The Number 1. Way to Improve
Your Gut Health
+ Fermented Vegetables Recipe

fermented carrots-3

A few months ago took an online course called ‘Debunking PCOS‘ which is all about improving fertility and conquering Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome which I was diagnosed with over 10 years ago.

The thing that really surprised me about the course was that the number 1 action we were encouraged to take was to heal your gut.

Not exactly the most glamorous topic, but when you consider how important the gut is to helping you absorb and use the nutrients you need, it really makes sense.

A healthy gut isn’t just important for fertility. It impacts everyone’s health.

So I hear you asking…

“OK Jules, so how do I make my gut healthier?”

Well funnily enough, earlier in the year I went to a workshop on how to ferment vegetables. It was led by Sandor Katz, author of ‘Wild Fermentation’ and ‘The Art of Fermentation’. And was completely inspirational.

But I’m jumping ahead of myself…

So what is the number 1. way to improve your gut health?

Easy. Eat more fermented foods!

Yoghurt is probably the first thing that comes to mind. And if you’re happy with eating your yoghurt then that’s great.

But the wonderful world of fermented food doesn’t stop there.

Fermenting vegetables is a brilliant habit to get into. Especially if you’re trying to keep away from dairy so yoghurt isn’t a good option for you. But even if you’re happy with your yoghurt, adding fermented vegetables to your repertoire is only going to help your gut.

Plus, they’re delicious!

I love the tangy crunch of a home fermented baby carrot.

And the best part is, if you make them yourself then you can control how mild or ‘funky’ they taste. I’ve never been a huge fan of commercial sauerkraut, but regularly make and eat it now that I know how good it can taste when you don’t ferment it too far.

And what about Number 2?

That’s easy too. Just stop eating inflammatory foods which include refined carbohydrates and vegetable oils.

But if you’re reading Stonesoup you’re probably doing that anyway :)

fermented carrots-3

Fermented Vegetables

If you’re nervous about the whole fermentation thing, the good news is apparently no one has ever died from eating fermented veg. So it’s safe!

This method is a great place to start because it’s suitable for pretty much all vegetables. My favourites so far are carrots, zucchini (which turn out like pickles), red chillies and celery. I’m also keen to try onions.

Will keep in the fridge for months.

1 clean glass jar
enough vegetables to fill jar
50g (1 3/4 oz) salt
1L (4 cups) water

1. Scrub veg. Trim or chop into bite sized pieces. Peel if you prefer (I don’t bother).

2. Pack the veg into your jar.

3. Combine salt and water and stir until dissolved. Shouldn’t take too long.

4. Pour salted water over the veg to cover them. You probably won’t need all the liquid. If the veg aren’t covered, make up more brine so they are covered.

5. Close jar and leave somewhere you will see it but not in direct sunlight.

6. Every day open jar to release any built up gas (CO2). Start tasting after about 3 days. When you’re happy with the flavour (ie it tastes acidic or tangy enough for you) pop the jar in the fridge and start eating. Or if the veg start to soften, it’s time to refrigerate. Generally 4-5 days is a good amount of time for fermentation but if you’re living somewhere really warm it may not take that long. And really cold climates may take longer.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

VARIATIONS
veg – use your imagination. Cauliflower, carrots, zucchini, chillies, beets, celery, cucumber, watermelon rind, baby eggplant, capsicum (bell peppers), green tomatoes, chard stems. Sandor Katz did say that the only thing he doesn’t like to ferment are veg with lots of chlorophyll. So anything too green like kale isn’t great. And from my notes watermelon rind tastes like cucumber pickles.

flavourings – feel free to add in flavourings such as cumin seeds, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, bay leaves, preserved lemon, lemon zest, thyme, rosemary, sage.

salt – I use a finely ground sea salt but Sandor said it doesn’t matter so much.

lower salt – it is possible to ferment without the salt or use lower quantities, the problem is that salt helps to keep the veg texture nice and crisp so unsalted or low salt veg can end up mushy. Which might be OK for you. Salt also helps flavour.

water – use filtered water if you can. But if using tap water, boil it and allow it to cool to get rid of any chlorine which may hinder the fermentation.

brine – after you’ve eaten the veg the brine can be discarded or used to season soups and stews. Or you can drink it.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS
as a snack – my favourite way to eat them is to pick them out of the jar and snack. Fergal and I often chomp on fermented carrots while I’m getting his dinner ready.

in salads – add a little crunch and zing. I wouldn’t make a whole salad from them though as it might be too much of a good thing.

with rich / hearty meals – serve a little bowl of fermented veg with your next pork belly or lamb shank extravaganza. I love them with mashed potato too.

with burgers – it’s a classic combo for a reason!

