Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Chopped Vegetable Ferment in Lovely Layers - Fermenting Phase 4


I had some excess vegetables which were still fresh last week, so rather than let them go to waste, I decided to ferment them or you could call this pickling I suppose but there is no sugar or vinegar involved and it is employing lacto-fermentation using salt which preserves the vegetables. I layered the vegetables in jars with coriander, fennel and mustard seeds, added brine and hey presto another ferment starts to process. I have learned to leave the lids loose when using smaller jars  as in this case, to prevent an explosion, and I think I will be storing these jars in the refrigerator after 5 days or so as the weather is warming up during the day. Ferments are a very flavoursome condiment, adding kick to your salad, your leftovers, and anything else you think of to add it to. Vegetables are in such incredible abundance at the moment, so I wasn't afraid to experiment with this layered approach. I was also gifted some amazing, organic, golden zucchinis from his garden by our friend Paul, so a couple of those went in to adding the colour of Summer to the mix.

If you look carefully at this photo you can see the small bubbles at the top of the brine. This is a sign that the fermenting has begun.

As I watch it fermenting each day, the sliced radish in the jar is turning the brine a nice coloured pink, and the fresh dill leaves add a green feathery dimension, so besides the good bacteria doing its stuff, the contents are also starting to look quite attractive. I bottled these jars on the 21st September, and they are ready for tasting after a couple of days. I have just tasted a vege sample from each bottle and they taste tangy, whilst still quite crisp,  and the liquid has been a bit fizzy so I am refrigerating them to eat at a later date. The ferment is really active for the first 3 days and this type of fermenting with more liquid and a variety of vegetables seems to work much faster than the standard sauerkraut does, particularly in the warmer weather.


This recipe makes a 1 Litre Jar

Wash and prepare 3 cups of chopped or sliced seasonal vegetables (radishes, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, beans, capsicum), and beetroot can be used but be prepared for a red ferment with a stronger and more earthy flavour. Green spring onions and red onion will add some tang. As you can see from the photo, this time I used Cauliflower, Broccoli, Gold Zucchini, Radishes, and firm cabbage leaves as the weight to keep the vegetables covered with brine.

 Select a mixed teaspoon of  herbs and spices that you like, such as dill seeds, fennel seeds,  coriander  or caraway seeds and add those to the base of your sterilised jar. If you like some heat, add some chilli flakes and black or white peppercorns. I also added some fresh Dill fronds as I have Dill  growing but it won't last long in our garden once Summer strikes.

Add the chopped and sliced vegetables to your jar in attractive layers, and leave a 4 cm gap at the top of the jar.

The Brine:

I then added the brine so that the vegetables will ferment. To fill a 1 Litre jar, mix 2 cups of distilled water with 1 tablespoon of Himalayan rock salt and pour into your 1 litre jar, leaving 3 cm clear of the rim of your jar for any bubbling and effervescing that will occur.

As I have done in previous fermenting sessions, I add a couple of firm cabbage leaves to the top of the vegetables which fits snugly into the jar and weighs down the vegetables keeping them submerged which is essential for the success of the ferment. You can also use some kind of weight such as a cabbage stalk cut to size, or a small bottle, or a clean smooth stone, which fits inside the bottle rim. The vegetables must remain submerged below the brine. The vegetables need to be pushed down firmly in the bottle as they will also release some liquid and reduce in size creating more space in the bottle.

Leave the lid on the jar loose, stand it in a breakfast bowl and cover with a cloth, and wait for the magic to happen. I also use a tamper each morning to submerge the vegetables just to ensure they remain covered. If you can find a small Moccona jar they work really well for fermenting. Thanks to Chel from Going Grey and Slightly Green for that tip. I also found some large Moccona jars at the Mackay City Council Recycling Depot when I went there with Mr. HRK  on one of his "treasure hunts", which have been useful for fermenting Sauerkraut. Cover the jar with a tea towel and leave at room temperature for 2-7 days, depending on the temperature where you live.The colder it is, the longer it will take.

Sarah Wilson in her interesting book Simplicious where I first saw the layered ferment idea, suggests using fermented vegetables as you would a gherkin, diced and added to mayonnaise to make a tartare, or to a salsa for an extra tang and vegetable. Sounds delicious to me.

Are you are a fermentista? If so I would love to hear about what you are doing in the comments section at the end of the story?

Best wishes and thanks for visiting.



  1. Pauline, I have a couple of bottles of veggies in the fridge that have fermented and I had better check on them as they tend to be pushed to the back of the fridge. Your bottles of veggies look so very colourful. Well done!

    1. Thanks Chel. I am hoping that all of my various sauerkraut bottles will last a long time in the frig, at least through Summer.

  2. I suppose i am a fermentista, although I dont have anything going at the moment. I keep meaning to make some more sauerkraut since I finished my last batch. I have been enjoying making kombucha. This looks like a nice idea - I think I might have to try it.

    1. I hope to give Kombucha a go one day. I just need to get a "Mother" bug, not sure if that is what it's called. Thanks african aussie.

  3. I always have my home-made sauerkraut in the fridge. And keep my Kefir grains growing. I like the layered veggie idea, and I'll be giving it a go. The Spring weather is getting really hot here in Brisbane, shouldn't take the ferment long at all.

    1. Thanks Jean. I must look into the whole Kefir grains idea. We lived in Brisbane for two years many moons ago and I loved it.Good luck with your layered veggies.


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