Lacto-fermentation Fruit and Vegetable Recipes

Fermentation is one of the most ancient forms of food preservation and one of the easiest. Here are some recipes for fermented vegetables and fruits that are delicious and full of good-for-you bacteria (like the ones in yogurt).

If you're new to lacto-fermenting food, be sure to check out the first two articles.

  • 01 of 11
    Pickeled vegetables and herbs in preserving jar
    Westend61 / Getty Images

    Lacto-fermentation takes nothing more than salt, vegetables, and water - no canning, no fancy equipment. This simple process works because of the lucky fact that bacteria that could be harmful to us can't tolerate much salt, but there are healthy bacteria (think yogurt) that can. I think of them as the bad guys vs. the good guys. Lacto-fermentation wipes out the bad guys in its first stage, then lets the good guys get to work during stage two.

  • 02 of 11
    Assortment of glass jars filled with pickled vegetables
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    Traditional lacto-fermentation - the process that produces real sauerkraut and kimchi - starts by adding salt. Lots of salt. But there are two ways to lacto-ferment food without adding salt.

  • 03 of 11
    Chopped red cabbage in a close-up view
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    Red cabbage makes a colorful variation of traditional sauerkraut. I like to add caraway and juniper berries to mine. Try serving it with crisp, chopped apples for a quick, delicious salad.

  • 04 of 11
    Glass bowl with green beans
    Andreas Kaspar / Getty Images

    Green beans are terrific when they are fermented. I like to eat them straight out of the jar, but they are also good added to soups and salads.

    Continue to 5 of 11 below.
  • 05 of 11
    Making kimchi: grating carrots
    Lucia Lambriex / Getty Images

    This easy to make kimchi is a colorful, spicy variation of the more common cabbage kimchi. It is loaded with naturally good-for-you probiotics. Delicious served alongside Korean or other Asian-style dishes, it is also good mixed into rice and other cooked grains.

  • 06 of 11
    Radishes
    John Madden / Getty Images

    Traditional kimchi usually includes a type of radish - daikon - among its ingredients. Here I've reversed the proportions of radish to cabbage to showcase the radish crunch and taste. Using red-skinned cherry radishes or french breakfast radishes gives this recipe its cheerful color.

  • 07 of 11
    Stacks of turnips
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    Fermented turnips are a traditional treat in both Asia and Europe. Crunchy and lightly tangy, they are excellent as part of a mixed vegetable salad. They are also great served alongside meat or poultry.

  • 08 of 11
    Wooden crates of organic apples
    Diana Miller / Getty Images

    This lacto-fermented apple chutney is crunchy, lightly tangy and delicious enough to use as a side dish rather than a condiment. Plus you get all the awesome probiotic health benefits of lacto-fermented foods.

    Continue to 9 of 11 below.
  • 09 of 11
    Glass of fermenting carrots with red peppercorns and dill
    Westend61 / Getty Images

    Fermented carrots are not only healthy, they are delicious. This method will safely preserve them for months.

  • 10 of 11
    Green Tomatoes on a Rustic Wood Board
    Jill Fromer / Getty Images

    Green cherry tomato pickles are a tangy treat that is delicious served with cheese, or simply as an olive-like snack. This recipe makes great use of this end-of-the-gardening-season ingredient.

  • 11 of 11
    Swiss rainbow chard
    Carl Pendle / Getty Images

    Chard's juicy, crunchy leafstalks deserve to be treated as a unique ingredient entirely separate from the leafy green parts. "Swiss" chard contains enough natural salts that it doesn't even need a salt brine to achieve lacto-fermentation. All you need is water and chard.