How to Make Fermented Green Beans (The Perfect Garnish--and Filled with Probiotics)
I traded some zucchini for some green beans the other day. And then, I forgot to use them. Has that ever happened to you? You have great intentions, and you put something in the fridge, only to find it a few days later....and you have to use it NOW, or lose it. That's how those green beans were. I had to use them up, and there were quite a few of them!
Some, I cooked for dinner that night. But I still had a lot of them left: not enough to can, but too many to use up that very day. I decided to ferment them, and here's how to make spicy fermented green beans!
I love fermentation. It's a way to make your food last a lot longer (sometimes months), while increasing the nutritional value too. Amazing. Plus, fermented foods taste delicious! Here is more information about fermentation and its benefits.
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Here's My Recipe for Spicy Fermented Green Beans
Ingredients & Tools for Fermented Spicy Green Beans:
Green beans, cut into 2 to 4 inch lengths
Peppers (cayenne, jalapeno, habanero, or any hot pepper)
Garlic, about 1 tablespoon, and any other spices you want to add (Dill is a great choice.)
Sea Salt, 1 tablespoon
Starter Culture (optional---see directions)
Filtered water (although I just use our tap water, from our well)
Silicone airlock (optional)
Directions for Making Spicy Fermented Green Beans:
Step 1) Get your ingredients ready
Note on the Starter Culture: I like to use some type of starter because it helps speed up the fermentation process, and my ferments always work this way. You can use Whey, or you can use liquid from another raw ferment as long as the tastes go together.
For making these spicy green beans, I used some liquid from my recent fermented hatch peppers (see picture). You only need about 1/4 cup or so.
If you don't have liquid from a previous fermented batch or whey, that's ok. Just add an extra half tablespoon to full tablespoon of salt. The salt helps keep any bad bacteria out of your ferment, while allowing the good yeasts and bacteria to still do their thing! Pretty cool, right?
Step 2) Add All to Mason Jar
The best way to get your green beans into your Mason jar neatly is to lay the jar on its side, then pack your green beans in. They'll mostly be vertical this way, and it looks nice too.
I add the starter culture first, then any sea salt, then fill the jar with water until the green beans are just covered.
Step 3) Weight and Airlock System
You must be sure to weigh down your vegetables so they all remain under the surface of the liquid. Otherwise, you risk mold forming. I had that happen once, and you can read about it in this article---It's NO fun!
You can use a fancy fermenting weight, but if you don't have one, just boil a few rocks or add a plastic bag filled with water. You can get pretty creative with your weights, as long as those veggies stay put.
As far as the airlock goes, I love these silicone pickle pipes with the nipple at the top. They allow the gases to release so I don't have to "burp" my jars. However, they are optional. You can use a regular Mason jar lid---just plan to open the lid very slightly once or twice a day to "burp" it. You are releasing the gases from the jar so they don't build up and potentially explode.
Step 4) Ferment
Place your jar in a safe, undisturbed place. Your veggies will most likely be ready after about seven days, but I have left mine for a month before, and it's all good.
What you can expect to see as your veggies ferment:
- First, don't be worried if you notice that the liquid gets cloudy. That's normal and a good thing.
- Second, you'll be seeing little bubbles rising to the top of the jar, as the fermentation process gets going. These are little gas bubbles that will be released out of the airlock system or when you burp the lid.
- Third, your vegetables will change color a bit. They usually become a little less bright. As the fermentation process continues, they'll also soften a little. However, if they are a crunchy type vegetable, like green beans, they will retain some nice crispness.
Final Thoughts on Making Fermented Green Beans
Got too many veggies, and you need to use them up right away? Fermentation is a healthy, fast option! Not only will you preserve your food longer, you'll be providing your body with tons of healthy probiotics as well as extra nutrition. Win!
These spicy green beans can be used in salads, as garnishes, or even in your cooking. Just toss them into the crock pot at the end of the cooking period, or add them to scrambled eggs! Delicious! You can also eat them as a great snack!
Do you ferment any foods? I'd love to know your experiences! If you have any questions, please let me know. Also, you might be interested in these other articles on fermentation: Make Fermented Tomatoes: A Russian Recipe; How to Ferment Cranberries; How to Make Delicious Fermented Jalapeño Rings, and lots more on the website!
Hugs & Self-Reliance,
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