Monday, January 21, 2013

It’s Fabulous Fermentation Week - Fermented Beets with Orange & Thyme, Tzatziki and Spiced Chickpea Cakes

It’s fabulous fermentation week and personally it couldn’t have come at a better time.  After reluctantly being prescribed and taking a double course of antibiotics for pneumonia in the week leading up to xmas, I have been stuffing this fermented beet concoction into my gob as much as possible.

Now, I should say that I have attempted to make fermented foods before with not so great outcomes, so, when Elenore from Earthsprout and Sarah from My New Roots emailed about taking part in Fabulous Fermentation Week I decided to give it another go.  But rather than fumbling my way through I went straight  to the source of all things traditional - Nourished Kitchen.  I am sure Jenny needs no introduction, but if she does then you do yourself a huge favour and get yourself familiar with her blog, because it is a golden resource to live by.  Using her tips as a guide I am very happy to say that I did it and so can you.   In fact I could feel myself doing a little happy dance each time I looked at the jar and saw it bubbling away.

However given that some people fear fermentation I thought it important to add this link where you can follow the advice and guide of Sandor Katz – the king of fermentation.

A little note: 

As I didn’t have enough beet mix to fill my chosen size jar (1 litre capacity) I ended up using the leaves of the beets (well washed and organic) to keep the beet mix thoroughly submerged (this is key).  I did this by packing them tightly into the top of the jar. I then topped up with a small amount of water to just make sure everything was covered.

Finding ways to integrate fermented food into my meals has been super easy – just put it on top of whatever you like. But if something more specific is what you are after then here are my two favourite ways to make fermented beets a complimentary addition to your life.  Spiced Chickpea Cakes with Tzatziki and for a snack - Hummus and Beet Eggs.  Even the boys eat it as a little side option to their lunch or dinner, so it can’t be to bad.

Fermented Beets with Orange &Thyme with Tzatziki and Spiced Chickpea Cakes

Fermented Beets with Orange and Thyme 


500gm beetroots, washed well and grated
10 sprigs of thyme
zest of one orange
¼ cup whey *
2 tsp sea salt (salt to taste)

Beet Leaves, washed well (for keeping the beets mixture submerged)

To Make:

Lop the top and bottom off the beets
Grate the beets using a grater or food processor and place into a medium to large size bowl
Combine beets with orange zest, thyme, whey and salt
Mix together
Spoon into a mason/glass jar and pummel with a tool that will assist the release of the juices so that the beets are eventually under the liquid
Push the reserved and well washed beets leaves into the jar as tightly as you can to keep the beets immersed below the fluid
Cover loosely and ferment at room temperature for 3 days then transfer to fridge.

* I used whey strained from organic natural yoghurt.   To do this, line a sieve with muslin.  Spoon the yoghurt into the lined strainer that has been place over a bowl.  Cover and leave overnight.   

Store any leftover Whey in a glass jar in the fridge for future use (some say up to 6 months). Check out this post by Food52 for ways to use whey in the future.  You will be surprised just how versatile this stuff is.  

Cumin Spiced Chickpea Cakes
Makes 8 patties


1 can (440gm) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
¼ cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
¼ cup besan flour (chickpea flour) + extra for dusting
1 small bunch coriander, roughly chopped (stems and leaves)
1 small brown onion, roughly chopped
½ roasted red pepper, roughly chopped
4 small cloves garlic, crushed
2 tspn ground cumin
1 tspn ground sumac
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp white pepper, freshly ground
2 medium eggs

½ cup quinoa, cooked
1 small carrot, grated

2 Tbs macadamia oil (for cooking) (use what you wish)

To Make:

Process the above ingredients (except the quinoa and carrot) in a food processor and whiz until well combined and smooth
Stir through the cooked quinoa and grated carrot
Cover and refrigerate for 20 – 30 mins (if possible)
Meanwhile preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius
Remove the mixture from the fridge
Using your hands shape the mixture into 8 patties
Dust each pattie lightly with extra besan flour (optional)
Heat your choice of oil (2 Tbs) in a frypan over a medium heat
Cook for approximately 6 – 8 minutes on each side or until golden brown
Transfer to oven and cook for a further 10 minutes
Serve with Tzitziki (recipe below) and fermented beetroot


Makes 1 ½ cups

1-cup natural yoghurt (I use Barambah)
1 medium cucumber, grated and drained*
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tbs fresh mint, finely chopped
½ tsp truffle salt or sea salt (season to your liking)

* place the grated cucumber in a piece of muslin and squeeze to release as much liquid as possible

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and gently mix through
Season to your liking
Place in the fridge until required

Snack Time - 

Hummus and Beet Eggs

Fill boiled egg whites with hummus and top with fermented beet.
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  1. Fermenting foods sounds like a great idea, I'll certainly have to explore it further. I sure hope that you're feeling better, poor thing!
    The cakes and eggs look just delicious, and the photos are simply gorgeous too :)

  2. Welcome back! This looks amazing - I need to heave Nourished Kitchen back off my shelf, I think ...


  3. Anonymous23/1/13

    I have just started playing around with fermenting foods and since I love beetroot and have stacks of it in my garden, I think this will be the first recipe I try. I am loving seeing all of these inspiring recipes on my favourite food blogs!

    Hope you are feeling better x

    1. I would love to hear how it goes. Lucky you having beetroot in your garden. It sounds perfect!

  4. Beautiful photos and amazing looking recipe - thanks so much for sharing!

  5. Great idea to pair the beets with orange and thyme -- what a perfect combination of flavors! I am definitely going to be trying my hand at this one. The chickpea cakes look delicous, too. Thank you for the recipes and inspiration! Beautiful site you have here :)

    1. Hi Nancy - thanks for commenting and dropping by.

  6. Love this post Sherilyn. I have been trying my hand at fermenting recently and have a couple of diakons I need to do something with in the fridge. I am trying the chickpea cakes today can't wait.

    1. Hi Angie - go with the diakons - they will be great I am sure.

  7. I'm in a serious case of being addicted into your blog. Love all these whole food recipe ideas, simple and healthy. Must try out this fermented beets. Got my eye on your next posts.

  8. Anonymous18/8/13

    On the fermented beets could I use strained kefir instead of yogurt.


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