involved in lacto-fermentation preservation, the beets maintain their bounty of nutrition and take on even extra flavour!

Used in the right ratio, beets’ earthy but sweet flavour adds an interesting dimension to dishes, and pairs remarkably well with tangy flavours such as citrus and goat cheese.  It is best not add too many beets as their strong flavour can easily overpower a dish.  And don’t forget the beet greens!  They are incredibly delicious lightly sautéd in olive oil with garlic!


Beets are an easy vegetable to ferment.  I mainly add bay leaf to my beet ferments, but will sometimes add some herbs or ginger for extra flavour.  Lacto-fermented beets can be ready in as little as 2 weeks, but I prefer the flavour after a 3- 4 week period.  Lacto-fermented beets have a stronger beet flavour, more olive-like with a bit of tang.

I always have a jar on hand in the fridge to add to salads, sandwiches, or anywhere I would use raw beets.  

lacto-fermented radishes, beets and asparagus with kombucha vinaigrette

Lacto-fermented beets also tasty when cooked, but the heat will kill off the probiotics derived from the lacto-fermentation process. 


Fermentation time: 2-4 weeks


  • Fresh beets (red or golden)- cleaned, skin on
  • Brine : 4 cups filtered water + 4 teaspoons salt (non-iodized)
  • Bay leaf
  • Flavourings (optional): Garlic clove, ginger, fresh herbs
  • Glass fermentation container
  • Fermentation weight


  1. Wash and trim beets of greens.  Leave skins on.
  2. Cut beets into slices or cubes, as desired.
  3. Place beets, bay leaf and optional flavourings in fermentation container, leaving a 1″ space to the top of the neck of the jar.
  4. Fill with brine, leaving a 1″ space to the top of the neck of the jar
  5. Add fermentation weight (if necessary).  Close jar.
  6. Leave at room temperature (ideally 55-75˚F (18-22˚ C) ) for 2-4 weeks.
  7. Transfer to the refrigerator for storage.



  1. Helen says:

    Hi Jody, I have a large lock jar and I would like to know if I don’t fill the whole jar, as long as the beets are under the fluid, would that be Ok.

    1. Jody Gowans says:

      Hi Helen- Absolutely, you don’t need to fill the whole jar. The key is to keep the beets submerged below the brine. Beets are high in sugar and very susceptible to kham’s yeast (it’s harmless, but not pretty and can add an unwanted “funky” taste to your ferment! Good luck and enjoy!

  2. JonasOfToronto says:

    Hi Jody, this is so interesting.

    I see no lacto primer is added, is this just a spontaneous fermentation or could you also steal a live culture from, say a 1/4 cup of water from a yogurt batch? Have you tried various starters? (I see your old pop used vinegar which of course doesn’t really pickle anything so much as marinate it in sourness and preserve it.)

    Genuinely curious, thanks.

    1. Jody Gowans says:

      Hi Jonas- thanks for your interest and question. There is no need to use any starter culture when fermenting vegetables. There are ample wild microbes on and in the vegetables (specifically from the lactobacillus strain) that will kickstart the fermentation process and thrive in the anaerobic, acidic environment of the fermentation container. Adding whey from yogurt is not advisable since it contains different bacteria not involved in lacto-fermentation. To clarify, the “lacto” in lacto-fermentation refers to the lactobacillus strain of bacteria that is present on and in vegetables. You are correct, using vinegar is another way of preserving the vegetables and is found in most commercial preserved beets, but the vinegar kills off any microbes (good or bad).

  3. Todd Raymond says:

    About how many carbs would be left after fermentation. I am really struggling to find accurate information? I am Keto and use the beet juice daily and beets sparingly or in soup. Thank you for any information.

    1. Jody Gowans says:

      Hi Todd- thanks for your interest and question. I have not been able to find an accurate indication on the carb amount for fermented beets. What I do know for sure, is that the carbs are reduced during fermentation since the microbes involved in the fermentation process are consuming the carbs for fuel. The longer you leave the vegetables to ferment, the less carbs will be left over in the vegetables. If you are still concerned with the carb amount, you can try diluting the beet brine with sodium-free soda water. I use my Soda Stream and drink diluted beet brine (and kvass) daily. It is very refreshing, especially on a hot day (if you like the taste of beets!)

  4. Pam says:

    How many beets or how many cups of chopped beets are needed for this recipe?

    1. Jody Gowans says:

      Hi Pam- thanks for your interest and question. There is no set quantity for the amount of beets. I pack them into whatever size jar I decide to use and make sure to leave at least 1″ headspace from the top. I like to slice mine in rounds for easier maintenance and chop them up if I add them to salads, etc. However, it is important to follow the amounts in the brine solution (included in this recipe) to ensure an optimal ferment. Also be sure to keep the beets submerged in the brine as their high sugar content makes them more prone to mold contamination.

  5. Lora says:

    What are some good Herbs to use in this? What is your favorites?

    1. Jody Gowans says:

      Hi Lora- thank for your question and interest. I always toss in a bay leaf with the beets, and have also tried thyme. I generally don’t like to add too much extra flavour as I don’t want to overpower the beet flavour. I suppose the sky’s the limit as to how you want to flavour your beets (if at all!)

  6. Julie Bishop says:

    Hi Jody, where can I get the jars and weights?

    1. Jody Gowans says:

      Hi Julie- i mainly use mason jars as fermentation containers or other large glass containers – for weight ideas, there are lots of options. Check out my article for more information

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