How To Make Fermented Vegetables!
Nothing beats the flavor, color, and textures of homemade Fermented Vegetables. This recipe makes approximately a gallon, which is enough to last me and my husband for a year. I usually make a second batch to give away as gifts. These are fantastic as a condiment or as an ingredient in sandwiches. Make these yourself and you’ll never buy fermented vegetables again!
How to Ferment Vegetables
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 1 large head green cabbage
- 1 small head red or purple cabbage
- 6 medium to large carrots (Peeled, with tips and stems removed)
- 2 medium daikon, (Japanese long white radishes), no more than two inches in diameter (Peeled, with tips and stems removed)
- 1 bunch kale or collard greens (Stems removed)
- It may be a good idea to watch the video of this process before beginning.
- Have two large bowls handy to place cut vegetables. It is helpful to have a third bowl available.
- Remove the damaged outer leaves and wash cabbages thoroughly. Cut into quarters then slice down to remove the inner core. Discard.
- Wash the kale and remove the stems dividing them down the middle. Stack the two halves of the kale on top of each other. Slice across the stacks in 1/8-inch strips. Divide in half between the two bowls.
- In a food processor with a shredding attachment, shred the carrots and divide them between the two bowls. Do the same with the daikon. It is not necessary to clean the machine between uses because they are all going into the same bowls.
- Sprinkle 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt over each bowl of veggies and massage them until they begin to soften and become moist from the water content of the vegetables leaching out due to the osmosis action of the salt.
- Lay each cabbage quarter on its side. Doing one at a time, cut across the closest edge to form thin ribbons of cabbage, about 1/8-inch thick. Transfer half to each bowl. Do this until all the cabbages, both green and red, have been sliced and divided between the two bowls.
- Sprinkle the remaining salt over each bowl, tossing the various vegetables to combine. It is helpful to use a third bowl to mix some of the veggies from one bowl, salting them at the same time, then adding more veggies until they are all combined and salted. Massage the salt into the veggies. They will quickly become damp from the fluids leaching out of the veggies into the bowl. Return the veggies to their original bowl. You will notice that they no longer have the volume they initially did and are much limper than before. Do the same with the second bowl of vegetables.
- Allow to rest for thirty minutes to one hour, or until the vegetables are limp and a noticeable amount of liquid is pooling at the bottom of the bowls.
- Transfer each bowl of vegetables to a sterilized half-gallon canning jar, packing the veggies in as tightly as you can. Place a glass fermentation weight on top of the veggies if you have them. With a clean, damp cloth, wipe the rims of the jars so the caps fit without being obstructed by pieces of vegetables.
- Close with a canning lid. (You may use smaller jars but it is more convenient to ferment them for a few days in the larger jars, then transfer them to the smaller jars just before the fermentation period is over. They require a lot of monitoring for the first four or five days.)
- Place the jars on a plate or in a bowl with the canning lids slightly loosened. If you have a seedling mat, it is very useful to place the plates with the jars on it. This assures the temperature is high enough for proper fermentation to take place.
- Leave the lids slightly loose so that air can escape while the fermentation process is going on. It is normal that liquid from the vegetables will build up to the point that it spills over the sides of the jars into the plate or bowl the jars are sitting on.
Days Two and Three
- You will no doubt find liquid pooling in the bottom of the plate on which the jar of vegetables is sitting. Discard the liquid, rinse out the plate and rinse off the body of the jars, and return them to the plate. Check this once or twice during the day and discard any liquid that has accumulated. You may want to compress the vegetables in the jars with a wooden spoon to assure they are covered in liquid. Be sure to check it in the evening before going to bed and discard any accumulated liquid.
- By this time, the fermentation process should have slowed down and there is no more liquid pooling in the plates. You will notice that the vegetables are beginning to turn a rosy pink from the red cabbage in the mixture. This is a good time to transfer the vegetables to smaller jars. (I like to use pint-size canning jars.)
- With a sterilized pair of tongs, transfer the veggies, packing them as densely as possible and filling them to the rim of the jars. A clean wooden spoon is perfect for this task. The jars will hold far more vegetables than you may expect them to hold. Be sure to have your canning jars sitting inside a clean bowl before beginning to capture vegetables that are dropped and liquid that spills over. If the vegetables are not completely covered with liquid when you are done, pour some of the liquid that has spilled back into the jars.
- Tighten caps and rinse off jars. Remove heating mat to slow down the fermentation process. Place jars onto saucers and loosen lids. Allow to sit another night to make sure the liquid is not still overflowing.
Day Five and Beyond
- If there is no more spillage, tighten the jar lids. Two or three times during the day, gently loosen the lids and allow gas to escape. Retighten the lids. When there is no more gas escaping when the lids are loosened, tighten the lids permanently. Store your jars of vegetables in a cool cabinet, basement, or refrigerator.
- These vegetables are edible after about a week, however, for optimal flavor, allow them to age for at least two weeks, preferably three. Be sure to label the jars with the date you completed the process so you don't find yourself several years from now eating fermented vegetables that are past their expiration date. These should be good for a year.
Below are the equipment and products I used in this recipe. Click on the photo to order yours through my affiliate link with Amazon.com, for which I receive a small advertising fee. Please visit my Store for more information.
Simply Songer Design Custom-Made Chopping Board with 8-inch Bowl