Top 10 Vegetables to Ferment this Harvest Season

Autumn vegetables always arrive in abundance, whether at the market, at your family farmer, or in your own garden. To preserve the freshness of the harvest and to prolong the season, turn to lacto-fermentation!

Lacto-fermentation, also known as salt-based fermentation, is a safe and easy home preservation process. All you need is the right equipment and to follow the recipe!

Unlike other types of preservation, such as canning, lacto-fermentation is completely safe, with no risk of food poisoning. The secret of the process? The acidity that is naturally created in the jars. No risk of botulism!

Fermented vegetables also have many health benefits. They are full of probiotics, more digestible than raw and their nutrients are preserved, even enhanced, by the action of good bacteria.

And above all, they taste so good! Vegetables develop interesting flavours and textures. You’ll quickly become addicted!

Fermented Vegetables

What Are the Steps to Make a Lacto-Fermentation?

Fermenting vegetables is not complicated! Each recipe follows the same steps:

  1. Chop the vegetables
  2. Add salt
  3. Put in a jar
  4. Wait!

To find out more, read our full guide to lacto-fermentation. We also have plenty of recipes and guides on fermented vegetables to inspire and teach you.

Top 10 Vegetables

So here are the top 10 vegetables to ferment to make the most of the harvest season!

Click on the vegetable you’re interested in to access its section:

 

1. Cabbage

Green cabbage for fermentation

Cabbage is the perfect vegetable for fermentation, and not without good reason! Cabbage is:

  • Cheap
  • Easy to find
  • Delicious
  • Hard to fail in fermentation!

With salt and a little time, cabbage turns into a crunchy and juicy sauerkraut.

All cabbages can be fermented! We love using white cabbage (green cabbage) and red cabbage for their interesting textures and flavours. Read more: Which cabbage for sauerkraut?

Cabbage goes well with all kinds of spices, including the traditional juniper berries and bay leaves. Caraway, fennel, dill, and curry are also popular.

Don’t hesitate to add other vegetables to cabbage, such as onions, apples, carrots, garlic, or chili peppers, to vary the flavours.

Psst! Check out our sauerkraut kit!

Fermented Cabbage Recipes (Sauerkraut)

Bonus recipe: 6 fermented cabbage recipes from around the world.

2. Carrots

Bunch of carrots from the garden for fermentation

Carrots can be used in all kinds of fermentations, but they also shine on their own!

Try fermented carrots:

  • Shredded, like sauerkraut
  • Sliced, for sandwiches
  • In sticks, as a crunchy crudité

You can also play around with flavours: a slice of orange in your jar for a sweet version, a curry spice blend for an Indian-style condiment, or simply ginger and garlic as a side dish for an Asian dish.

Addicted to carrot juice? Try our lacto-fermented vegetable juice recipe!

Fermented Carrot Recipes

3. Beets

bunches of beetroot from the garden

Beets are great for fermentation! Lacto-fermented beets are very popular in Eastern Europe.

All beets can be fermented, so don’t stop at red beets! Pink, yellow, white, and chioggia make colourful and tasty jars.

However, beetroot contains a lot of sugar, which can throw off the fermentation process. It is preferable to combine it with other vegetables, such as turnips, carrots, or cabbage.

Fermented beetroot can become sticky. This is normal and harmless! A friendly bacterium has taken hold. Use these beets in soups or stir-fries or rinse them before you eat them.

Beets are also used to make kvass, a lacto-fermented beverage. Try it!

Recipe for Pickled Beet Sticks

  1. Cut the beets into sticks.
  2. Add 1 tbsp. salt and 1 tsp. pickling spices per 1L jar.
  3. Fill the jars with the beetroot sticks and a few garlic cloves.
  4. Cover with water, cover with a weight, and close.
  5. Let them ferment for 3 weeks at room temperature.

Beetroot and grated carrots

  1. Grate carrots and beetroot in equal parts.
  2. Add 1 tbsp. (20 g) of salt per kilogram of vegetable. Mix well.
  3. Place in a jar, cover with a weight, and let it ferment for 3 weeks.

