Hi! I'm Heidi.

Hi! I'm Heidi, and here is my Homestead Journey.....

Hi! I'm Heidi, and here is my Homestead Journey.....

 

Hi! I'm Heidi--I'm a modern-day homesteader starting out in middle age! I'm all about plant medicine, raising animals for love & food, preparedness, traditional food practices, and being a natural health rebel for life! Join me on this journey!

I'm Heidi, and this is Ranger.  He has been with me for over ten years, and I love him dearly.  

I'm Heidi, and this is Ranger.  He has been with me for over ten years, and I love him dearly.  

Ferment that Baby Zucchini! How to Make Fermented Baby Zucchini Pickles

Ferment that Baby Zucchini! How to Make Fermented Baby Zucchini Pickles

We live in a high altitude mountain environment.  So even though we are technically in Zone 8, we must garden up here on the mountain more like Zone 4 or 5! It's a little frustrating because the nurseries down in Las Vegas have completely run out of everything by the time we are ready to plant!  People just an hour away plant in February, and we plant in early June! I have to admit:  I'm a little (okaaaay....a LOT) jealous of my fellow homestead and gardener friends who live in areas with long growing seasons who are already busy harvesting their first bounties while we are just beginning to plant!  My little tiny zucchini plants are only about three inches tall right now!  

So, to help me self-soothe, Mr. V. took me down to our local orchard/vegetable garden on the outskirts of Las Vegas.  This orchard is amazing! It's been there for decades, and I highly recommend it for families who live in Las Vegas.  You just show up and pick your own veggies!  All summer long! 

On that day, we ended up with a TON of veggies: baby zucchini, eggplant, spinach, miscellaneous squash, garlic, and cucumbers! We even got some green tomatoes!   As usual, I picked way too much, and had to find a way to use it all---besides giving it to the chickens.  And because I love fermenting foods for SO many reasons, I decided to go that route! Here's how I made homemade fermented zucchini pickles! DELICIOUS! 

**For some of my other fermented recipes, check out How to Make Fermented Tomatoes, How to Make Delicious Fermented Jalapeño Rings, How to Make Fermented Cranberries, and there are lots more! 

Fermented foods are SO good for you! Fermenting is also easy to do and is a wonderful traditional way to preserve your food.  Here's how I made delicious homemade zucchini pickles! 

Fermented foods are SO good for you! Fermenting is also easy to do and is a wonderful traditional way to preserve your food.  Here's how I made delicious homemade zucchini pickles! 

Note: There are affiliate links scattered throughout this article! If you happen to click through on one and make any kind of purchase, I will earn a small commission at no cost to you at all!  I truly appreciate your helping support Healing Harvest Homestead! Heidi
The zucchini! Wash it well, then slice it lengthwise into spears.

The zucchini! Wash it well, then slice it lengthwise into spears.

Ingredients for Homemade Fermented Zucchini Pickles

About 3 to 4 small zucchini per quart wide mouth Mason jar

Garlic to taste

Jalapeno or Red Peppers (optional)

Dill (if you want)

Ferment Starter:  Whey OR leftover brine from another ferment (that link is to my recipe for fermented tomatoes, which is where I got the liquid for these pickles) OR you can make your own brine (see directions below), which is heavier on the salt.  

Sea Salt:  1/2 tbsp to 1 tbsp per quart Mason jar, depending on if you are adding a helpful starter (whey or liquid from a good ferment).  

About Ferment Starter Culture and/or Brine

You'll need to add some type of starter and/or brine to your ferment.  Basically, this gets the ferment going by helping out the good micro-organisms and keeping the bad ones away.  

You can add any one or a combination of these three of my favorite options for lacto-fermentation.  

To Make Brine:  

Add about 1 tablespoon (give or take) sea salt to about 3 cups of filtered water (I actually just use our well water).  The salty brine won't have any of the yeast necessary to ferment the vegetables, but don't worry---there is lots of wild yeast floating around in the air that will take care of that!  The salty water helps protect the veggies against mold and bad organisms but allows the good organisms to ferment the vegetables just fine.  

If you don't want to use so much salt, then supplementing your ferment with optional whey or leftover liquid from an existing ferment will allow you to cut back on the salt significantly.  

Whey:  

You can get whey from quality whole plain yogurt. You can read about how to make whey here.  You'll just add about 1/4 cup to your ferment, and this will really help it get going!

Leftover Liquid from Another Ferment:  

This is probably my favorite way to get the ferment started quickly.  If you have an existing ferment, then you can just add about 1/4 cup of that liquid!  It will already have all of the cultures in it, and your ferment will be a bit quicker.  The only thing you have to be careful about is that you must take into account the type of taste of the ferment the liquid is from.  You don't want it clashing with the taste you are trying to achieve in the new ferment.  

***You know where else you can get liquid from a previous ferment? If you buy RAW sauerkraut or kimchi, the liquid from that will work too.  Just be sure it's not pasteurized.

 

How to Make Fermented Zucchini Pickles

Step 1) Wash & Slice the Zucchini

These are baby zucchini, so I didn't have to cut them in half---I just sliced them down the middle, then sliced down the middle again, to make long fourths.

Step 2) Pack the Jar

Make sure you work with SUPER clean jars for your ferments.  I personally don't obsess about sanitation, but I do make sure my jars are very clean.  

