Naturally Fermented Vegetables

This recipe uses cabbage, fennel, celery, and green apple, but but other vegetable varieties can be substituted as long as the water and sea salt in the recipe is kept constant. Try cabbage, scallion, and carrot with grated garlic for a flavorful combination.


1 tsp sea salt


1/2 head green cabbage

1 celery stalk

1 green apple

1 fennel bulb, only the top portion including stalk and green frills

(fermenting veggies is a great way to eliminate waste because there is opportunity to use all parts of your vegetables)

Choose organic vegetables only. Organic vegetables are free of chemical herbicides and pesticides, they are grown in more biodiverse soil ensuring a bioactive soil full of vitamin and minerals that contribute to a healthier, tastier, and more nutrient dense plant. This will also ensure a consistent ferment. Herbicide and pesticide residue can disrupt the natural fermentation process.

Slice all vegetables thinly using a knife or mandolin. (Pictured above). Toss into a large bowl that is wide enough for both of your hands to be in and move around comfortably. Sprinkle with sea salt and let stand for 10 minutes. Just by allowing the sea salt to sit on and work on the vegetables, their cell walls begin to breakdown and become more pliable. Splash some white vinegar on your hands and rub together to clean them removing any lotion or soap residue which can affect the ferment. With both hands, massage vegetables. This can be accomplished by grabbing handfuls and squeezing, rubbing vegetables between your palms, or pressing down on the vegetables and kneading them like bread dough. Keep massaging until water begins to release and the vegetables become very pliable. The apple will likely mush up, the cabbage, fennel, and celery will stay intact, but will become softer and pliable.

Into a large glass jar with lid, fill half way up with vegetable mixture. Using the middle knuckle of your index finger or fingertips, firmly pack the vegetable medley down removing all air bubbles as you press. Keep packing the vegetables as you turn the jar releasing air bubbles and allowing liquid to raise to the top. When most air bubbles are gone, add the second half of vegetable mixture. Pack this half down as you just did for the bottom half. There should be very few air bubbles. Liquid from the vegetables will rise to the top. You can top off the jar with a little more water to ensure at least a 1-inch bath forms on top. Leave head room in the jar for the vegetables to expand as they ferment, place lid on lightly and then put in a bowl to catch rogue liquid that could spill over and trickle down the sides of the jar. Place in a warm place that will not be disturbed. I put mine on top of the fridge. Leave for 3-5 days. After the veggies look ripe and smell sour, move to the refrigerator where this naturally fermented and probiotic rich condiment can stay indefinitely. (Below: Fermented vegetables in their jar.)


These recommendations are for educational purposes only.  They are not intended as treatment or prescription for any disease, or as a substitute for regular medical care.