Homemade Fermented Vegetables Recipe – Beginner’s Guide

Learn to make your own pickled vegetables at home with this traditional Chinese method of fermenting vegetables! Great for cooking or enjoying right out of the jar!

Having fermented vegetables around has been a family tradition for a long time.

Using glass jars, like the ones shown (You can see how much I like fermented vegetables), are best for this process for several reasons.

The vegetables will be more crisp and pure, unlike with plastic jars, and you can also watch the process of fermentation through the glass!

The production of fermented vegetables mainly relies on lactic acid bacteria, which is a very common type of anaerobic bacteria.

It decomposes sugars and produces lactic acid in places with less oxygen. Lactic acid is the source of sour taste of fermented vegetables.

Fermented Vegetables

Friends who have been fermented vegetables often ask me what to do if they fail.

For example, fermented vegetables are not sour, they are bitter, or fermented vegetables are degraded. I will answer these questions one by one at the end of this recipe.

Fermented Vegetables

Ingredients:

  • 1) 2L of clear water
  • 2) 1 bay leaf
  • 3) 1 star anise
  • 4) 1 tablespoon of Sichuan peppercorn
  • 5) 120g of sea salt
  • 6) 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 7) 1 piece of ginger
  • 8) 1 head of garlic
  • 9) Red chilies

ingredients

How to make fermented vegetables:

Step 1: Clean the inside of the container VERY thoroughly with water. Add the white wine to clean the jar.

Fermented Vegetables step1

Step 2: In the water, add the spices, add salt and sugar. Bring to a boil and let cool.

Fermented Vegetables step2

Step 3: Rinse all the vegetables very thoroughly. The white radish, lettuce cut into strips, cabbage torn into large pieces, Snow pea, red chillies (or prepare some other vegetables you like), ginger and garlic are prepared. Let dry.

Fermented Vegetables step3

Step 4: After the prepared vegetables are fully dried, put them in a jar and pour the water that the spices were boiled in (strain to keep the spices out).

Fermented Vegetables step4

Step 5: Add 2 tablespoons of high-alcohol liquor before sealing. Store in a cool and dark place. Soak for 1 week.

Fermented Vegetables step5-1

Fermented Vegetables step5-2

Step 6: Because fermented vegetables will produce gas at the beginning, you can open the lid every day for a few days.

Tips
1. Jars are washed with white wine in order to disinfect them.

2. You can use whichever vegetables are in season or that you prefer.

3. You can eat the vegetables right out of the jar once they are done, just like pickles!

4. There is no fixed variety of liquor, as long as it is high-alcohol content

Stir-fried meat with fermented vegetables

Ingredients:

  • 1) 250g of Shredded pork
  • 2) 3 garlic cloves
  • 3) 1 small piece of ginger
  • 4) one piece of Parsley
  • 5) 200g of fermented vegetables
  • 6) 2Tbsp light soy sauce
  • 7) 1Tbsp cooking wine
  • 8) 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 9) 1Tbsp potato starch
  • 10) Salt to taste
  • 11) Sugar to taste

Procedure:

Step 1: Add light soy sauce, cooking wine, sesame oil and starch to the pork. Mix thoroughly.

Stir-fried meat with fermented vegetables step1

Step 2: Prepare fermented vegetables, shredded red pepper, parsley.

Stir-fried meat with fermented vegetables step2

Step 3: Add a little oil to the pan. Once it is warm, add the pork and stir-fry. Remove the pork once it becomes white.

Stir-fried meat with fermented vegetables step3

Step 4: Add a little oil, add the ginger and garlic, sauté the vegetables.

Stir-fried meat with fermented vegetables step4

Step 5: Pour the pork back into the pan. Season with salt and sugar according to your taste.

Stir-fried meat with fermented vegetables step5-1

Stir-fried meat with fermented vegetables step5-2

Step 6: Add sesame oil, stir fry a few times, thicken with starch-water mixture.

Stir-fried meat with fermented vegetables step6-1

Stir-fried meat with fermented vegetables step6-2

Step 7: Add the red pepper and the parsley, mix well and then serve on rice.

Stir-fried meat with fermented vegetables step7

Tips:

1. The pork is cooked twice: once alone, and second with the vegetables. So don’t cook for too long the first time.

2. You can also use chopped green onion instead of parsley.

To successfully Ferment Vegetables:

1. All appliances used in the process should be clean and oil free

2. The first jar is the most likely to fail. If it is successful, it will be much easier later, so pay special attention to it

3. For the first time, you can add more ginger and garlic, and choose vegetables with less water. After you have successfully fermented several times, you will start to soak vegetables such as Chinese cabbage.

4. The less salty the fermented vegetables are, the more acidic. But the fermented vegetables can easily become bad with less salt. To master the amount, the first few times you make fermented vegetables, you should add the full amount of salt.

5. Sugar can help with fermentation, and it can be added more.

6. Appropriately add salt and sugar each time you put new vegetables.

7. High alcohol can inhibit bacteria and increase the flavor of fermented vegetables. It must be added, but too much alcohol will prevent fermentation. If fermented vegetables have a bitter taste, it is usually too much alcohol

After a few times of successful fermentation, you can continue to use the same fermented water for each new batch of vegetables. This will increase the flavor and speed of fermenting vegetables.

Anti-“flower” precautions

“Flower” refers to the white water-insoluble floc on the surface of fermented vegetables. The reason is that fermented vegetables are exposed to excessive oxygen, which affects the internal anaerobic environment. Therefore, some oxygen-loving bacteria are mixed. The following points can generally be avoided:

1. Appliances with fermented vegetables should be clean and oil-free, and do not open the lid frequently or for long periods of time;

2. Every time you use new dishes, they should be completely dried.

3. Let fermented vegetables stay in a relatively constant temperature, away from heating and open flames

4. Every time you open the lid, use the cotton swab dipped in alcohol to wipe the edge of the jar and the lid to have a bacteriostatic effect.

5. Stir the fermented vegetables before taking some out to eat or cook to avoid some sitting at the bottom for too long.

6. Always observe that if you find a little sign of flowering, you can try to remedy it. The floc is usually floating on the surface. You can remove the surface part, add a little salt and wine.

7. If there is a lot of floc or continue to appear after remediation, it is best to re-do the whole jar.

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