Video Recipe


Or view video recipe over here.

With love,
Jules x
instagram-icon Pinterest_Badge_Red facebook_icon

ps. Did you enjoy this? If you’d like me to do a followup post on how to make sauerkraut, leave a message below and if there’s enough interest I’ll share that as well.

188 Comments

  • Thanks Jules… I’ve been hearing lots about fermenting lately, and you make it sound so easy! I’d love to hear about sauerkraut!

  • I’d luv for you to share your sauerkraut recipe plz, I’m going to try the recipe above tonight ????thanx heaps

  • Thanks Jules! I’ve known the benefits of fermenting vegetables for ages, and now you’ve inspired me to actually give it a try! I recently started looking for pickles made without vinegar (pregnant woman cravings!) but no success. You’ve shown me how easy it is to make my own.
    Keen to learn more about sauerkraut, too. Thank you!

  • I would love for you to share the sauerkraut recipe. I did not like it as a child and for a lotta years have shunned it. Then I pick up some from a coop and tried it as hubby likes it and I’ve been hearing a lot about fermenting too. Wow! Yum! but I’m not loving the price and we need to be careful of our pennies. I think I will try some after shopping this week. Thanks in advance.
    Gloria

  • Thanks so much for the article. I have been wanting to learn to make fermented foods and I am going to try. Would love to learn to make all kinds. Thanks again.

  • Thanks for the tips on fermented veggies. I’m interested to hear about sauerkraut too. It looks like you have a following in that area too.

  • Have been on the look-out for sauerkraut recipe. Have been eating store-bought Kimchi. Never tried making, would like to try making Kimchi and sauerkraut

  • Who knew it was so easy to ferment vegetables?! Thanks Jules, and it would be wonderful to learn how to make sauerkraut.

  • Jules,
    I would love to learn how to make sauerkraut, I love it but always buy the commercial brand from Polish or German deli shops. I also love Korean kim chi which is a close relative. Please give us your sauerkraut recipe.

    BTW I make something similar in the form of “pickles” in which I use Persian cucumbers or turnips. I cut the cucumbers lengthwise and the turnips into half moons and simply put them in a glass vessel with a “little bit” of WHITE balsamic vinegar to cover the bottom of the vessel. Place in the refrigerator and now and then rotate the vessel so the vegetables are drenched with the balsamic. In maximum of two days the cucumbers are ready, crisp “half done” pickles. a dash of salt and heaven. the turnips take a bit longer depending how thick you have cut them. very nice to munch on while preparing dinner.

  • These veg sound amazing..will be trying them asap! As a non meat eater I’m always looking for different ways to prepare veggies. Would love the sauerkraut recipe..I’ve tried the commercial one once, but never again. Thank you so much!

  • Jules – love your delightful sense of humour that no one has died eating fermented vegs… You make the process sound simple as usual and would love to try making sauerkraut as well!

  • Thanks for the “how-to” on fermenting veggies. It looks amazingly easy to do.

    I would love to see a post on your sauerkraut recipe.

  • Hi

    South Indian foods Idli and Dosa are made with freshly ground (rice + white lentils in proportion) batter that is left to ferment overnight. Idlis are usually a healthy breakfast in India. These are usually accompanied by coconut chutney and sambar (made with lentils). One can even eat idlis with just a little bit of butter or ghee spread on them which little kids usually prefer.

    Just thought of sharing this as additional fermented food options.

    Cheers

  • thanks Jules, & yes please to sauerkraut recipe.
    p.s. can one mix vegetables to be fermented, or should they be done in separate jars?

