Lacto-Fermented Green Beans

Canned green beans
Brook Rieman/Moment/Getty Images
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Fermentation Time: 168 hrs
Total: 168 hrs 5 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
0 Calories
0g Fat
0g Carbs
0g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 0
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1166mg 51%
Total Carbohydrate 0g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Protein 0g
Calcium 18mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Lacto-fermented foods, which is another way of saying "pickling," are rich in healthy probiotics. But it's more than just cucumbers that can be fermented; vegetables such as green beans are also delicious when brined in water and salt.

There are a few things to keep in mind when making these fermented green beans. First, you want to make sure you use filtered water because the chlorine and other chemicals in most municipal tap water can interfere with the fermentation process. It is also not necessary to sterilize the jar for this recipe; just make sure it is very clean. And if salt isn't an option for you, you can use the alternate method for lacto-fermentation without salt.


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt (or other non-iodized salt)
  • 3 cups filtered water
  • 2 pounds green beans

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a measuring cup, dissolve the salt in the filtered water.

  3. Wash the green beans and snap off the stem ends and tips.

  4. Place a clean glass quart jar on its side. (It's easier to get the green beans to line up straight if you start out with the jar on its side rather than loading the beans in from above.) Pack the beans in tightly until there is no room for one more bean. The green beans will shrink a bit as they ferment, but packing them in tightly ensures that they will stay immersed in the brine and not float up out of it.

  5. Once the jar is full, set it upright. Pour the salt brine over the green beans. They must be completely covered by the brine. Cover the jar loosely with a lid.

  6. Place the jar on a small plate to catch the overflow that may happen during active fermentation. Leave the jar at room temperature for 24 to 48 hours.

  7. After the first 24 hours, remove the lid and check on your ferment. You should start to see some bubbles and it will begin to develop a mild, refreshingly sour smell (like a light version of sauerkraut).

  8. Once you see and smell the signs that the green beans are actively fermenting, transfer the jar to the door of your refrigerator. This is the warmest part of your refrigerator, but still cooler than room temperature, perfect for your green beans to continue to slowly ferment.


  • Fermented green beans are ready to eat 1 to 2 weeks after you make them. If you plan to store them for longer than a month, move the jar to a cooler part of your refrigerator (one of the central shelves rather than the inside of the refrigerator door).
  • You can enjoy your fermented green beans straight out of the jar as a pickle, or use them in recipes.
  • Keep in mind that cooking destroys those good-for-you probiotic bacteria. Try chopping the fermented beans and adding them to grain-based salads such as tabouleh, or chop them small and use them in place of capers. If you do decide to add them to a cooked dish such as soup, add them at the last minute after you've turned off the stove.

Recipe Variations

  • Since this is a basic recipe, there is plenty of room for adding other flavors. Try including onion or garlic, or fresh or dried dill leaves to the jar as you pack in the green beans.
  • For a spicy variation, stuff 1 or 2 small hot chili peppers into the jar. You can also use yellow wax beans or a combination of green beans and yellow wax beans.