4. Tomatoes

Tomatoes from the garden for fermentation

Managing the abundance of tomatoes in the fall… quite a challenge! No matter how hard you try, they seem to ripen and mature all at once.

Tomatoes can be lacto-fermented, but the results are not the same as when they are canned. During fermentation, tomatoes acquire acidity and lose their texture.

However, we like to ferment cherry tomatoes, which explode with flavour. Green tomatoes can also be fermented. When fried, fermented green tomatoes taste like fried pickles!

Our favourite way to ferment tomatoes is as salsa, tomato sauce, or bruschetta.

To keep the texture of the tomatoes, add ¼ tsp. of calcium chloride per 1L jar.

Fermented Bruschetta Recipe

Dice two tomatoes, basil, two garlic cloves, and a quarter of an onion. Weigh and add 2% of the weight in salt. Mix well and put in a jar. Let it ferment for 48 hours and serve on a toasted baguette.

Other Lacto-Fermented Tomato Recipes

 

5. Cauliflower

Garden cauliflower for fermentation

Cauliflower goes well with all kinds of vegetables.

Simply place the florets in brine with your favourite spices. They can be fermented alone or with a few friends (carrots, peppers, celery, onions).

For a wow effect, venture to ferment purple or yellow cauliflower or even Romanesco… Something to liven up your plate! You can find them at your favourite market gardener’s stand.

Only have a white cauliflower on hand? Put a few pieces of beetroot in the jar to share its pretty colour.

Cauliflower can contain sulphur compounds, which give a strong smell during fermentation. Don’t be intimidated, they are still delicious!

Fermented Curried Cauliflower Recipe

  1. Cut the cauliflower into small florets.
  2. Put 1 tbsp. salt and 1 tsp. curry spice in a 1L jar.
  3. Stack the florets.
  4. Cover with water, place a weight and close the jar.
  5. Let it ferment for 1 to 2 weeks.

Fermented Cauliflower Italian Style Recipe (Giardiniera)

  1. Chop and mix cauliflower, carrots, chili peppers, and celery in a large bowl.
  2. Put 1 tbsp. salt and 1 tbsp. Italian spices in a 1L jar.
  3. Cover with water, place a weight and close the jar.
  4. Let it ferment for 3 weeks.

 

 

6. Green Beans

Freshly picked green beans

Unlike soft, tasteless canned beans, lacto-fermented beans retain their freshness and taste!

To keep them crunchy, we recommend adding a small amount of calcium chloride.

Once fermented, eat the beans like pickles, or fry them in a little oil with nuts and herbs.

They are also very good in cold salads and sandwiches.

Pickle-Style Fermented Beans Recipe

  1. Cut off the ends of the beans
  2. Put 1 tbsp. salt and ¼ tsp. calcium chloride in a 1L jar.
  3. Stack the beans, two garlic cloves, and fresh dill.
  4. Cover with water, place a ViscoDisc insert, and close the jar.
  5. Let it ferment for 1 to 2 weeks.

Fermented Beans With Lemon Recipe

  1. Cut off the ends of the beans
  2. Put 1 tbsp. of salt and ¼ tsp. of calcium chloride in a 1L jar.
  3. Stack the beans and 1 slice of lemon (with the peel) in the jar.
  4. Cover with water, place a ViscoDics insert, and close the jar.
  5. Let it ferment for 1 to 2 weeks.

7. Celery

Celery stalks in a dish for fermentation

Lacto-fermented celery is delicious after only one week of fermentation.

It can be fermented as a stick or chopped. It is best fermented in brine so that it retains some of its crunchiness.

The best way to keep celery crunchy during fermentation is to use calcium chloride and not let it ferment for too long.

Once fermented, it can be kept indefinitely in the fridge, so you can always have some on hand to make pasta salads or put in your chicken sandwiches.

Our favourite way to use it? Add a stick of fermented celery to a nice Bloody Mary!

