This is a really good one. You’re just going to have to trust me here. I hadn’t fermented much with fennel prior to this, but with it showing up readily for wild harvesting or at my local market, I thought I’d dive in with some experiments to see how it goes. I have another Fennel Kraut brewing happily in my kitchen which I’ll likely share with you at a future date, but truth be told, this chutney here is just so darn good it needed to be shared right away. The fennel brings a nice anise-like flavor, the beet adds it’s own texture and beetyness and the apple brings a little sweetness rounding everything together with grace. After fermenting together for awhile, the flavors begin to meld, and a delicious toothy, nuanced deliciously flavored chutney emerges.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Fermentation time: 10 days
Yield: 2 pints
1 large golden beet
1 large bulb fennel
1 medium apple
2 tsp salt
- Prepare the ingredients
Lightly wash the beet and fennel. Peel the skin off the apple. No need to remove the skin from the beet.
- Cube the ingredients
Cut the beet, fennel and apple into cubes approximately 1/4″ x 1/4″
- Toss with salt
Place the ingredients in a bowl and toss with the salt.
- Place everything in fermenting vessel
Take all ingredients from the bowl including the liquid which may be pooling at the bottom and place them in your fermentation vessel. If you’re looking for one, I find this fermentation vessel works great, but I’ve also used 1 gallon Anchor Hocking cookie jars.
Compress the ingredients in the vessel by pressing down with your fist. Your goal is to have the liquid rise to more than cover the ingredients. If youare curious where the liquid comes from, the salt has the ability to break down cell walls and draw the liquid from them. Place a weight on top of the ingredients. If you use a fermentation crock, then it should come with it’s own weights. If you use the cookie jar approach, you can take a large bottle filled with water and use it as a weight or fill a plastic bag with water (be sure it doesn’t leak first). If the liquid doesn’t rise up sufficiently to cover the vegetables, don’t fret just yet. Just give it some extra time, perhaps up to 8 hours or overnight. Compress again. If the liquid still doesn’t cover the contents, add a little water and mix it all up good so the dissolved salt is well distributed. The more fresh your ingredients are, the more liquid will naturally leach from the veggies.
- Wait impatiently
Leave it to ferment for about 10 days. Feel free to taste regularly as you go to get a feel for how the flavor changes. This one changes quite a bit during the fermentation so it’s kind of fun to keep nibbling. “Pull the plug” on the fermentation whenever the taste is how you like it. Mine was 10 days, but it will of course depend on how warm your environment is as well. When sampling, be cautious to always use clean hands and limit the amount of time the lid is off as you don’t want to introduce mold spores or other microorganisms.
- Jar it up
This helps to significantly slow the fermentation.
I haven’t quite figured out what best to do with this, save for my prediilection to eat it straight out of the jar. Regularly. This delectable can be served as a simple side dish on a plate along with a sandwich. I’ve also enjoyed taking a couple of tablespoons of it and simply tossing it in with a nice salad. Goat cheese in the salad is a nice compliment.