Lactofermented Veggies

About Home Made Lactofermented veggies

Last modified on 2010-06-23 18:51:42 GMT. 2 comments. Top.

A list of links to step-by-step instructions in pictures, follow the links below. In general, it’s 2 tablespoons of whey and 1 tablespoon of sea salt to 2 little jars or one big jar. Lactofermented veggies are a really neat way to liven up foods. We’re all familliar with pickle relish, but modern relish is made with vinegar due to industrilization’s desire to have every jar be exactly the same. The old way of preserving veggies for the winter was to use good bacteria (the exact same as is found in yogurt, see how I made yogurt to start this whole process) to crowd out the bad bacteria in the jars, thus keeping the food from spoiling. goes into the same stuff that I read in Nourishing Traditions about how eating lactofermented food is so good for digestion, absorption of nutritients, and keeping the body’s bacterial system in balance. Just like soaking whole wheat flour to make bread (how I do it is here) makes it easier to digest and absorb the nutrients, not to mention how much better it tastes, lactofermenting veggies does the same for nutrient-dense but economical vegetables.

I love that I don’t have to do cans in hot water baths and pressure cookers like traditional canning. Who wants to do that in the heat of the summer when produce is ready to be picked? I just follow the instructions in Nourishing Traditions; grating or chopping my vegetable, adding salt and whey, then filtered water as needed. Screw a canning jar lid (or even a clean applesauce jar worked) on tight, but don’t do anything else. Let it sit out on the counter for a few days to get the process started, then transfer to the warm part of a fridge (or root cellar if we had that)

Surprised that my family will eat this? Well, my husband will eat the sauerkraut and pickles, nothing else so far. I’m going to try putting the radishes in his sandwiches. My daughter loves the sourness of it all, as I talked about back here.

Worried about serving your family ‘bad’ food that will make them sick? Sally Fallon, in Nourishing Traditions, states that if an occasional batch does go bad, when you open it the smell will be so awful that nothing could persuade you to eat it. I felt better knowing this. I’ll admit that last time I did let it sit in the fridge for a good week or two before trying it, to make sure that if it was going to go bad I’d be sure to know it. This time I’m more confident in the process and we started eating some ginger carrots and sauerkraut after just letting it sit 4 days.


The purple is beet kvass

Pink is radishes

Orange is ginger carrots

The pickles are pretty obvious

And the pale jars are saurkraut

On another page: Green Beans

Home Made Lactofermented Sauerkraut

Last modified on 2010-07-30 01:18:05 GMT. 10 comments. Top.

Finished and ready to ‘rest’ on the counter to start fermentation.

Beginning- coring the cabbage.

I absolutely love my Cuisinart for shredding cabbage.
My make-shift pounder. A mason jar in a plastic tupperware bin. I was surprised at how much pounding and grinding I had to do
The crushed cabbage

We’ll let it sit out 4 days, then transfer it to the bottom of the fridge.

Part of

Lactofermented Pickles

Last modified on 2009-06-30 12:22:00 GMT. 9 comments. Top.

This was what I was getting to when I was doing the yogurt and whey. I wanted real lactofermented pickles! They’re very easy once you have everything you need.

All these recipes, the pickles, the cream cheese, the yogurt are from Nourishing Traditions, which if you’re interested in this stuff you really need to buy. It’s an awesome reference.

I finally got by the health food store to buy real moist light grey sea salt this weekend. We keep it in a jar.
Salt and dill for the pickles. A tablespoon of salt, 2 tablespoons of dill, 2 tablespoons of whey
Cucumbers cut into spears. They’re not specific pickling cucumbers, they’re the only organic cucumbers that Walmart had. And whey in the background from the still-dripping cream cheese.
All mixed up with filtered water.
We want a tight seal so the fermentation can be done anaerobically (without air). The white plastic lids don’t hold tight enough, I don’t think. And allow to rest for 4 days before transferring to the fridge.

Beet Kvass- How to make (With Pictures)

Last modified on 2011-02-28 15:14:10 GMT. 14 comments. Top.

At first I wasn’t sure what I thought of beet kvass, and I origionally bought the beets to do pickled beets. But that required baking them for 3 hours and it’s hot- didn’t want the oven going for 3 hours.

Beet kvass, like all the lactofermented veggies I’ve been doing lately, is supposed to be really good for digestion. The lactofermentation brings out the nutrients in the beets, making them easier to absorb in the body. It also is raw, so has the enzymes in it still that are so essential to life.

Beet kvass is recommended as a tonic, so we’ll try drinking the liquid or adding it to salad dressings and other things where it will remain uncooked so the enzymes stay intact.


Nourishing Traditions (where I got the idea for this) said to coarsely chop, not grate, because grated beets would turn into alcohol. I’m not sure how coarsely to chop, so I did one in bigger chunks, one in smaller.
With the whey, filtered water, and salt. We let them sit on the counter for 3 days with the jam jars screwed on securely (but not boiled or cooked or steamed or anything) and then transfered to the fridge to stay.

