Condiments

Easy Fermented Vegetables With Just Salt And Water

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Easy Fermented vegetables are the ideal probiotic-rich companion for any meal and easy to make at home. All you need is water, salt, vegetables.

 fermented pickles, carrots, and radishes
 carrots on tray
carrots, pickles and radishes in jars with dill
radishes with dill sprig
carrots with dill slices

When I lived in Romania, my family shopped at the local farmers market and ate seasonally. There was really no choice as it was that or starve. We didn’t have well-stocked grocery stores so we had to be prepared. In anticipation of cold, long winters, my grandparents would ferment large quantities of vegetables that were not available in the winter. Little did I know just how beneficial fermented vegetables were. 

Why eat fermented vegetables

Our western diet has done a number on gut flora and our digestive system as many of us are eating foods our body simply does not know how to assimilate and has a difficult time digesting. But I’m a firm believer that by eating fermented foods daily we can rebuild our healthy guts. This is in turn helps with food absorption, improved digestion, and overall health. After all, if our gut isn’t healthy, then every other system in the body will be affected.

Fermented vegetables provide natural probiotics

I’m a proponent of supplementation but I’m also a firm believer that we can get everything we need from food. And one of the best ways to populate and heal our guts is through consuming probiotic-rich fermented foods daily. It is a cheaper and healthier alternative to taking a pill every day.

How to make fermented vegetables

In order to demystify fermenting, I wanted to share some very basic recipes I frequently make. The easiest way to start is by using brine and cut up vegetables.

To make the brine, all you need is a quart of room temperature water and 2-3 tbsp of fine sea salt. I prefer using fine salt as it dissolves quicker. Once the salt and water are combined, your brine is ready.

Feel free to add the seasoning of your choice. I prefer dill and garlic. 

Step 1. Prior to starting the fermentation process, I recommend putting your jars and lids into a large pot of water and boiling them for at least 10 minutes. You can do this while you make your brine and the jars and brine can cool at the same time.

Step 2. To prepare the brine, combine warm water and salt and set aside to cool.

Step 3. Slice garlic cloves and add to jars along with as much fresh dill as you want.

Step 4. Slice radishes and cut carrots and pickles to be slightly shorter than the jar. Tightly pack each into jars, as many as can fit. Pour the cooled brine and fill all the way to the top ensuring that vegetables are covered completely. 

Step 5. Twist on the lid and let ferment at room temperature for 7-14 days. Keep away from an area with temperature fluctuations such as a stove. If you have leftover brine, store it in the refrigerator and used at a later point. 

Preparing your jars before fermenting

I like throwing my jars and lids in a pot of boiling water to ensure the jars are clean and your vegetables ferment properly. Sometimes soap and water don’t do the trick of removing whatever occupied the jars previously, so it’s an added step in ensuring you start with the cleanest possibly jars, in order for the saltwater to do its magic on the vegetables.

How long does it take to ferment vegetables?

I can be quite impatient and have opened carrots at about day 8-10. Ideally, I like to give them about 14 days but they’ll be quite delicious if you’re as impatient as I am! Once open, store the fermented vegetables in the refrigerator.

Can you use different vegetables?

When it comes to fermenting, the options are limitless. There are no rules really but some vegetables may not need to rest in brine as they can produce water on their own. One example is sauerkraut. Here is a simple recipe for making your own sauerkraut.

Best vegetables for fermenting

  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Radishes
  • Green beans
  • Bell peppers
  • Cauliflower
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Turnips
  • Rutabaga

So here are three basic fermented vegetable recipes to get you started! They’re as much fun to make as they are to eat! If you want to make a batch of mixed vegetables, try this fermented vegetable medley.

Where can you find jars for fermenting vegetables?

You can find fermenting jars in most kitchen supply stores and sometimes even in supermarkets. I get mine online here. You can use whatever size jar you prefer. I prefer pint-size jars as those seem to work out best and are easily stored in the refrigerator once opened. 

More Fermented Vegetable Recipes

sideways view of cucumbers, sliced radishes and carrot sticks in jars
Easy Fermented Vegetables in jars with radishes, cucumbers and carrots and dill

Simple Fermented Vegetables

Yield: 6-8 (12oz) jars
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 8 days
Total Time: 8 days 15 minutes
Fermented vegetables are the ideal companion to any meal. They are loaded with probiotics, can improve digestion and incredibly easy to make at home. All you need is water, salt, vegetables and time!

