This is a list list of common vegetables to ferment at home. Perhaps it can serve as a guide. Any vegetable can be fermented but not all may be to your liking.
Mixing vegetables with herbs, spices, or seeds makes for a more complex taste. It also looks beautiful. Some like to ferment vegetables containing certain nutrients or enzymes that support their health goals.
Vegetables to ferment at home
These ingredients can be combined in different ways and amounts. No need to be too picky. Try some of the many recipes on this site.
If you are a beginner, start with simple recipes with few ingredients. Cabbage, carrots, and ginger is a classic. Try using vegetables and fruits that are in season as they are fresh and often cheaper. Organic is best.
Apples can be added to most recipes. Contain refreshing, beneficial acids and many nutrients. However, the high sugar content produce alcohol, so don’t take too many. Sauerkraut and apples is a classic recipe.
Nutrition: Apples are ranked high in antioxidant activity. Most antioxidants are found in the peel. Nutrients include phenols, malic acid, pectin, caffeic acid, phloridzin and quercetin.
Beautiful and potent with a sweet, sour and earthy taste. Beetroot adds a more complex taste to many recipes. Also adds a beautiful colour. Delicious when mixed with lemon, dill, cabbage and caraway seeds.
Nutrition: High in minerals, beta-carotene, folate and phytochemicals. Betacyanin, the pigment responsible for the deep purple color, is a powerful anticancer agent. The top greens are rich in carotenoids, flavonoid anti-oxidants as lutein, zeaxanthin. Studies show that beetroot can cleanse and detoxify the liver, reduce high blood pressure and help muscles to work more efficiently.
Goes well with cabbage and many other vegetables. Adds a beautiful color, a fresh taste and an appealing crunchiness. Try fermenting bell peppers with spices like onion, garlic, cilantro or cumin.
Nutrition: Contain over 30 different carotenoid nutrients as alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin. These substances has a strong antioxidant effect.
Has a mild taste, beautiful green color and packed with nutrients. Can be combined with most other vegetables. Try fermenting broccoli with carrots and leeks.
Nutrition: Contains many potent nutrients and antioxidants. High in vitamin K, C and the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. Also contains the phytochemical sulforaphane that promotes the body’s ability to detoxify. Rich source of the flavonoid kaempferol.
Used in sauerkraut and many other recipes. Cabbage is easy and cheap to use. It also has an appealing crunchiness when fermented. Many recipes call for 50-100% cabbage. Don’t underestimate the simple but delicious sauerkraut. You need only cabbage, sea salt, water, and a starter culture.
Nutrition: Cabbage is nutrient-dense, high in phytochemicals, anti-inflammatory agents and anti-cancer compounds called glucosinolates. Cabbage juice is traditionally used for stomach problems.
Adds a beautiful color. Can be fermented with almost any other vegetables. Fermented with juniper berries or caraway seeds you can make exotic-looking red sauerkraut. The color of red cabbage can turn bluish during fermentation. Mixing green and red cabbage produces pink kraut (as in the picture).
Nutrition: High in nutrients as vitamin K and very powerful antioxidants called polyphenols.
Easy to ferment together with other vegetables. A simple recipe is 70-90% cabbage, 10-30% carrots, and ginger root. Easy to prepare and tastes great.
Nutrition: Rich in vitamins A, K, minerals and the powerful compound falcarinol. Recent studies confirm the many benefits of carrots. Baby carrots that are often treated with chlorine, which is not good.
The celery juice is excellent to use as brine when fermenting vegetables. It has a mild, salty taste that goes well with most vegetables. Both stalks and leaves can be used. The leaves have a stronger flavor. Root celery is similar in taste and can also be used to create juice or to shred and ferment with other veggies. However, when fermented the celery taste will not dominate. In fact, you mostly don’t feel it at all.
Nutrition: High in vitamin K, folic acid, potassium and many phytonutrients and antioxidants. Contains luteolin, a powerful flavonoid.
Coriander leaves (cilantro)
This is a favourite ingredient. The flavor is unique but similar to parsley with a hint of citrus and celery. If you like the flavor, then add as much as you like to your batch. Coriander leaves goes well with most other vegetables.
Nutrition: Known as a powerful detox agent promoting the cleaning of mercury, aluminium, and other metals. Cilantro contains an impressive list of unusually potent and healing phytonutrients and anti-oxidants.
Smells wonderful when shredded, has hints of licorice. Fennel adds a flavor similar to anise. You can add quite a lot to a batch.
Nutrition: Anethole, a component in the oil of fennel and a powerful agent against inflammation. Contains the flavonoids rutin, quercitin, and kaempferol. Fennel promotes good digestion.
Fermented garlic has a powerful, tangy taste. Garlic adds a distinct taste when mixed with other vegetables that might be too overwhelming for some. Fermenting garlic in separate jars might for some be a better idea. Then the powerful flavor is optional as a side-dish.
Nutrients: Fermenting garlic dramatically raises its health promoting properties and makes it easier for the body to assimilate the many powerful nutrients present.
Adds a pleasant, warm taste to any batch of vegetables. During winter this is especially appealing. Try shredding ginger a bit smaller as bigger pieces tend to taste very strong.
Nutrition: Contains a very long list of powerful nutrients as fenols, and antioxidants as 6-gingerol. Promote digestion, lowers cholesterol, and strengthens the immune system. More info.
Hot peppers (Jalapeños)
Great together with many vegetables. Be careful not adding to much as fermented the flavor can get very strong. One or two hot peppers in a batch of a few jars might be all you need.
Nutrition: Contains powerful enzymes and antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties. Can raise body temperature and promote weight loss.
Onions (yellow, red, white)
Fermenting onion by itself or together with bell pepper or beetroot is excellent. Similar to garlic, its distinct flavor can be too dominant if used in a large batch with mild vegetables.
Nutrition: Contains many organic thiosulfinates, sulfides, sulfoxides and other compounds responsible for its anti-inflammatory activity.
Nice to ferment by itself with some dill, caraway, or mustard seeds. Radishes is also used to prepare kimchi.
Nutrition: Includes the detoxifying agents indoles, powerful flavonoids like zeaxanthin and lutein. Radishes also contain a potent antioxidant called sulforaphane.
Has a sugary, caramelized flavor that goes well with other vegetables. Leave the skin on and ferment them raw and shredded. Fermented successfully, they remain crunchy. A simple recipe is mixing sweet potatoes with a little ginger, onion and salt.
Nutrition: Contain carotenoids that are strong antioxidants, vitamin A and anthocyanins.