Lactofermented Beet Kvass Digestive Tonic

  • 2-3 large beets
  • 1 tablespoon whey per quart
  • 1 teaspoon unrefined sea salt per quart
  • filtered water to fill to 1 inch of the top of the jar

Wash, peel, and chop beets. Fill the jar 3/4 full with beets, add salt and whey, fill the rest of the way with filtered water. Screw on a tight fitting lid, allow to ferment 3-5 days, then transfer to the fridge. You can use the beets for a second ferment after drinking all the liquid kvass by repeating the water/whey/salt instructions.

Ginger carrots, lactofermented

Last modified on 2009-07-03 04:14:00 GMT. 3 comments. Top.

For ginger carrots. Organic carrots, couldn’t find organic ginger.
Mixing the whey, salt, carrots and ginger.

Pressing to get the carrot juice outPressing again once it’s in the jar. I’m a messy cook ~grin~

Healthy Mayonnaise

Last modified on 2009-07-07 01:38:00 GMT. 2 comments. Top.

I’ve been wanting to do real mayonnaise for a long time now. I did decent stuff back in 2007 but it was with canola oil, which we’re avoiding now because it’s genetically modified. At least it wasn’t the partially hydroginated soybean oil that’s in commercial mayo.

This weekend I finally gave up on the kitchenaid and used the food processor, which is what is recommended in Nourishing Traditions anyway. I hadn’t used it before because I find it a pain to clean, and also I wasn’t sure which blade to use. I just used the biggest metal sharp blade and it worked really well. I remembered that this was why I bought the grape seed oil, and since the grape seed oil is bright green my mayo has a green tint but that’s fine. I ran out of grape seed oil before it was done, so there’s some olive oil in it too.

I added whey also, so it’s lactofermented. After letting it sit out for 7 hours (which is so counter intuitive! Haven’t we been trained since forever to never let mayonaise sit out?) it did thicken up, and then even more after being in the fridge. I’m happy with it and am officially no longer intimidated by a little oil, salt, raw eggs, and whey.

On soaked whole wheat bread with my crockpot chicken, lactofermented radishes, and just plain French’s mustard since I haven’t gotten around to making that yet.

More pickles, and green beans (lactofermented)

Last modified on 2009-07-09 12:15:00 GMT. 1 comment. Top.

We did some more pickles, in rounds this time for sandwiches. And my friend suggested green beans, so I picked some up at Costco and did those too.

Hannah and I have been devouring the pickle spears that we made last week. And since we’re mostly milk free, I’m thrilled to be getting some good bacteria for us (through the whey) that most people can get from yogurt.

Honestly, as healthy and frugal as I try to be, I still way too often find produce rather… wilted… at the bottom of my fridge at the end of the week. Preparing my veggies this way keeps that from happening, which is great for our health and dollars.

More about easy nourishing lactofermented veggies

And this ties right into what Kimi is talking about at The Nourishing Gourmet, not wasting food. Hop on over there for more frugal fare at Pennywise Platter Thursday

Homemade Lactofermented Ginger Ale

Last modified on 2010-09-21 02:13:14 GMT. 2 comments. Top.

Ginger Ale from a can isn’t something beneficial for anyone to drink (corn syrup, artificial flavoring, not to mention aluminum or plastic leaching out from most commercial containers). ┬áBut homemade ‘soda’ or Ginger Ale is a healthy treat, rich with probiotics that help your digestion and help you to absorb the most from your food. Ginger is a natural antiinflammitory and a tried and true remedy for upset tummies.

Want to get started making your own homemade healthy sodas? See my Resource Page!

From Nourishing Traditions, but in true-to-me form modified to suit the ingredients I had on hand. Sugar rather than rapadura, lemon juice rather than lime juice, and cut the recipe in half because I didn’t have enough lemon juice or ginger.

Ginger Ale Recipe and Instructions

1/2 cup peeled and chopped or grated ginger
2 tablespoons whey
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice

Put in a jar, fill to within one inch of the top with filtered water. Shake to mix. Allow to sit out to lactoferment for 3 days, transfered to the fridge. She says it’s best sipped in small quantities at room temperature rather than being chilled.

Tried it a few days later. Ahem, I think it’s alcoholic. Didn’t give it to my girlie girl. A little strong to drink straight, so I watered it down, I want to try it with sparkling water as recommended. It’s good, not the cornsyrupy sweet of commercial ginger ale, but it’s good.


Consolidating Lactofermented Veggies into Relish

Last modified on 2009-10-17 21:30:00 GMT. 2 comments. Top.

The bottom shelf of my fridge was buckling under the weight of all my lactofermented veggies. Some of the pickles I did (above) were a little softer than we liked, but I thought they would still make fine relish. So I drained 4 jars of pickles and added some peppers for color, and pulsed to chop in my food processor.
Did the same with my radishes and the rest of the peppers.
Consolidated 9 jars down to two, and was able to finally put away the rest of my groceries (grin). Plus, I find relish to be easy to add to sandwiches, burritos, soup, etc.

More posts:

All About Lactofermented Veggies

Not into experimenting with veggies? You can still good probiotics with yogurt- easy to make in the cooler.