  • Thank you for this article! Desperately wanting to improve my gut health lately (due to Candida issues). Also, I love pickles. Would love to read about making sauerkraut. Thanks! — Suzie

  • Great post. I enjoy fermented foods, however I forget to make them, so this a great kick-in-the-pants for me. I would love to read your sauerkraut post!

  • I have been really interested in learning to ferment vegetables but worried about not doing it right. This sounds like a perfect starting place and I would love to learn how to ferment sauerkraut. Especially with all the cabbage we are about to have here.

  • I took a class on making sauerkraut but I was too intimidated to actually try it. I have made kimchi which ferments more quickly. I would really love follow-up posts on this.

    My kimchi often (not always) grows mold. :(

  • PS Most sauerkraut that is available in supermarkets has weird chemicals. Farmer’s markets seem to be the only places to get the real thing.

  • Thank you for recipe for fermented vegys. Commercial sauerkraut is quite strong, would love a mild version please. Goes really well with deli meats.

  • Thank you so much for sharing you experience with PCOS. I think i will also check out this Debunking workshop. I have been fermenting as well. I love making dill pickles and currently am making sauerkraut and kombucha tea!

    • Von! Sounds like you’re already all over the fermentation thing. The program is really great. I love Nats approach. And the link above isn’t an affiliate link, I just wanted to share her work! Jx

  • Hi Jules, yes please let us know how to ferment sauerkraut have tried other peoples and now want my own. I didn’t realize how easy the carrots are too

  • Hi Jules,

    I’m looking forward to trying some fermented vegetables. Also, I would love for you to share your sauerkraut recipe with us.

    Kris S.

    • Absolutely Trace! It’s fine to reuse. If you get any white mold growing its safe so just scrape it off. But if you get any other coloured mold best to discard and start from scratch! Jx

  • I just recently decided I was ready to start fermenting… I just needed to look up a recipe. Perfect timing! I would love to know more about sauerkraut!

  • Wonderful informative post, Jules …thanks :) Hadn’t thought of whole baby carrots but what a fantastic idea …will try them on the grandies (for me, too, of course..hehe) I usually grate or thin slice my veggies (kimchi is my fave) ….just love ’em ! One really yummy quick snack/meal is to combine (I smoosh ’em) avocado, fermented veg & a pile of greens fresh from the garden ( heaps of shredded parsley,rocket & kale for me at the moment) & plonk it all in a bowl & devour ! Added protein ,like salmon or sardines, makes this a balanced meal…perfect for a granny on the run ! Of course I’d love to read your version of sauerkraut! I’m so pleased to see that people are realising (or beginning to)the importance of gut health & its impact on our immune systems , brain function etc etc Well done Jules , for your part in this ….keep spreading the good word! :) x

  • Hi…I love fermented vegetable and I am in heaven when I find good sauerkraut…I was wondering if they talked about yellowing of the teeth in your course…it started to happen to me when I started to drink Kombucha…and I can’t seem to get them white anymore.

    • No one mentioned teeth yellowing Mello… And to be honest I didn’t notice the colour of anyone’s teeth at the course! I can’t imagine it’s from the bacteria…. could it be something else in the kombucha?

  • Ahhh!!! checkout this 1/2 written email I drafted in july

    Hey Jules Clancy break it down for me!
    You are the goddess of translation, you breakdown the seemingly impossible/scary – i.e. delicious healthy meals of my own creation for my family and friends with the encouraging hand of the nona we never had on our shoulders. and I’m in need!
    As a mum bent on whole food nutrition I’m reading allot about the benefits of gut flora health and supporting my families with preserved and fermented foods. But coming from a SAD diet background and really never eating anything more than 3days old it’s scaring me to start!!!!!!
    With your minimalist approach, delicious results and food scientist background I know you’re the lady this internet audience neeeeeeds to hear from.
    Please !!!!

    Is it pathetic I’m so excited I’m doing a dance?

  • Hi Jules! I would love to see on another post, after the sauerkraut,
    a few variations of pickled salads, such as multi colored beet or perhaps even pickled apples or melon? ( I hear they are yummy and a “change” from the usual). I am a big fan. Thank you!

