Quantcast

How to Ferment Vegetables in Three Easy Steps

Food
GMVozd / E+ / Getty Images

By Brian Barth

A mason jar packed with cultured or fermented vegetables at your local urban provisions shop will likely set you back $10 to $15. Given that the time and materials involved are no more than five minutes and $2, respectively, one imagines that the makers of cultured vegetables have spent eight years training with fermentation masters in some stone-age village, or that they've mortgaged their house to pay for high-end fermenting equipment to ensure that the dilly beans come out tasting properly pickled.


Nothing could be further from the truth. Here's how it works. This process can be applied to virtually any vegetable.

Prepare Vegetables

The finer you chop or shred the vegetables, the faster they will ferment (and the greater the quantity you can stuff in a jar). You can also ferment things like carrots, onions, radishes, beets—even whole cabbage leaves. It's primarily a matter of personal preference and how you intend to use the finished product. Depending on the vegetable, wash and peel as you would if you were going to eat it raw.

Add Brine

Salt prevents mold organisms, while favoring beneficial bacteria, and results in a crisp-textured fermented product. Stuff the vegetables in a mason jar or fermentation crock and cover them with a brine made from 1 tablespoon of salt per cup of water (use natural, non-iodized salt and, preferably, bottled spring water). Mix in herbs and other seasonings as desired.

The key here is for the vegetables to remain submerged in the brine, as anything exposed to air will rot. For vegetables that float, find a way to weigh them down—fermentation weights are the easiest way to go.

Let it Ferment

If using a mason jar, tighten the lid until it is barely snug. This prevents oxygen from entering, but lets carbon dioxide escape; otherwise pressure can build until a messy explosion occurs (fermentation crocks typically have a water seal for this purpose). Store in a cool, dark place, ideally where the temperature stays around 65 to 70 degrees.

Fermentation times vary from three days to three months or more, depending on the vegetable, temperature and other factors. The only true guide to know when it's ready is taste is that you want a pleasant, effervescent zing. Enjoy your dill pickles! Once the optimal flavor is attained, move the batch to the refrigerator to stop further fermentation.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Modern Farmer.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaking with attendees at the 2019 California Democratic Party State Convention at the George R. Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco. Gage Skidmore / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

California Gov. Gavin Newsom imposed new restrictions on oil exploration in his state yesterday by putting a moratorium on hundreds hydraulic fracturing permits until the projects are reviewed by independent scientists, as the AP reported.

Read More Show Less
The endangered Houston toad. Courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

While the planet continues to heat up, almost every single one of the 459 species listed as endangered in the U.S. will struggle as the climate crisis intensifies, according to new research published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
"This singular scientific achievement was accomplished at Heliogen's commercial facility in Lancaster, California." Heliogen

A startup backed by Bill Gates unveiled a breakthrough solar technology Tuesday that could free heavy industry from fossil fuels.

Read More Show Less
Rhodiola rosea is an adaptogenic herb that can help with chronic fatigue and stress-related burnout. Tero Laakso / Flickr

By Gavin Van De Walle, MS, RD

While everyone has specific life stressors, factors related to job pressure, money, health, and relationships tend to be the most common.

Stress can be acute or chronic and lead to fatigue, headaches, upset stomach, nervousness, and irritability or anger.

Read More Show Less
A video shows a woman rescuing a koala from Australia's wildfires. VOA News / YouTube screenshot

More than 350 koalas may have died in the wildfires raging near the Australian town of Port Macquarie in New South Wales, but one got a chance at survival after a woman risked her life to carry him to safety.

Read More Show Less