Preparing fermented vegetables at home is simple, inexpensive and fun. This recipe shows how to make homemade fermented vegetables without many too ingredients or instructions. This batch actually turned out extremely well.
Keep it simple!
Health: Consuming fermented vegetables is an excellent way to keep the digestive tract in good order.
Simple: A few vegetables, tools, and jars is all you need.
Fast result: In a week or so you will enjoy a delicious product.
Cost effective: Fermented vegetables are filling, packed with nutrients and can be enjoyed with any meal.
Jars: Use Mason jars or similar glass or ceramic vessels. Ceramic crock pots are excellent. Plastic can be also used, but avoid metal jars.
Shredding: A simple box grater. For bigger batches use a food processor.
Kraut pounder (optional): Looks like a small baseball bat. Good to pack vegetables tight in jars. Using your fist is fine too.
A juicer (optional): Good to make juice for brine. No juicer? Check steps 1 & 3 below.
This simple recipe is a favorite and my last batch turned out very nice. The vegetables became crunchy and the taste surprisingly complex—tangy with a nice ginger kick. The only change I did this time was leaving more empty space in the jars. Jars were filled to about 70% with vegetables so I could add more celery juice. This improved the taste, not sure why.
Ingredients: Cabbage, carrots, bell peppers, ginger, celery.
Brine: Juiced celery stalks and leaves, about 1 quart (1 litre).
Salt: Himalayan or sea salt. Avoid table salt. Salt preserves crunchiness and prevent growth of bad microorganisms.
Culture starter: Promotes a stable, predictable, and faster fermentation.
Step 1: Prepare juice and culture starter
Celery enhances the taste of fermented vegetables. It adds a slightly salty taste.
No juicer? Try dissolving the starter in 1/2 a cup lukewarm water with half a teaspoon honey. Then see step 3.
Dissolve a packet of Body Ecology (or other) starter culture in the juice. Mix thoroughly. Leave for 20 minutes or more in room temperature.
Step 2: Rinse and shred vegetables
|Cabbage is cheap, nutritious and crunchy; 70% of this batch is from green cabbage. |
Remember to put aside one whole cabbage leave for every jar you will use. It will be put on top of each jar later.
|Carrots are sweet and colorful making them great companions to green cabbage.|
Rich in vitamins A, K, minerals and the powerful compound falcarinol.
About 20% in this recipe are carrots.
|Bell peppers are beautiful with a fresh taste. Often remain crunchy when fermented.|
Contains over 30 different carotenoid nutrients.
About 10% are peppers in this batch.
|Ginger provides a wonderful, slightly hot taste. If you like this, add more. Be careful as the taste quickly gets very hot.|
Shred ginger smaller to avoid bigger pieces that taste too strong.
Contains powerful fenols and antioxidants that are anti-inflammatory. Promote digestion, lowers cholesterol, and strengthens the immune system.
|Add salt to the vegetable mix. Here I add a few tablespoons of Himalayan salt.|
Himalayan sal containis all of the 84 elements found in your body. It is far healthier for your body than commercial salt and its taste is wonderful.
Step 3: Add juice to vegetables
|Add celery juice to the vegetables. Mix thoroughly with your hands until the juice is well blended with the vegetables.|
No celery juice? Put a few cups of veggie mix into a blender. Add water to create a thick smoothie-like juice. Then add the starter cup from Step 1 to the blender. Pour this thick juice into the veggie mix.
Step 4: Pack jars with vegetables
|Use your fist to press or pack the vegetables into the jars. Pack as tight as you can!|
Fill the jars only to 70% with vegetables. The brine is important to protect the veggies.
The goal is to press out air; oxygen can disturb fermentation.
|Add a cabbage leave or two on top of the veggies. This will keep the vegetables submerged in brine. It is very effective.|
When you consume the vegetables, just discard the cabbage leaves.
Step 5: Ferment at room temperature
Where to place jars: Store jars where you can easily clean up in case some brine will leak out during fermentation. A kitchen sink, bath tub or on the floor.
Temperature: Around 70 degrees (20-22 C) is ideal. But a few degrees more or less is usually no problem.
Fermentation: Leave the jars for 5 to 7 days. If a bit cooler the veggies might need another days or two. If warmer, it might be faster. Start tasting on day three to determine when it tastes ready.
Step 6: Store in a cool place
After fermentation is complete, you should store the jars in a cool place like a fridge or cool basement. This slows down fermentation. The bacteria will still be alive and active, just at a slower pace.
We have stored some jars for 4 months without any loss in taste or texture. In fact, if stored properly the taste often improves and becomes more complex. However, our batches seldom last that long because we eat it all.
NOTE: If the vegetables are consumed in a few weeks, then brine levels are not critical. In any case, good to add enough brine when preparing the batch to avoid mould later in the jars.
Enjoying fermented vegetables
I hope that preparing fermented vegetables at home will be as enjoyable for you as it has long been for my wife and I. Making your own fermented vegetables at is simple and relaxing. Just look at the beautiful batch below!