Recipe: Quick and Easy Fermented Courgettes

Fermented foods have become a big part of my diet in the last 6 months or so. Kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, fermented vegetables and more. It was the book Wild Fermentation that got me started and I’ve not looked back. I’ve recently discovered a very simple fermented food which can be made in minutes, although of course you need to wait for them to ferment, usually around 3 days: fermented whole courgettes.

For this to work, you need very small courgettes. The ones in the photo are probably a bit too big, it works better with smaller ones.

The process is really simple:

1) Take a kilner jar, (or a screw top jar) and wash well with hot water. The larger the jar, the better, the jar pictured is 1.7 litres.

2) Fill jar with whole courgettes.

3) If desired you can add some flavouring, I’ve used various combinations of grated ginger, grated turmeric, crushed coriander seeds and crushed cumin seeds. It does also work well without any flavouring, just experiment and see what you like.

4) Mix the brine – for each litre of your jar, use 1 teaspoon of salt, so for example for this 1.7 litre jar, use approx 1.7 teaspoons of salt. Mix with water and add to the courgettes so they are completely covered. If necessary, use something to push them under the water if they are floating to the top – a boiled and scrubbed stone works well.

And that’s it. Check every day that the courgettes are still completely submerged, and remove any scum that may form on top. Taste after 3 days. After 6 days or so (or once they are to your liking) you might want to put them in the fridge to stop them fermenting any more.

In hot weather the fermentation happens quicker, in cold weather slower. The more salt you add, the slower the fermentation, so in really hot weather adding more salt can slow the fermentation down and in cold weather less salt will speed up the fermentation.

If you can’t find small enough courgettes, you can also use larger ones and slice them. Make the slices quite thick slices, around 1cm each.

Let me know your favourite fermented recipes in the comments…

8 thoughts on “Recipe: Quick and Easy Fermented Courgettes

  1. These look great, thanks! I’ve got courgettes in the garden here so will give it a go. I’ve been experimenting with kefir a lot recently and was going to try some fermeting using whey – have you given that a go?

    • Only once, I tried fermenting some fish with kefir whey but it didn’t work, tasted bad. I’m guessing it was just too hot to ferment fish (that was in Southern Italy in July). I understand the book “Gut and Psychology Syndrome” by Natasha Campbell-McBride includes lots of recipes for fermenting with kefir whey (although not seen it myself).

  2. What is the texture like of the finished product? Is it crunchy as with pickles or soft? I put some chunky slices of courgette into sauerkraut once and the texture was too soft for my liking.

    • Depends on how long you leave them, after 2 or 3 days they are still crunchy, leave them longer and they start to go soft. There is a leaf you can add to pickles to stop them going soft, can’t remember off the top of my head but it might have been cherry leaves.

  3. I really appreciate the info. Can’t wait to make fermented courgettes. My question is, while fermenting, do you cover it tightly with the lid like the one you show, or just put a mesh cloth with a rubber band on it?

    Seems like it could be could with some hot chilies.


    • The jar shown is a kilner jar, and while it might look tight, the way it works is that the rubber seal allows air to escape as necessary. So if you use a kilner jar, you can close the lid as intended, otherwise the lid must be loose fitting to allow air to escape during the fermentation process.

      When I don’t have a kilner jar, I often use a screw top jar with the lid just resting on top, but I assume the method you suggest will work also.

      I recommend the book Wild Fermentation for lots of info on the best ways to ferment. My review of it is here

  4. Cherry, raspberry, some types of oak, grape and horseradish leaves can all be used to keep the veggies crisper. There are others as well but I can’t remember them.

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