Ingredients

  • 1-2 lbs organic carrots cut into sticks
  • 1 bag organic radishes, sliced
  • 6-8 organic pickling cucumbers
  • 1 quart filtered water
  • 2-3 tablespoons fine sea salt
  • 2-3 sliced cloves garlic (or more)
  • a few sprigs fresh dill

Instructions

  1. Prior to starting the fermentation process, I recommend putting your jars and lids into a large pot of water and boiling them for at least 10 minutes. You can do this while you make your brine and the jars and brine can cool at the same time.
  2. To prepare brine, combine warm water and salt and set aside to cool.
  3. Slice garlic cloves and add to jars along with as much fresh dill as you want.
  4. Slice radishes and cut carrots and pickles to be slightly shorter than the jar. Tightly pack each into jars, as many as can fit. Pour the cooled brine and fill all the way to the top ensuring that vegetables are covered completely. 
  5. Twist on the lid and let ferment at room temperature for 7-14 days. Keep away from an area with temperature fluctuations such as a stove. If you have leftover brine, store it in the refrigerator and used at a later point. 
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 15Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 817mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 0g

Your shares are very much appreciated!

Do you find this recipe helpful? Your shares would be much appreciated! You can find me on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram . If you make and like a recipe, tag me on Instagram and I'd love to share your posts in stories! x - Daniela

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31 Comments

  • Reply
    Carol Little R.H. @studiobotanica
    February 20, 2018 at 3:04 pm

    Thank you for sharing this idea and presenting it in a very easy DIY way. I am sure that many will try this and enjoy and become ‘fermenting fiends’ ~ I will make this for sure! So pretty too.. bet the veggies stay fresh ‘n crisp!

    • Reply
      Daniela Modesto
      February 20, 2018 at 8:42 pm

      Ah they really do taste quite good and honestly so simple to whip up!

  • Reply
    Gerlinde
    February 20, 2018 at 3:31 pm

    I love pickled veggies, thanks for the easy recipe.

    • Reply
      Daniela Modesto
      February 20, 2018 at 8:41 pm

      You’re so welcome! I love them too!

  • Reply
    Shelby @Fitasamamabear
    February 20, 2018 at 6:15 pm

    So tasty and so healthy for you! Fermenting blows my mind how awesome it it 😀

    • Reply
      Daniela Modesto
      February 20, 2018 at 8:41 pm

      I agree…such a simple method yet so amazing!

  • Reply
    theresa
    February 20, 2018 at 6:55 pm

    Thanks for sharing this I’ve been wanting to try

  • Reply
    Raia
    February 20, 2018 at 8:15 pm

    Mmmm… those pickles look amazing! I want some right now. 🙂

    • Reply
      Daniela Modesto
      February 20, 2018 at 8:41 pm

      hahah yes, they are quite delicious!

  • Reply
    Melissa @Real Nutritious Living
    February 20, 2018 at 11:16 pm

    I’ve been wanting to make these! So pretty!

  • Reply
    linda spiker
    February 21, 2018 at 12:38 am

    These look amazing! And your photos are gorgeous as always!

  • Reply
    Jen Mc
    February 21, 2018 at 5:46 pm

    DO you need to release the lids daily while its fermenting or keep them closed?

    • Reply
      Daniela Modesto
      February 21, 2018 at 6:01 pm

      You can if your lids are budging and look like they need to be released. I haven’t had to. It’s a personal choice really. Some methods say to release once or twice a day if you have a super active ferment.

  • Reply
    Billy
    February 27, 2018 at 8:44 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing this recipe! I love fermenting vegetables and pickles and definitely can’t wait to try this at home!

    • Reply
      Daniela Modesto
      February 27, 2018 at 11:15 pm

      Hi Billy – I’m so happy to hear this! I just opened a fresh batch of carrots and radishes after 8 days and they were delicious!

  • Reply
    michele
    April 3, 2019 at 12:12 am

    I’m new to fermenting so this is probably a silly question but it says to ferment for 7-14 days and in your blog you said that you used to ferment veggies to be had all year. What do you do with them after the 14 days to keep the preserved for the winter?

    • Reply
      Daniela Modesto
      April 3, 2019 at 1:57 am

      Hi Michele – My grandparents kept them all winter too! After 14 days you can put them in the fridge and eat them but if they’re airtight and properly preserved, they can ferment for months and months. After 14 days they’ve had enough fermentation though and could be placed in the refrigerator once opened! I hope this helps!

