Fermented Vegetables

I can honestly say that if you had asked me a year ago if I would eat fermented vegetables my answer would have been a very loud “NO WAY!”

However, through all of the reading, study and research I have now done I have realised just how important our gut microbes – our microbiome, is to both physical and mental health. It is here that our immune system is located, that determines whether our body functions in a way that either keeps our brains and bodies healthy and functioning well or causes our body to develop inflammation and consequently diseases.

Inflammation can be at the root of autoimmune disorders, depression and a host of other health problems. Schizophrenia has also been linked to inflammation as have many other diseases. In order to reduce inflammation in our bodies we need to remove inflammatory foods, environmental toxins and improve our gut health. Gut health is affected by many factors, including the use of antibiotics, toxins, certain foods and also the type of birth we have and whether or not we are breastfed.

Fermented vegetables are one way that we can introduce good bacteria into our digestive system to help recolonise the healthy bacteria in our guts and therefore take control of our own health and wellbeing. As it turns out, they actually taste great!

There are several delicious fermented veggies available to buy but making your own is cheap, easy and I find it gives me a great sense of satisfaction! This recipe is my current favourite but it is just one of many types of fermented veggies. Feel free to mix it up with the veggies, herbs or spices that you like.


Half a cabbage (any kind you like)

2 carrots

4 – 5 beetroots

4 – 5 cloves of garlic

1/2 – 1 teaspoon turmeric

1 tablespoon Himalayan salt


Finely grate or chop the veggies – I find doing it the food processor the quickest and easiest way.

Mix by hand in a large bowl.

fermented vegetables

Add in the turmeric (you could also add some ginger if you like it) and mix well.

Add in the salt and massage into the veggies until a large amount of liquid has come out. You need enough liquid to completely cover the vegetables when they are in the jar.

fermeted vegetables

Place into jars making sure that you leave at least 2 cm at the top for the veggies to expand (otherwise you will end up with lovely pink liquid all over your benchtop – yes, I have had that experience). Make sure that the liquid completely covers the veggies (or they will go mouldy). If you need to you could add a small amount of water. Some people also like to cover the veggies with a cabbage leaf and something to weigh them down so they stay covered in liquid. I have tried it both with and without and haven’t noticed any difference as long as there is enough liquid.

Pop on the lids and leave on your benchtop for at least a week to ferment. The jar in this picture should have more room left at the top of it. Don’t fill yours as much as this.

fermented vegetables

I like to cover my jars with a tea towel although I am not sure whether this is strictly necessary!

You will be able to see bubbles forming as the veggies ferment.

After a week or so, place in the fridge and enjoy a small amount with each meal. You can try different fermenting times to see what gets you the taste you like the best. Some people leave them for up to 6 weeks but I usually can’t wait much longer than a week before I need to eat them!

Note: if you are new to fermented veggies then take it slowly. Start with a teaspoon once a day and work up to larger amounts more frequently. The effects of clearing out bad gut bacteria can be a bit unpleasant 😉

fermented veggies with scrambled eggs

I would love to hear your favourite fermented veggies combination.


26 thoughts on “Fermented Vegetables

  1. Hi, do you think I could make it without the garlic. Garlic (and onion) do not agree with me!!

  2. Thankyou!! I’ve been buying one from Byron Bay & while very nice, it does get expensive! I liked it so much I think I know what you mean about ‘unpleasant consequences’!!

  3. I have met so many people like you who think they won’t like fermented vegetables until they try them. There are so many delicious combinations (and not just cabbage based). We really like fresh turmeric and black pepper kraut. We like to have a variety on hand so that any meal gets a ferment added. I do share recipes on my website fermentista.us.

  4. I made this recipe a few days ago and even though I added water the top of the veggies have gone brown while underneath is red from the beetroot. Have I done something wrong or is this normal? It seems to be fermenting as there are bubbles present..

    • The veggies usually go brown if they are not covered enough with liquid. You may need to use something to weigh them down or fill the jar more next time?

  5. When you say massage until enough liquid has come out , I dont think I understand this. If they need to be covered enough with liquid ie:water , why are we massaging ot out and to where ?

    • We want the veggies to be covered with the liquid when we put them in the jar otherwise they will go mouldy.
      When you actually do it you will see exactly what I mean. As you massage the veggies, the salt helps draw out the liquid from them which you then pour into the jar with the veggies so that they are covered by it.

  6. Hi, just wondering how long this keeps for in the fridge once made? Many thanks!

    • It should keep for a while – I tend to get through a huge jar in a few weeks and often have one on standby.

  7. I just started making fermented vegies too! I am so pleased that they are easy and I really love the taste. I used to put cheese on everything, now dairy free I add fermented vegies to everything! I love the colour and vegetable combination of your recipes, I will try these next. After starting on kombucha, I did experience a nasty die off reaction that lasted for 3 days – headaches and some occasional flu-type chills. Will stick to small quantities with each new product next time.

    • Good idea to start with just a teaspoon of these at one meal each day and work your way up! Die off reactions are not pleasant!
      You can also use nutritional yeast as a cheese substitute. It is very high in B vitamins and works well over zucchini pasta bolognaise!

      • Have tried nutritional yeast, it’s okay in some recipes but it’s not as loveable as cheese, IMO. I don’t use it on pasta in place of cheese anymore although it is full of nutritional goodness so I should make more of an effort.

        • I really like the taste on bolognaise! It isn’t the same as cheese but if you think of it as an addition of nutrients rather than a cheese replacement it works! Even my kids are happy to have it now (although they would prefer cheese!)

  8. Hi there, I’ve grated up a whole heap of beetroot, cabbage, ginger and garlic and have added salt + massaged the veg….I’m not getting any liquid though. I’ve now covered and left the veg to sit for a bit. Is this common/ has anyone else had this happen, and if so how did you remedy the situation. Thanks 🙂

    • I have never not been able to get liquid, especially when I add beetroot. You might need to use a bit more salt? Otherwise you can mix up a sachet of kefir powder in filtered water and add that to the veggies. It doesn’t taste as good in my opinion but still works.
      It does take a bit of muscle and time to get the liquid out of the veggies!

  9. Hi , can u please tell me – do I need to sterilize the jar prior to making this ?? Thanks

  10. I made this recipe three weeks ago. Over the first few days the fermenting made my jars leak a lot so I opened them and removed some on two occasions. They settled down after that. I’ve now put them in the fridge. Do you think my veggies will be ok to eat now? They look ok from outside the bottle. Thanks.

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