I was asked by Bowel & Cancer Research and nutritionist Lily Soutter to come up with a festive fermented treat to keep the gut healthy and happy this Christmas season as part of their GiftsForYourGut campaign.
The brilliant thing about pickles such as this (aside from the incredible beneficial bacteria that they provide for great gut health) is that they can sit in your fridge for weeks so you can dip in and out of them whenever you fancy livening up a salad or sandwich or adding colour to a meat dish. I've used it here as a base for a mackerel and horseradish canape to share with friends.
Ingredients (to make x1 500ml jar):
2 large or 4 small beetroots, finely grated (these can be raw - for added crunch - or cooked)
1 pear, peeled, cored and finely grated
3 inches of fresh ginger, peeled and grated (using food processor again)
1 teaspoon of fennel or coriander seeds (I like fennel better)
1 teaspoon of salt diluted in 250ml of warm water (more if needed using same ratio of salt:water)
Note: Use a food processor with grater attachment to spare your fingers!
1. Dissolve the salt in the water.
2. Mix together all the other ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
3. Pour the salt water into the mixing bowl and massage into the mixed veg/fruit.
4. Transfer the complete mixture into a sterilized sealable jar and press down on the mixture so that it is tightly packed in. Make sure the salted water just covers the compact mixture; add more salted water if necessary so that the liquid just covers the veg mix.
5. Close the lid of the jar but don't seal it (a gap is needed so that the gas created during fermentation can escape). Leave the jar at room temperature to ferment. The pickle is ready when it is slightly sour. This can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Once ready, seal the jar and place in the fridge where it can live happily for a month.