Fermented Foods: Easy Brine Veggie Recipes

by lydia on May 5, 2013

Today, I hope to take some of the fear factors out of starting to make fermented foods in your own home. Some of the easiest types of ferments to make are brine veggies. All you need are a vessel, salt, veggies, and a scale to weigh your salt for the different brine resolutions. Once you make a couple of these ferments you’ll get the hang of it and likely have no problem keeping, at least, some basic veggie ferments on hand. A culture starter is not necessary, but if you are unsure of the quality of your vegetables and they are not organic, using a starter culture would be a good idea. (I recommend Caldwell’s starter). [ Below Photo Credit goes to Elizabeth Eckert of Fresh Garden Energy, you can also find her facebook page here: Fresh Garden Energy]

Various Ferments


This should be a staple in everyone’s ferment repertoire. Why? Garlic is a potent antibacterial as well as immune enhancing superfood. Fermented garlic just kicks up the healing benefits a notch or two. Try some out if you haven’t already. Be sure to reserve a special jar just for your garlic, getting the stink out/off your jar is quite difficult.


Lacto-fermented onions are another staple I keep on hand always. They are super easy to make and come in handy to add to a plethora of dishes or salads. This is another ferment you may want to establish it’s own special jar for. I like to make mine in a 1.5-liter jar and that lasts me a good while.


Another easy peasy and kid-friendly ferment to have on hand. You can vary the way you do carrots – sticks, coins, little pieces -the sky is the limit here! I like small pieces to put on salad, I like the sticks to have on hand for my kiddos and the coins sometimes to keep things interesting. Shredded carrots are a bit different, but a nice option as well. You can even add different herbs and spices to keep the flavors interesting. Check out these recipes:


This is a great ferment to have in the winter when most veggies are hard to come by. One medium head of cauliflower makes about 1.5 liters a larger head would fit a 2-liter vessel.

Green Beans

Pickled green beans are a snap to make (you like that little pun there?!). I can’t wait to preserve a few gallons of green beans this summer for the winter.


Spring is here and radishes are a plenty! What a great way to preserve and enjoy the harvest -throw some radishes in a jar with brine and Whallah!


Who doesn’t love some version or other of a pickle? I know this is the one ferment we are all likely, at least, familiar with the taste of, even though we are likely used to the vinegar version. Fermented pickles have a much fresher taste, but pickles can be a little harder to work out right. Try your hand at other brine veggies before you dive into pickle making. But get ready, because once cucumbers are ripe on the vine you’ll want to pickle away!


Veggie Ferments

Recipe Book

Lisa's Counter Culture: Pickles and Other Well-Bred Foods If you need a handy guide for both recipes and a brine chart,  check out my friend Lisa Herndon’s  book; ‘Lisa’s Counter Culture: Pickles & Other Well Bred Foods.’ This is a great resource, one I refer to time and time again and every recipe I’ve tried has been excellent. I highly recommend you have a copy of your own! Also, check out Lisa’s site: Lisa’s Counter Culture – it’s all about fermentation and is a fabulous wealth of information.

In case you hadn’t noticed the majority of the recipes I shared here are from my good friend Melanie over at MelanieHprofile the blog, Pickle Me Too. And yes, her blog is all about fermented/pickled foods. So, be sure to head over to her site and sign up for her feed to get some great fermentation advice, resources, and recipes. Also, you can listen to an interview/talk I did with Melanie about fermented foods. We cover some of the basics of how to get started with fermentation, how to’s, what equipment/vessels you need, should you use whey or a starter and much more! It was a fun and energetic chat, I hope you will take some time to listen. Fermentation Basics with Melanie Hoffman and Lydia Shatney.


Learn the art of fermenting, so you can enjoy eating more enzyme & probiotic rich foods because they provide amazing health benefits!




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Elizabeth May 5, 2013 at 10:59 am

Cauliflower is one of my most favorite ferments and so easy! If I could just figure out how to grow it… 😉

Rick Regan May 15, 2013 at 1:07 pm

Just a note on airlocks:
fill them with vodka, not water.

I have been a home winemaker for 20-some years (geez, I’m old…)
A long time ago a fellow brewer suggested to me that water in an air lock can be a friendly environment for mold & bad bacteria. While normally the water bubbles and the water stays out of the batch, it is possible to get a negative pressure situation where the water gets pulled into the batch, carrying the baddies with it. His suggestion, which I have used ever since, was to fill the airlock with a substance that is toxic to bacteria, while not harmful for human consumption, or vodka. (bleach would work but vodka is safer)

It occurs to me, after reading your comments about fermenting and issues with mold, that the mold may have been brought in through the water in the airlock, not the two-piece mason jar lid.

Just my 2 cents.

I enjoy your site and appreciate the huge amount of interesting information.

My neighbor has tapped me as a ‘brewer’ to help him get started making hot sauce with lacto-fermented peppers. So I am a newbie with the peppers, but I see a common problem with the airlocks among articles.

Thanks again.
/Rick Regan, Raleigh, NC

lydia May 15, 2013 at 1:24 pm

Thanks for stopping by and sharing about the airlocks -I actually have heard that about using vodka or 1:1 water to glycerin. I just have not used this method yet as I haven’t had any issues with mold. I may go ahead and just start doing it that way in the future. Thanks for the reminder and good luck on fermenting your peppers – my friend Melanie has a good pepper mash recipe over at Pickle Me Too!

Tina July 13, 2014 at 4:18 pm

I love pickled green beans….I also want to preserve some for the winter. Do you think I could make a big batch in a 5L Probiotic Jar?

lydia July 13, 2014 at 4:42 pm


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