Lacto-fermented foods, including these delicious green beans, are rich in healthy probiotics. Try this recipe and its variations.
- 3 cups water (filtered)
- 2 teaspoons kosher (or other non-iodized salt)
- Dissolve the salt in the filtered water. It's important to use filtered water because the chlorine and other chemicals in most municipal tap water can interfere with the fermentation process.
- Wash the green beans and snap off the stem ends and tips.
- Place a clean glass quart jar on its side (it is not necessary to sterilize the jar for this recipe; just make sure it is very clean). It's easier to get the green beans to line up straight if you start out with the jar on its side rather than loading the beans in from above. Pack the beans in so tightly that it is impossible to squeeze in even one more bean. The green beans will shrink a bit as they ferment, but packing them in tightly ensures that they will stay immersed in the brine and not float up out of it.
- Once the jar is full, set it upright. Pour the salt brine over the green beans. They must be completely covered by the brine. Cover the jar loosely with a lid.
- Place the jar on a small plate to catch the overflow that may happen during active fermentation. Leave the jar at room temperature for 24 - 48 hours.
- After the first 24 hours, remove the lid and check on your ferment. You should start to see some bubbles and it will begin to develop a mild, refreshingly sour smell (like a light version of sauerkraut).
- Once you see and smell signs that the green beans are actively fermenting, transfer the jar to the door of your refrigerator. This is the warmest part of your refrigerator but still cooler than room temperature - perfect for your green beans to keep slowly fermenting.
Fermented green beans are ready to eat 1 - 2 weeks after you make them. If you plan to store them for longer than a month, move the jar to a cooler part of your refrigerator (one of the central shelves rather than the inside of the refrigerator door).
You can enjoy your fermented green beans straight out of the jar as a pickle, or use them in recipes.
Keep in mind that cooking destroys those good-for-you probiotic bacteria. Try chopping the fermented beans and adding them to grain-based salads such as tabouleh, or chop them small and use them in place of capers. If you do decide to add them to a cooked dish such as soup, add them at the last minute after you've turned off the stove.
- Try adding onion or garlic, or fresh or dried dill leaves to the jar as you pack in the green beans. For a spicy variation, add 1 or 2 small hot chili peppers to the jar.
- Use yellow wax beans, or a combination of green beans and yellow wax beans.
- Note: if salt isn't an option for you, you can use the alternate method for lacto-fermentation without salt.