The Health Benefits of Fermented Vegetables

It likely doesn’t sound good to most of us. Fermented black radishes? Really?

Admittedly, fermented black radishes aren’t my favorite side dish. But sauerkraut (which is fermented cabbage), served alongside my steak? It’s really not too bad. Especially when you realize how much eating them benefits your digestion. And fermented carrots are a delicious addition to a salad. 

So what’s so great about fermented vegetables?

Well, for one thing, they are raw.   And when you make them with unpeeled veggies, they contain all sorts of wonderful nutrients, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and enzymes. But the fermenting process gives them a huge jump in the additional health benefits regular vegetables offer. Once fermented, these veggies contain live, healthy bacteria that helps strengthen your immune system, helps heal your gut, aids in digestion, regulates the sugars contained naturally in the vegetables, and so much more. You can read more about specific benefits to fermented vegetables at Wise Choice Market

Through the years, I’ve experimented with making my own fermented vegetables. Since I haven’t figured out the “perfect recipe” yet to share with you, I did a little online searching and found another great post to send you to which gives a great “how to” on making fermented veggies. Or, if you want to give them a try but aren’t ready to make your own yet, Wise Choice Market has them ready made for you. Their Grated Carrots are our favorite.

What has been your experience with fermented vegetables? Tried them? Like them?



  1. Ellie Mae says

    I have been wondering about the whole fermenting process after I started reading Nourishing Traditions. It’s definitely an acquired taste but we are making a goal to eat them at least once a day, even if it’s just a little portion. Thanks for posting this! It’s a good reminder and resource. :)


  2. Jen says

    I’ve fermented many things successfully. Our favorite is a combo of carrot slices, garlic and onion. YUM! We also like sauerkraut and dilly beans. I still have 1 jar of dilly beans left in my fridge from LAST year. They look and taste great. It’s hard to believe that fermentaion can preserve them for so long. Salsa is another favorite.

    Fermenting is fun! I’m gearing up for another session soon. I have tons of cabbage for sauerkraut, and banna peppers and jalapeno peppers coming in from the garden. We love the bananna peppers on pizza. Soon I will be pulling my carrots and onions, and fermenting those with the garlic we harvested a few weeks ago. You can literally ferment just about anything! I’ve done radishes, beets, and daikon, although these were not faves. :)


  3. Kristina says

    I am from the south and sauerkraut and mixed pickles (this is what we call it, its just cabbage, green beans, corn & banana peppers) are some of our favorites. I hadn’t thought much about the health benefits until recently. We made the kraut as we always have, chopped the cabbage, salted and put in a large crock covered tightly with a dish cloth for 2 wks. Then we (me and my mom, plus everyone in my area that I know who cans) always canned it in a water bath. So now I’m wondering if the canning step is necessary, and is it ruining those benefits of eating the fermented veggies? Will it keep without doing this step? Does anyone know? I looked at the link and it just seems to give the recipe for making the kraut, not how to preserve. Now I can’t wait for the farmers mkt tomorrow to pick up some more veggies to ferment!


    Jessica Reply:

    We love our homemade sauerkraut! And as far as I know, any type of heat canning will kill the enzymes and stuff you worked so hard to grow. Same thing with heating or cooking it along with your dinner. Just spoon it onto your plate right out of the jar. We can keep ours for many weeks in the frig and have even gone an entire winter stored outside in the garage (which is unheated, but above freezing.)

    My mom has also made some lacto-fermented pickles. While not my favorite by themselves, they are great on sandwiches or in potato salad. I really need to try the gingered carrots in Nourishing Traditions next.


    Kristina Reply:

    Thanks! Thats what I was thinking. If you put it in quart jars, is it ever “safe” to put the lid on for good, our do you just need to keep checking it to make sure it had enough liquid & to release the pressure? My mom & I both have wonderful cellars to store it!


    Andre Reply:

    I’ve heard that freezing doesn’t kill the good stuff, so maybe that route would work for you!

    Jessica Reply:

    I’ve never known pressure to be a problem with ours. But being covered in enough liquid is definitely important. Occasionally, we have one develop a little mold on top, or darken a bit in color, just on top. But you can scrape that part off and it’s fine. It’s not an indefinite storage method though. Just a few months at best.

  4. Crystal says

    I like the ferm. ginger carrots. Easy to make. I tried fermented salsa, but it got moldy. Not sure why. We have a local ferm. kraut, here, so I buy that too. I also make ferm. ketchup, mayo, and mustard.


  5. Karen Dee says

    Anne, you are SO blessed! Enjoy your filter.
    Laura, I do all jars too. Want me to take a pic of mine as your “Before” picture? :) Makes me think I better get to cleaning. Good job!
    I guess I can try the glass jarred sauerkraut with no preservatives again. I about can’t stand pickled veges. I do kefir, 1/2 cup, every day. Homemade.Think that’s enough?


  6. Lerin Cunningham says

    Yes we love fermented vegetables!!! Our favorite right now are the dilly carrots. I have 3 boys and the other night I made pizza and gave them all a couple carrot sticks (because you CAN have too much when it comes to these natural enzymes, for little ones in particular). And each of them ate the carrots first…before pizza?!! I also make a slaw with purple cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, onion, broccoli, and other optionals. And there’s salsa. And bean paste. And kefir water which we are also all obsessed with. So good luck! (I have the “perfect recipe” if you want!)


    Katie Reply:

    What are dilly carrots and kefir water, and I would like to hear the perfect recipe too!


    Lerin Cunningham Reply:

    Sorry for the delay Katie! The dilly carrots are so easy. You can use whey from your homemade yogurt,
    or you can skip the whey and add extra salt (I know some people that only use the salt, especially if it’s
    for products they are selling. That way the product is consistent) For a quart recipe, cut carrots into a size
    that you would make for a veggie tray. I believe it’s about a pound. Stuff as many as you can into the jar,
    you can get more in if you stand them up, then the ones at the top will have to criss-cross. Then add 2 Tb
    sea salt (or 1 Tb whey and 1 Tb salt), 3 cloves garlic, quartered, and 1 tsp dried dill or 1 Tb fresh chopped.
    Fill to within one inch of the top with filtered water. flip over once or twice to mix the ingredients.

    Cover tightly and let sit at room temperature for 4-7 days. We always do 4 days because then they are still
    crunchy and not too sour. They get more sour/soft the longer you leave them out but they are more dense
    than other veggies, so they take longer to ferment. Then transfer to the fridge where they last for months!

    Kefir water- I don’t have enough time to write all about this, so check out it’s loaded with info,
    Hope this helps!


  7. Lisa says

    I stumbled across this old thread after google searching whether it was safe to eat some carrots that were accidentally fermented in a container of water in the fridge. And lo and behold, not only are they OK, but good for me too? I love saurkraut, so I figured they were probably good too. These are just starting to get tangy, they don’t need salt, and are wonderful with just a smidge of sour cream on each one. I think this is my new favorite way to eat carrot sticks! I think what happened was that my carrots (which i keep covered with water for crispness) got left out of the fridge for a few hours. That must have started the process. I’m so glad it did! Now I’m going to try adding ginger and maybe chives. Having fun with the idea. Thanks for the blog!


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