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
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
79 Calories
1g Fat
18g Carbs
4g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 79
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1425mg 62%
Total Carbohydrate 18g 6%
Dietary Fiber 7g 26%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 22mg 110%
Calcium 106mg 8%
Iron 1mg 8%
Potassium 331mg 7%
*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.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt

  • 3 cups filtered water

  • 2 pounds green beans

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

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

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

  4. Place a clean glass quart jar on its side. (It's easier to get 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 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 brine and not float up out of it.

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

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

  7. After first 24 hours, remove lid and check on 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 signs that green beans are actively fermenting, transfer jar to door of refrigerator. This is the warmest part of the refrigerator, but still cooler than room temperature, perfect for green beans to continue to slowly ferment.

Tips

  • 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.