Beetroot relish – savory, sweet and spiced with with cloves and star anise – nuzzles its way onto our supper plates every winter. A near-perfect side to pan-fried pork chops seasoned with sage or to a classic roast beef, beetroot relish provides an intensity of flavor coupled with nourishing micronutrients including vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. This version of beetroot relish incorporates another wintertime staple: fresh apples which contribute a sweetness without the inclusion of the nutritional void that is sugar. Moreover, my beetroot relish is a probiotic food, rich in beneficial bacteria due to a natural, traditional fermentation process that anyone can apply in his or her own family kitchen.
Beets and apples are both dense in antioxidants, ensuring that the combination of these two primary ingredients convey significant nutritional benefits to the beetroot relish. Indeed, apples are rich in myriad phenolic compounds: quercetin, catechin, procyanidin and phlorozin among others. Perhaps these compounds contribute to the near-global perception of the humble apple as a food critical to health maintenace. Beets also contain powerful nutrients. Betacyanin, which accounts for beets pronounced color, may show promise in the treatment of cancer according to some researchers.
- 3 large large apples , (about 1 ½ pounds, cored but not peeled)
- 3 large beets, (about 1 ½ pounds, peeled)
- ¼ teaspoon powdered cloves
- 1 tbsp unrefined sea salt
- fermented vegetable starter culture, if desired (purchase one here)
- Shred apples and beets by hand, or in a food processor.
- Toss the shredded apples and beets together until well-combined and mixed together.
- Add the cloves cloves to the apples and beetroot, and continue to toss until the spices are evenly distributed among the shredded fruit and vegetables.
- In a mason jar or, preferably, a vegetable fermenter,layer the apple and beetroot.
- Periodically sprinkle unrefined sea salt or vegetable starter culture over the layers of apple and beetroot and mash with a wooden spoon or mallet to encourage the fruit and vegetables to release their juices, creating a luscious brine to encourage the proliferation of beneficial bacteria.
- Ferment in a mason jar or vegetable fermenter for a minimum of three to four days, or longer, depending on the level of warmth in your kitchen.
- After your apple and beetroot relish has sufficiently cultured, remove it from the vegetable fermenter.
- Place the apple and beetroot relish into a blender or food processor and process until smooth.