Blueberry-Ginger Beet Sour

Source: Kathryn Lukas, Farmhouse Culture Guide to Fermenting

Recipe Type: | Seasons:

The sweetness of blueberries and the spiciness of ginger beautifully complement the earthiness of the beets in this recipe. The sugars in the fruit also serve as another food source for the bacteria, and can slightly accelerate the fermentation time. A shorter fermentation time will allow more of the fruit flavors to come through, while a longer one will result in a more “sour” flavor profile. A secondary fermentation using additional fruit will reintroduce sweetness and flavor and create delightfully bubbly soda. You can also add some dried blueberries to the bottles to punch up the blueberry flavor during the secondary fermentation.



1,490 milliliters (about 6 cups) distilled or spring water
10 grams (2 ½ teaspoons) unrefined sea salt
260 grams (½ to ¾ pounds) diced peeled red beets (½-inch cubes)
100 grams (¼ pound) blueberries, muddled
40 grams (2 ½ tablespoons) coarsely chopped peeled fresh ginger
100 milliliters (½ cup) natural brine from sauerkraut


Kitchen scale
½-gallon or 2-liter wide-mouth glass jar

Fermentation lid
3 (16-ounce) flip-top bottles


1. Wash and sanitize all your fermentation equipment, including a knife and cutting board, and set aside to air-dry.

2. Make a salt brine by bringing 300 milliliters (about 1 ½ cups) of the water to just under a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat, add the salt, and stir well until all the salt has dissolved. Add the remaining room-temperature water to the hot brine to cool it down; set aside.

3. Combine the beets, blueberries, and ginger in the jar. Pour the kraut brine into the jar over the beets and blueberries. Pour the salt brine into the jar, leaving about 2 inches of headspace. Reserve the extra salt brine in a small jar in the refrigerator to use as needed. Seal the jar with the fermentation lid. Place the jar on a plate or in a bowl to catch any liquid displaced through the airlock during fermentation.

4. Ferment the beet mixture in a cool place away from direct sunlight (2 weeks at 64°F is ideal). Taste the beet mixture after 1 week to determine if the sourness is to your liking. If it’s not sour enough, reseal the jar and leave it to ferment for another week, then taste again.

5. When the beet mixture is sour to your liking, strain it through a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl; discard the beets or reserve them for another use. Transfer the liquid into bottles, seal, and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months. Enjoy the beet sour still, or add flavoring and/or carbonation through a secondary fermentation in the bottle.

Reprinted with permission from The Farmhouse Culture Guide to Fermenting by Kathryn Lukas and Shane Peterson, copyright © 2019. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc.

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