Market Culture

Torrential rain forced the us to cancel the cultured-foods demo at the NYC Greenmarket  in Boro Park. The rain date was today and it couldn’t have been less rainy.

Why do they call it a “rain date”? Why don’t they call it a “sun date”?

I forgot to pack the mega-fermented beet slaw (it’s so alive it moves), but I demonstrated how to make cultured beet chips, miso-fermented turnips, and some Moroccan pickled lemons for fun. I was going to experiment with some Asian pears from Toigo Orchards but ran out of time, so Anthony Reuter (the market manager), some customers and I just ate them instead. Delicious and healthy.

If you want to read about some benefits of cultured foods, see my last post, Grow Your Own Probiotics.

Here are the cultured vegetable recipes from today’s demonstration:

Easy Borsch or Cultured Beets

Adapted from Pickl-it.

If you’re from Hungarian, Russian, Czech, or Polish background, you’re probably heard of (or even made) “borsch”, a naturally fermented beet drink.  (If you use the “t”, as in borscht, it usually refers to the soup, not the fermented drink.)

It’s important to make any fermented-cultured-pickled foods in clean glass containers—if you use plastic containers the toxic chemicals from the plastics seep into your recipe, literally “poisoning” it. It is also extremely important to avoid the growth of mold—you’ll need an anaerobic (oxygen-free) seal on your fermenting jar. Skimming mold off the top is like removing the tip of an iceberg, invisible mold spores still remain throughout your borsch. Mold can trigger allergies, headaches, and even serious illnesses in susceptible individuals.  Never heat the beets or the borsch in order to preserve the healthy probiotics.  Never add sugar or vinegar.


Three (3) Pounds Medium or Small Beets, preferably organic and freshly picked, scrubbed and peeled, quartered and sliced for borsch OR grated, for cultured beets

2 Tablespoons unrefined finely ground sea salt (Himalayan Pink Sea Salt or Celtic Sea Salt-Do not use any refined or processed salt, even refined sea salt). Do not be tempted to add more salt than recommended. However, I’ve added less salt (as little as half) and have got good results. I think the environmental temperature is key, but the exact science eludes me.


Pack a 2 to 3 liter clean, glass pickling jar with beets alternated with salt. Cover and allow beets to macerate for an hour or two in room temperature. Open jar and press down with clean wooden spoon or dowel to release more brine. If using grated beets there will be enough brine. If using sliced beets you might have to add more. For additional brine mix 1 Tablespoon salt with 3 cups water. Stir well and add what is needed to come up to shoulder of pickling jar in order for water to rise between ½ and 1 inch above beets. Weigh down beets with very clean, small glass plate so beets are beneath brine. Seal jar and let sit at a cool room temperature in a dark place (a basement or linen closet work great) for 3 days to 7 days for sliced beets and up to 2 days for grated beets. Open, taste test, and seal well and refrigerate for several weeks.


For Borsch: Pour out liquid and drink a small amount each day. Meanwhile, refill jar with brine and make an additional batch as above.

For Cultured Beets: Eat!

I recommend using Pickl-it Jars which can be purchased through me (discounts for workshop students) or at


Easy Miso Rooties (Cultured Root Veggies) For Beginners

By Chaya Rivka Zwolinski at


This is a healthy, easy alternative to vinegar pickled turnips (Tarshi) and other vinegar pickles, which don’t contain healthful probiotics. Miso is fermented bean paste, frequently made with soy but might also/instead contain chickpeas, rice, barley or other ingredients. Natural miso contains beneficial enzymes and makes a delicious, quick pickle. Miso is one of the few foods containing soy that is healthful—that’s because the natural culture breaks down the harmful phytates, enzyme inhibitors and other anti-nutrients in soy. Unfermented soy products, including most tofu, soy milk, and soy beans and chips, contain natural toxins that block the action of trypsin and other protein-digesting enzymes. Limit the use of most soy products and only eat fermented soy products.



1 pound organic turnips, and/or daikon, rutabaga, carrots, etc.*

Miso, any mellow-tasting variety, preferably unpasteurized

Fresh ginger, optional



Wash vegetables. (You can leave peel on clean, organic veggies—peel non-organic veggies).

Mix with a few slices thin, peeled ginger, optional.

Coat with miso and place in glass jar or bowl. Make sure all surface area of vegetables is covered by miso. Cover with a saucer or plastic wrap, and let sit at least 24 hours or for up to one week. Scrape off miso (you may reuse it for another recipe) and serve immediately.

*Try cucumbers, zucchini, garlic cloves, and other veggies, too.

For more information, workshops, or nutritional consultations contact Chaya Rivka at

3 responses to “Market Culture

  1. Pingback: Dairy Allergies and Homemade Greek Yogurt « healthyjewishcooking·

  2. Pingback: Fermenting Mentor: Uri Laio of Brassica and Brine | healthyjewishcooking·

Leave a Reply to Reautor.Wordpress.Com Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s