As a kid, I loved buying jars of fermented vegetables, but even back then, they seemed way overpriced. By the way, most people know fermented vegetables as pickled vegetables.
So making my own became a big aha moment-they are so easy and so cheap to make on your own!
If you can put water, salt, and veggies in a jar, then you got this.
The ones you make at home are also going to be the healthiest as well as tastiest because they will have absolutely no preservatives and are fresh.
I’m a huge fan of making simple, fermented vegetables.
Here’s how I do it and why.
Table of Contents
Why Make and Eat Fermented Vegetables?
Just like any fermented foods, fermented vegetables are made by harnessing the power of lacto-fermentation.
Here’s how that works.
Lactic acid bacteria are probiotic bacteria that are naturally found in fresh veggies. When you slice the veggies up and put them in a jar with salt and water for several days, these healthy probiotic lactic acid bacteria begin to multiply and thrive. They change the vegetables into a tart-flavored pickle, essentially.
When you eat fermented vegetables, you get tons of diverse and healthy probiotics. Eating these kinds of fermented foods is linked to every health benefit under the sun. It not only has probiotics, but it also helps our immune systems fight bad bacteria like E. coli and salmonella.
Fermented vegetables are also rich in natural digestive enzymes, so when you eat these tasty veggies, you boost your ability to digest your meal well.
Not surprisingly, these foods help boost mood, digestive health, heart health, and more. Just be aware that if you are sodium-sensitive, you should stick to eating small amounts of fermented vegetables.
And making your own can cost as little as $2 per jar if you already have some mason jars on hand. Compare that to the price in the store- easily around $20 for a teeny-sized jar!
What You Need to Make Fermented Vegetables
Making fermented vegetables couldn’t be more simple. All you need is:
- Wide-mouth mason jars
- Sea salt or non-iodized salt
- Filtered water
- Measuring cups and measuring spoons
- Medium-size drinking glasses or canning weights
- Fresh vegetables of choice- I like carrots, onions, cauliflower, and broccoli
- Optional-apple cider vinegar with the mother
Lots of websites sell special fermenting equipment, but none of it is necessary or even that helpful in my opinion.
I do have an antique fermenting crock, but I still find myself choosing simple mason jars to make my fermented foods most often. This is because I can easily see how the process is going through the clear jars.
More Fermented Recipes
Are Fermented Foods Safe?
Eating fermented foods dates back to a time before written history, so humans have been eating them for a very long time. Not only are they safe for most people, but they are also very beneficial for health.
Some people who aren’t used to eating them, however, may experience some temporary gas and bloating from them. This usually goes away after eating them over the long term.
You should check with your doctor if you have a severe illness before adding fermented foods to your diet.
- 1 Wide mouth jar
- 1 Wide mouth lid
- 1 small glass
- 1 Liquid measuring cup
- 1 Cutting board
- 2 cups filtered water
- 1.5 tbsp Himalayan, Redmond salt, or sea salt don't use iodized salt
- 3 tbsp Apple cider vinegar with the mother optional
- 4 cups Chopped vegetables, such as cauliflower, carrots, onions, and broccoli choose your favorites
- Stir the salt, filtered water, and vinegar (optional) together in a liquid measuring cup. Set aside.
- Chop up your desired vegetables on a cutting board into bite-sized pieces.
- In your wide-mouth mason jar, tightly pack in the vegetables until they are 1/2 inch from the top rim of the jar.
- Pour the saltwater mixture over the top of the vegetables, making sure all the vegetables are covered in liquid completely. Leave at least 1/4 inch space at the top.
- To keep the vegetables submerged in liquid, place a clean small glass on the top. Alternatively you can place a cabbage leaf on the top to keep the vegetables in the water. It is very important to keep the vegetables submerged so that they ferment properly.
- Ferment the vegetables at room temperature and keep out of direct light for 5-7 days or until it has the flavor you desire. The warmer your room, the quicker they will ferment.
- Once they reach your desired flavor, you can then store them. Cover with a wide mouth mason lid and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
Heidi Moretti, MS, RD is The Healthy RD. A registered dietitian for 23 years as well as a book author of the new book Gut Fix and The Whole Body Guide to Gut Health, Heidi has a passion for functional nutrition and natural medicine. She has researched supplements and natural medicine throughout her career. One of her biggest loves is helping people gain function and vitality by tackling the root causes of illness.