  • Thanks Jules! This is great. Question: are store-bought pickles etc any good at providing the advantages of fermentation? My understanding is that store bought sauerkraut, pickles etc don’t provide those benefits. Or is it just a matter of scale/levels -homemade being best but store bought okay?

    Thanks for posting this!
    Wend

    • Great question Wend! The problem with some store bought pickles is that they haven’t been made by fermentation so there’s no live cultures. Usually just salt, vinegar and sugar added.
      If you can find ‘lacto fermented’ pickles then they should have similar benefits to home made. Jx

  • I love fermented veggies, but I’m gonna have to
    Let you all know this, the “flora and fauna” of the intestines
    Can only be added to one way, and it isn’t through
    your stomach, I know this first had as I was on
    some very serious meds to combat bird flu a few
    ago, and it destroyed all that stuff, it wasn’t
    pretty

  • You make it seem so simple, I’m definitely going to try this. I have fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, so energy is limited. A friend at work just gave me a box of her home-grown veg, and now I know what to do with some of them. I’d love to see your take on sauerkraut!

  • I rarely use fermented foods beyond yogurt, but I would be very interested in a (hopefully simple) method for making sauerkraut. If it is easy to make, I would probably make my own and use it more often.

  • Cabbage is one of my favorite veggies. When I became cook for my two daughters after my wife’s passing (many years ago), we had a lot of coleslaw and chili — easy to prepare, keep, and improvise on.

    I love your website and spirit, anxious to enjoy your sauerkraut!

  • I’ve been thinking of trying to ferment some veg for awhile this has just confirmed that! I’d be interested in homemade sauerkraut. Thanks Jules!

  • I had never heard of making fermented vegetables except sauerkraut. I’m excited to try making some fermented vegetables. I am also very interested in making sauerkraut as I have never cared for the store bought kind my mom bought when I was growing up.

  • I most enjoy your posts that throw light on the intersection of… exploring new foods for health and eating food that really tastes wonderful. When you go the extra distance beyond “tastes great” to include “incredibly good for you,” I perk up.

    Your fermented veggies post is a perfect example. Examples of others’ afflictions reduced by good, good food would likewise catch my interest.

    Your pictures really help.

    On a financial note, if you encouraged me to pay you what ever I think is fair for the boon of reading your posts year in and year out, I would. I bet others would, too. I really do not want to buy another cook book!

    You seem to enjoy your Fergal, your Irishman and your food. Good juggling! I wish you success in all seasons.

    appreciatively,

    David Ouellette
    Barbara Dellenback
    Medford Oregon
    USA

  • Would really appreciate you posting some info on sauerkraut. I have recently been taking some interest in fermenting and your post has shown me just how simple it can be. You are inspiring me to actually just give it a try.

  • Yes! Please! More about fermenting veggies! I guess I’ve been living under a rock or something – this is the first time I’ve ever heard of this (and I’m 67 years old!). I’ve been a vegetarian for 2 years now and am FOREVER looking for new ways to make veggies taste “different.” Has to taste GOOD, though, or in the garbage it goes. This fermenting thing could be opening up a whole new world to me! I’m very excited, very interested! Thanks for waking me up to this!

  • Simple and great idea to add fiber and improve intestinal health overall. Thanks, Jules!
    Yes, yes, I’d love to have the sauerkraut recipe.

  • Yes Please!! And more on fermenting foods please! For those on FODMAP diets for IBS etc, the word ‘fermentable’ (the “F” in FODMAP) means that those foods must be avoided (like onions and other wonderful things) but by fermenting them first, and allowing the gases to escape, they won’t be fermenting so much in our guts (and causing gas to escape at inopportune moments ;-) ).

  • Thank you so much for your fermented veg recipe. I have carrots and sea salt. And I have jars. I’ll start my first batch when I get back from getting some bottled water, broccoli and cauliflower. Unfortuantely my city water has both chlorine and floride in it. And yes, yes, yes, I would like to know how to make sauerkraut and any other fermentation you would care to share. I asked and you have delivered. Thanks again.