  • Reply
    carol A. carrick
    November 13, 2020 at 6:11 pm

    thank you for the wonderful information but I must have missed where you indicated jar size for these recipes. Are you using quarts or pints or larger? Thank you,

    • Reply
      Daniela Modesto
      November 13, 2020 at 10:29 pm

      Hi Carol! Thank you so much for visiting! The size jar is entirely up to you! Pint-size would work perfectly for this! I will go ahead and include this in the text as well to make sure it’s clear! Thank you so much and happy fermenting! 🙂

  • Reply
    Jessica
    December 13, 2020 at 7:51 am

    Do you ever add vinegar, wine, soy sauce, fish sauce, or sugars? Would it mess up the fermentation process?

    • Reply
      Daniela Modesto
      December 13, 2020 at 2:22 pm

      Hi Jessica, those sound amazing but they would interfere with the process that provides the gut healthy bacteria. This is why salt and water are the essentials here. If probiotics are not a concern, experimenting with flavors sounds amazing and worth a go! 🙂

  • Reply
    Dee Meyer
    January 16, 2021 at 6:55 pm

    To have these all year, can they be stored as other canned vegetables? I wouldn’t have room in my refrigerator to store all I need. So I guess I’m asking if this makes them shelf stable.

    • Reply
      Daniela Modesto
      January 16, 2021 at 7:14 pm

      Hi Dee! I completely understand! If you’re looking to make a big batch, you can use a large jar and store it in a cool, dry place (such as a basement) for up to 3 months. They will be perfectly preserved. This will also work for small jars if that’s all you have to work with! The salt will act as a preservative. 🙂

      • Reply
        Jessica Crew
        July 5, 2021 at 2:01 am

        Hi I read in the comments that unopened these last 3 months outside of fridge. How long do they last in the fridge unopened? All winter, plus some? (5- 7 months?)

        Also you said any jar is fine with your specified amount of salt. I believed you used pint size. Assuming you don’t need to double the salt if you double the jar size?

        • Reply
          Daniela Modesto
          July 5, 2021 at 10:54 am

          I haven’t tested them that long as my children typically devour them well before they reach that stage but I would imagine if you’re looking to keep them for that long, they would be fine. Salt is a preservative. And as far as the jar, it doesn’t really matter as you would prepare your brine in advance separately. All you need to do is combine the salt and warm water and set aside to cool, then you can use the brine in any size jars you wish! I hope this helps!

  • Reply
    Beth
    March 10, 2021 at 4:57 pm

    Hi! I’m new to fermenting veggies and I don’t see anything about having to burp these every day. Is that not necessary here? Thanks so much!

    • Reply
      Daniela Modesto
      March 11, 2021 at 1:43 am

      Hi Beth! Not necessary! If that’s something you want to do, you certainly can but I don’t burp them and they turn out perfectly fine 🙂 I learned it from my Romanian grandparents and they would put the lid on and forget until they were ready to open them!

  • Reply
    Christina Hammond
    June 11, 2021 at 4:54 am

    Ok, so then you open and eat as raw veggies? Because if you cooked them you would lose probiotic part, right?
    I’ve never seen orange cauliflower? Is that because it is organic?

    • Reply
      Daniela Modesto
      June 11, 2021 at 10:34 am

      Hi Christina! Yes, you got it. The salt naturally preserves crunch and ferments the vegetables to they are tangy and salty. You can find different varieties of cauliflower-like green, yellow, orange, purple. Sometimes they’re organic, others not, depending on where they are grown.

  • Reply
    Kaylyn
    August 10, 2021 at 5:46 pm

    Hi! My pickles are becoming yellowish, cloudy and there is a milk white residue on the bottom. Is this normal?

    • Reply
      Daniela Modesto
      August 10, 2021 at 8:25 pm

      Hi Kaylyn! There could be several reasons for this. It could be residual bacteria or yeast that’s left in the jar. Was the jar fully cleaned prior? Also, the garlic can sometimes break apart and cause the whitish residue you’re seeing. You can be your own judge and see how the pickles taste. They may still be perfectly fine. Also, how long have you been fermenting them? What kind of salt also? Feel free to shoot me an email and I’m more than happy to trouble shoot or we can continue talking over comments! Whichever works for you 🙂 Email is calmeats@gmail.com

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