Just put the zucchini slices lengthwise into the jar and pack them in as tightly as you can.  Add your garlic and any other spices you want to add.  (Pictures below)

Here are some fermented tomatoes that have been in my store room since last Fall (over 8 months!).  Even though they are fermented, and have not been canned, they are wonderfully preserved and delicious.  Fermentation, I tell you, is an INCREDIBLE way to preserve your foods!  This liquid is what I'll use to add to the brine for my zucchini pickles. It will speed up the fermentation process.

Here are some fermented tomatoes that have been in my store room since last Fall (over 8 months!).  Even though they are fermented, and have not been canned, they are wonderfully preserved and delicious.  Fermentation, I tell you, is an INCREDIBLE way to preserve your foods!  This liquid is what I'll use to add to the brine for my zucchini pickles. It will speed up the fermentation process.

Step 3) Add Your Spices

I'm not really a stickler for measuring out my spices.  For this ferment, I just added a heaping teaspoon of minced garlic and lots of black pepper. I was going to add a jalapeño pepper or a red pepper, but I decided not to.  

Step 4) Add Your Whey or Liquid from a Previous Ferment (Optional)

Just add in about 1/4 cup of the whey or liquid from a previous ferment if you want.  

Step 5) Add the Salt Brine

Pour your salted water to within an inch or so of the top.  OR if using whey or leftover fermented liquid, you can add the water to within about an inch of the top.  Then just put in about half tbsp of salt. Or, you can just use the salty brine with all the salt.

Step 6) Set up Your Ferment

Here is where you will make sure your veggies are below the surface of the water by adding some kind of weight.  I like to use ceramic or glass fermenting weights because they fit perfectly into a wide mouth Mason jar.  I've also used boiled rocks and small jelly jars filled with a bit of water.  You can get really creative with the weights you use. 

You might want to consider using an airlock that fits on a Mason jar.  That way you can just leave it be, and never have to remember to "burp" it!  I love these silicone pickle pipe airlocks (I call them nipple airlocks---lol) from Amazon.  

Step 7) Let Ferment Away

Now, you just wait patiently for the fermentation process to begin and get to where you like it.  I let these zucchini go about a week before eating one of the jars! It's been about two weeks now, and I still have one jar sitting on the counter.  The longer you let ferment, the more complex the flavors.  When you get your ferments where you like them, just refrigerate!  

How Long Do These Last in the 'Fridge?

Honestly, I've had ferments last in the fridge for over a year.  With the sweet ferments (fruit), most people say about two weeks, but I've had them last longer.  Just do the smell test! If they smell "off" then go ahead and compost.  And obviously, if there is mold, compost away. But in my experience, ferments last a REALLY long time if you don't introduce dirty utensils.  

How Does Fermented Zucchini Taste?

Well, since there is no vinegar or acid added to this, it's not your typical pickle.  It's much more mild, with a nice tangy, salty flavor.  The spices make these delicious! My husband can eat a whole jar!

About the Forgiveness of Fermentation

You've probably noticed that fermentation is an extremely forgiving process.  Once you've made a few ferments, you'll find that you really can't mess up!  As long as you either have enough salt in your brine OR you have started with whey or another culture, you're usually golden!  

The jar on the left shows the zucchini spears completely submerged under the liquid. The jar in the middle has the weight plus the nipple airlock. The jar on the right shows what the weight looks like holding down the spears.  

The jar on the left shows the zucchini spears completely submerged under the liquid. The jar in the middle has the weight plus the nipple airlock. The jar on the right shows what the weight looks like holding down the spears.  

If you've ever wanted to create your very own tea blends with healthy herbs, here is an eBook that will show you how! You can also purchase it on Kindle if you prefer! 

If you've ever wanted to create your very own tea blends with healthy herbs, here is an eBook that will show you how! You can also purchase it on Kindle if you prefer! 

The complete system:  Weight, nipple airlock, lid.  So easy, my peeps! That red liquid is Beet Kvass fermenting away!  This stuff is delicious and so very good for you! ***About the jar on the left:  There is no nipple airlock.  I just used a regular Mason jar lid.  I'll probably have to burp this every day or two to release the gases.  I won't need to even touch the ones with the airlocks. 

The complete system:  Weight, nipple airlock, lid.  So easy, my peeps! That red liquid is Beet Kvass fermenting away!  This stuff is delicious and so very good for you! ***About the jar on the left:  There is no nipple airlock.  I just used a regular Mason jar lid.  I'll probably have to burp this every day or two to release the gases.  I won't need to even touch the ones with the airlocks. 

The Craft of Herbal Fermentation Course by Herbal Academy
Look at those lovely bubbles! This is about 7 days later, and the fermentation process is perfect! The zucchini is ready to eat now, or I could actually choose to leave them longer.  Refrigerate or store in a cold room when you feel they are ready!

Look at those lovely bubbles! This is about 7 days later, and the fermentation process is perfect! The zucchini is ready to eat now, or I could actually choose to leave them longer.  Refrigerate or store in a cold room when you feel they are ready!

Perfect pickled zucchini spears! 

Perfect pickled zucchini spears! 

Do you ferment any foods? I'd love to know your experiences, and if you have a great zucchini recipe, please share! 

Hugs & Self-Reliance!

Heidi

P.S.  Please join me on my Facebook and Pinterest pages! I'm on Instagram too, if you are interested---all under Healing Harvest Homestead!  And if you haven't signed up for our newsletter yet, please do so!  You'll get a weekly update and never miss a thing!  I'll also send you a free copy of my eBook: How to Relax Using Herbs! 

This article has been shared at these link up parties: Grandma's House We Go, Homestead Blog Hop, Our Simple Homestead, and The Homestead Bloggers Network! Stop on by for lots of great information! 

 

 

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