  • Fantastically timely post Jules as I’ve been thinking about adding fermented veggies to my diet. I’d love your sauerkraut recipe – I was looking for that exact thing just last week. :)

  • Fantastically timely post Jules as I’ve been thinking about adding fermented veggies to my diet. I’d love your sauerkraut recipe – I was looking for that exact thing just last week. :)

  • I am from Melbourne Australia and absolutely love your site.
    I have been fermenting for years very successfully ( my favourite is turnips) but not great with cabbages so your sauerkraut recipe will be most welcomed.
    Keep up your great blog!!!!!

  • Another inspirational idea to get me busy!! Always share a sample of your ideas with friends – the chocolate kale cake has to be everyone’s favourite so far!! Would love a sauerkraut recipe as I find the commercial stuff is soft and unappetising. Thanks!!

  • Thank you Jules, always simplifying things, I feel like I can’t wait to try this out :) I remember my mother used to make it with turnip (peeled and cut) and add one beetroot to the ferment to make them red, yum!

    • You know Ruba I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with turnip since a it’s winter and prime turnip season here… Thx for the inspiration! Jx

  • I’ve never heard of this before but it sounds easy so I’ll give it a try. Also would like to see a post on Sauerkraut as I do like it but have been put off buying the jars that are available in the supermarket.

  • Hi Clance – love your post!
    Do you remember making Sauerkraut at Uni?
    I found the lab notes in a big clean out not long ago – oh the fond, and not so fond memories!
    I think of you often … lots of love Jane xox

  • yes, pls give the recipe for sauerkraut!! and also, dill pickles?? you said the rind n zucchini came out mostly like pickles, so dill pickles can’t be far off, right?? also, w dill pickles (which i WORSHIP) i can also make relish, so…? PRETTY PLEASE!

    • Hi Shelley! Yes you can use this method to make dill pickles… Just use cucumbers and add dill to flavour…. Hadn’t thought about relish… Leave it with me Jx

  • Did not know about fermenting vegetables and will definitely try this simple method, thank you. I would be interested in the sauerkraut recipe also.

  • “brine – after you’ve eaten the veg the brine can be discarded or used to season soups and stews. Or you can drink it.”
    can this brine be used for a new batch of veggies, or is that a nono?

  • Dear Jules,
    I am a newcomer to your site. I really enjoyed this post and look forward to fermenting some veg. My mother did the same with baby cucumbers, adding lots of fresh dill – Just delicious! In her memory, I’d love to try your sauerkraut recipe. Thank you.

  • Would love for you to do a blog on sauerkraut! I often buy the grocery store stuff, rinse it and doctor it up myself with wine, peppercorns, juniper berries and pork…but it takes a lot of time. Would love to read about your take on it!

  • Re the question about sauerkraut… My husband is German, and sometimes he just craves the food that his mother cooked for him when he was a child. So double yes, I’d love a sauerkraut recipe. Thanks!

  • Have been experimenting with making sauerkraut this summer. made both green and red ‘kraut as well as flavored with caraway, fennel, celery seeds or dill. Be interested in seeing if your recipe is different from mine (1000 g sliced cabbage, 20 g salt, 2 tbsp liquid from previous batch of ‘kraut). The liquid ensures I have good bacteria in the mix, since I do not trust that any “wild” bacteria in my house. for very first batch I used whey from organic yoghurt with live cultures.

    • Good for you Tim! Your recipe sounds similar but I don’t use any of the previous liquid usually because I forget to keep it… Using old liquid is a great way to kick start the new ferment. I wouldn’t be afraid of the wild bacteria.. They’re the ones that keep it interesting :)

  • Please give your sauerkraut recipe. I have been making it for years but like to try any new twist. When I was a child my mother always added apple slices to the brine. (She did it in large crocks) the fermented apples were my brother and my favorite part.

  • Thanks so much for this. I have been interested in fermenting vegies for a while now but didn’t realise it was this easy!
    Please post your sauerkraut recipe!!

  • This is exactly what I’ve been thinking of lately. I have started a batch of sauerkraut, but I’m so confused about if I am doing it correctly. Now I can hardly wait to start a batch of carrots! I would love more information. Thank you so much!

  • Thank you for posting this. I’ve been following a paleo-ish diet for a while and have been reading about how good fermented veggies are for you, but I had no idea it was so easy to make them. I’ll be making up a batch asap.

    Yes please to sauerkraut!

