Brined Beets with Orange and Juniper

In our last post, we highlighted how pervasive fermented foods are in Nordic culture and spotlighted Holly Davis’ book Ferment as well as her instagram account @hollydaviswholefood. We’d love to share one more recipe from her book that is absolutely essential to any lover of Nordic food: pickled beets! If you’ve ever had the pleasure of eating dinner with a family in a Scandinavian country, you’ve probably been offered pickled beets at the table.

Holly’s recipe for “Brined Beets with Orange and Juniper” brings together super interesting flavors to create a really sensational batch of fermented beets. It’s really hard to find beets at the grocery store that don’t have added sugar, which something we really try to avoid. Making them yourself is actually quite easy and you get to determine exactly what ingredients go into it! These go amazingly well with your recipe for pyttipanna.

We didn’t have juniper easily available when we made these, but found that sage makes a great substitute! Here is Holly’s recipe. Smaklig måltid!

Brined Beets with Orange and Juniper

  • Difficulty: Easy
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Recipe by Holly Davis. Originally published in her book Ferment by Chronicle Books. Original description: Beets and celery are both vastly more delicious preserved and brined, as their textures provide the ultimate satisfying crunch. Keep the pieces fairly large in the culture, as the high sugar content of beets increases the chances of alcoholic fermentation, which is not what we are after. The brined beets can be diced and used to top soups or casseroles and are perfect with the fava bean salad on page 46 or simply served with a cheese platter. Makes enough to fill a 6 cup (1.5 L) jar<br /> Ready in approximately 3 weeks


  • 4 cups (1 L) filtered water
  • 1 ¾ oz (50 g) sea salt
  • 5 celery stalks, cut into 2 in (5 cm) pieces (or smaller depending on your jar)
  • 6-8 medium beets, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • ½ teaspoon juniper berries, lightly bruised using a mortar and pestle
  • ½ teaspoon mixed peppercorns, cracked


  1. Bring 1 cup (250 ml) of the water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the salt and stir until dissolved. Add the remaining water, then take the pan off the heat and allow the brine to cool to room temperature.
  2. Put the celery in the jar with the beets, bay leaves, orange zest, juniper berries, and peppercorns. Fill the jar completely, wedging the vegetables in as snugly as possible.
  3. STEEP Pour in just enough of the cooled brine to completely cover all the ingredients, leaving ½ – ¾ in (1-2cm) of space from the rim of the jar. Tap the jar on a folded dish towel to dislodge any air pockets. Close the lid tightly and place the jar on a tray to catch any liquid that may leak out during fermentation.
  4. Leave in a cool spot, out of direct sunlight, with temperatures around 64-75°F (18-24°C), for 7-21 days or until furiously bubbling. When the bubbles subside, the brined vegetables are ready to eat, but if you prefer them more sour, leave the jar out for another 1-2 weeks. When they are to your liking, slow the fermentation process by storing the jar in the fridge. This will keep for 6-12 months.

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