  1. I love ginger ale! But I use maple syrup because I avoid refined sugar. I use the Instructables recipe that calls for honey, but with maple syrup it’s fizzier! It’s also fizzier with kefir whey.

  2. I am wondering what is your source of why. I strained some organic yogurt. ( Pasteurized ) But I was still hoping that this would be ok to use to get my vegetables lacto fermented

  3. I’ve been making beet kvass for about a year now, weekly, and follow Nourishing Traditions recipe. It does not call for the amount of beets that I see in your jars. I’d say maybe only 1/3 full with the same amount of whey and salt, then water of course. Question? How does yours come out? Occasionally mine has poured like raw egg whites and I think that’s when I used more beets and chopped them to fine. Now I just do a large dice and no more egg white look. I also saw somebody else’s online that actually had a head of foam like beer. That’s never happened to mine. How about yours?

  4. Bethany – the “sugar sources” you could use in place of refined beet and cane sugars are infinate.
    There is sorgum, coconut crystals (which is like the “maple sugar sap” from a coconut tree, and my favorite), organic tropical inulins, and many more. It looks like the maple syrup is working great for you, though.

  5. Pretty food photos! Thanks for the recipes.

    I’ve been eating at least a beet a fay for anemia. Have you found a way to peel without leaving your hands red?

    See you on FB. BTW, You are the age of my oldest daughter. :)

  6. How long will these keep? I’m looking for a good way to preserve my veggies for over the winter… :)

  7. Oh I love this! That reminds me I have Nourishing Traditions as well. Gotta start going through that for ideas for preserving.
    Do you know if you can use Kefir whey to lacto ferment your veggies?

  8. Great website, tons of dear to my heart information. Thank you!
    I noticed you are saying that lactofermeted jars need to be closed tightly. Based on my samewhat life-long experience (I grew up in Russia), I think it is not necessary. As long as veggies are covered with juice, anaerobic process will prevail, no matter what. Lactobacteria are the strongest of all, if conditions are right for them. In Russia, lactofermentation is still considered superior to vinegar pickling. We make our pickles and sauerkraut in buckets, covered with cheesecloth. By the way, you can try sauerkraut without heavy pounding. Just pick juicy cabbage (important), add some shredded carrots for lively color, salt, work it with your hands to just soften a bit, pack into container with wide mouth, place a plate on the top and a stone or other weight on the top of plate. Juice will surface on next day and will cover cabbage. The end result will be much crunchier then German style. Ok, back to reading your wonderful creative recipes!

  9. Oh, yes.. In Russia we never add whey. I guess it speeds up process and insures results but can be done without. Lactobacteria are in the air.

    • The amount of lactobacillus in the air is really not the deciding factor. If you were to pasteurize your veggies first, your veggies would spoil. Lactobacilli occur naturally on pretty much all vegetables.

  10. I have a severe dairy allergy. Can fermented vegetables be made without the whey?

    • Yes, they can ! Nourishing Traditions recommends doubling the salt, but I don’t do that because I find they do fine without it.

  11. Love your site and I too have been experimenting with lacot-fermentation the Sally Fallon Way, with whey. I read Wild Fermentations, and its a fun read, but he does admit to a lot of failures and gives Sally kudos for using whey and why she does. About your choice of oil for mayo, and I make mayo often for us. Sally and Mary recommend using a combo of olive oil, coconut oil and sesame oil. I tried it and did a demo for our WAPF chapter. It’s very good and they say the most healthy oils to use if you cannot tolerate 100% olive, which most people find too strong. Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist uses 100% sunflower. I like a combo of sunflower, 3/4 to 1/4 olive. Yes! What a leap of faith to let it sit out for 7 hours while lacto-fermenting, but it turns out perfect every time! If you want thicker, try 2 cups of oil to 1 egg, plus 2 egg yolks instead of NT recipe, which I find rather thin. Thanks again for this great site!

  12. Shelley. Yes they can be fermented without whey. Read Nourishing Traditions and Wild Fermentation. Sally Fallon says to omit the whey if you are allergic to dairy and add more salt. I think the salt is more important than they whey, but the addition of whey pretty much guarantees that your product will be successful.

  13. I have a question, as far as the lacto fermented carrots, Do you think it would still turn out if i used my carrot pulp from juicing to make this? Still looking for ideas to use them up rather than always composting it.

  14. I was wondering if you could use a Kefir Starter in place of whey? I find it at my health food store in Indiana, the brand is Omega Nutrition or something like that.

  15. Love the post! I too make sour Kraut and Love it! I have learned though that instead of beating it by hand, I can place it in my Kitchen aide . I attach the paddle and mix on medium until it is nice and ready for jars. This has saved me LOTS of time. While the kitchen aide is doing the work I can prepare jars or work on something else.
    Don’t you just LOVE how the fermented veggies make you feel? I know I do!

  16. Donna Gruwell says:

    After the veggie such as sauerkraut is fermented, can’t he veggie be used in hot sandwiches,without losing the benefit of the probiotic?

  17. Donna Gruwell says:

    Can the fermented veggies be used in hot sandwiches and dishes without losing the benefit of the fermentation and biotic?

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