Salt fermentation is one of the greatest things out there. By adding salt, you keep out the bad microbes and foster an environment to the good microbes to "do their thing". Namely, to eat up the sugar and proteins and create new, delicious flavors and textures.
Additionally fermented foods, such as this relish, contain probiotics to help you digest almost anything. Fermenting foods at home can be intimidating, but once you get the hang of it, you can let the microbes do the work for you! Relish is great paired with sausage, smoked fish, potatoes, or on a cheese plate. Makes 16 ounces.
1 large red beet
1 large apple
1 whole star anise
3 whole cloves
1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more if needed
Sterilize one wide-mouthed 16-ounce mason jar by washing with soapy water, rinsing, and then submerging in boiling water for 15 minutes. Remove from water and set aside to air dry.
Peel and shred beet and apple using cheese grater and toss with star anise and cloves. Incorporate salt by sprinkling in 1/4 teaspoon at a time and stirring.
Scoop shreds into mason jar and mash with a wooden spoon to release their juices. The shreds should be entirely submerged, as the salty water from the beet and apple mixture will keep oxygen and bad bacteria out. If they are not, then create a brine by dissolving 1 teaspoon sea salt in 1 cup filtered water and pour this over the shreds until they are completely covered.
Cover with cheese cloth or clean towel and ferment at room temperature for 3-4 days or longer, depending on your desired level of sourness. The longer you let the relish ferment, the more sour it will become.
Once relish is the level of sourness that you desire, cover and refrigerate. Use within 6 weeks. Relish can also be processed in a blender or food processor if you desire a pastier texture.