Fermented Celery Stick Recipe

  1. Cut the celery into sticks and place vertically in a 500 ml jar.
  2. Add 1 tsp. pickling spice, a little dill, a garlic clove, and ½ tbsp. salt.
  3. Cover with water. Add a weight and close the jar.
  4. Let it ferment for a week.
  5. Add diced celery to your tuna, chicken, or pasta salads.

Fermented Celery, Mirepoix Style Recipe

  1. Chop carrots, onions, and celery into small cubes.
  2. Fill a 500 ml jar. Add ½ tbsp. salt and cover with water.
  3. Add a weight, close the jar, and let it ferment for 3 weeks.
  4. Use it in your soup and stew recipes.

8. Hot Peppers

Chili peppers for making fermented hot sauce

Chili peppers can be fermented whole, sliced, pureed, alone, or with other vegetables.

Chilies tend to soften during fermentation. If you make them into a hot sauce after fermentation, this is an advantage!

If you want to eat them in slices, add ¼ tsp. of calcium chloride to each 1L jar. The chilies will keep their texture and taste great in your next nachos.

Don’t throw away the brine in which the peppers have fermented. It will be excellent in your marinades or vinaigrettes.

Recipe for Chili Pepper Rings

  1. Cut the chilies into rings. Remove the core and seeds if desired.
  2. Add 1 tbsp. salt, ¼ tsp. calcium chloride per 1L jar.
  3. Fill the jars with chili rings and a few garlic cloves.
  4. Cover with water, place a ViscoDisc insert, and close.
  5. Let it ferment for 3 weeks at room temperature.

Other Chili Pepper Recipes

Want to know more about hot sauces? Get the book “Fiery Ferments“, which offers many recipes and techniques for fermenting chilies (and all the other spices that have the potential to awaken our taste buds).

9. Garlic

White and pink garlic cloves

Fermentation softens the spiciness of raw garlic while retaining its distinctive good taste. And the good news is that its characteristics and nutrients are preserved and even increased tenfold!

There are two ways to ferment garlic: pureed or in brine.

The puree can be easily incorporated into salad dressings and marinades, while the whole fermented cloves can be used like fresh ones… or just as they are, to crunch like pickles.

In lacto-fermentations, garlic cloves can turn blue or green. Don’t worry, this is perfectly normal and edible! The acidity is the cause, and it reacts to chemical compounds in garlic.

Garlic in Brine Recipe

  1. Peel the garlic cloves.
  2. Add 10 g of salt per 500 ml jar.
  3. Stack the garlic cloves in the jars.
  4. Cover with water and place a weight. Close the jars.
  5. Forget about the jars in a cupboard until you move.

Other Fermented Garlic Recipes

10. Onions

Yellow onion bulbs

If you like pickled onions, You’ll love fermented onions!

Lacto-fermented onions have more subtle flavours and a less acidic taste than their pickled cousins.

Looking for a little colour? Ferment red onions for your burgers, salads, and sandwiches.

Also consider small pearl onions, to be fermented whole in brine. As a side dish for raclette or stew, they disappear in no time!

They are also delicious in vegetable mixes or lacto-fermented salsa.

Fermented Onion Paste Recipe

  1. Peel the onions
  2. In a food processor, finely grate 500 g of onions
  3. Add 10 g of salt and mix well
  4. Put them in a jar and cover them with a weight
  5. Let them ferment for 3 weeks at room temperature

Fermented onion paste can be mixed with mayonnaise for sandwiches or used in recipes to replace onions.

Other Fermented Onion Recipes

How to Eat Fermented Autumn Vegetables?

Are your jars ready? Great! Now it’s up to you to take every opportunity to devour the contents!

Slip your fermented vegetables into your sandwiches, burgers, and pita bread for a little crunch and flavour boost.

Add them to your abundance bowls for a little freshness: Buddha bowl, bibimbap, dragon bowl, etc.

Alternatively, add them to your fried rice and soups to balance the flavours. Or simply serve them as a side dish to any meal.

Check out our 44 Ideas for Eating Fermented Vegetables!

Enjoy your meal!

Get Started!

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