  • I have been wanting to try fermenting for a while and just started some cabbage the other day—first taste test is tonight! Would love to see a post about your sauerkraut technique.

  • Loved the article on fermented vegs. Definitely going to try them & would love to have the sauerkraut recipe!

  • I would love the sauerkraut recipe, do you also have a Bavarian version? Thanks and I love your emails, they make my dinners interesting!

  • loved this, got baby carrots like yours from the farmers market today and just made a jar of carrots and another of baby cucumbers
    :) thanks for the inspiration

  • I’ve been meaning to try this for ages so thanks for the tips! I just started a batch of baby carrots and cauliflower yesterday. Just one question though… does it matter if the cauliflower is floating? I can’t get a few stray morsels to stay completely submerged. I perhaps should have packed them better.
    Would also love the sauerkraut recipe! Thanks

  • Yes please to the sauerkraut recipe. I have read quite a few but I imagine your recipe will be straightforward and clearly communicated. Thank you.

  • Yes please re the sauerkraut! My Greek man was only just saying last week that we should get into more fermented foods, and that he misses his mother’s cabbage!

  • Hi Jules,
    Fermenting the veges sounds so easy and healthy – will definitely give it a go. Just wondering if you only eat them raw though or can you then use them in cooking eg: baked carrots etc

    • Hi Nicola
      Great question!
      I just eat them raw.
      You could cook them but the bacteria won’t survive the cooking process so it defeats the purpose a little.
      Jx

  • Hi Jules! OK I tried it with carrots! On day 4 the water started looking a bit cloudy, and by day 5 the water was really quite cloudy. Is this normal? I stuck them in the fridge but have halted tasting till I figure it out…. thanks :-)

  • i put also fresh slices of garlic and dill as a must. also big chuncks (3x3cm.) of green cabage together with thick slices of carots. very tasty.

    • Sounds lovely Rita!

      Just be careful with using garlic because there is a very small risk of botulism developing. Personally I don’t use fresh garlic in my ferments.

      Jx

  • Thank you for this article. I was intrigued by two keyword in your article – gut and ferment. I was wondering how they are related. And then I found out that you were actually talking about pickling – which is what we call in our part of the world. And guess what, we just started having “pickled” gooseberries a month back. So totally get what you are talking about. Thanks again.

    • Glad it made sense Rajesh :)

      The problem with the term pickling is that it also covers food that has had salt or vinegar added to it – not necessarily fermented foods.

      I’ve just planted a gooseberry bush so hopefully there will be fermented gooseberries in my future :)

  • Fantastic, thank you! Just wish you’d written ‘filtered water’ up in the ingredients list or in the method. I only read that bit about tap water in the notes section after making multiple jars :(

    • Sorry Esther!
      Did they start fermenting anyway? I think the chlorine dissipates after 24 hours so you should still get a ferment it will just take a little longer.
      Jx

  • Hi,
    May I please have the saurkraut recipe for your fermenting? Today, I will be making a trip to buy the fresh veg.’s for me & husband. Thank you so much,
    Cynthia

  • I love your site and I have just started fermenting and making kraut., I have found that using air locks a lot easier for me in fermenting. I grow my own veggies and can’t wait until spring , summer and fall of 2016. I am now fermenting kraut using fresh organic cabbage from my garden which I grow in spring and fall. thank you
    Tom

  • Hi, I just recently came across this site and I really like its easy to understand concept!
    I instantly tried the fermented carrots, I love it!
    Now I’d really like to know whether or not there is a fruit fermentation method that’s just as perfect!

  • Yes please! I’m negotiating how best to create maximum nutrition after a gastric bypass, so anything ‘healthy’ that will deliver taste AND proper food better duck for cover! I always check your posts (yeah I’m a lurker)

  • Help! I just tried my carrots after 3 days and they are so salty! I must have measured wrong! Can I save them? I made 2 giant jars :-(

    • Yes Maryann.. Just follow the recipe above. I’ve used it for cherries… And am sure other fruit would work… Just be mindful the salt is going to give a more savoury flavour :)

  • yes please sauerkraut recipe would be great I used to make it years ago but have not done so recently –so directions would be good thanks Jules

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *