RECIPE: Fermenting Vegetables – Brining

At Cookery School we teach to empower so that everyone has the confidence to replicate recipes again and again at home. We also teach by principle – if you can understand how to ferment root vegetables, you can make a whole range of different pickles and ferments using the same principle.

During our time at home, in isolation, these principles have never been more pertinent, when we all need to cook a lot more. We will be sharing simple, home-cooked weekly recipes with you, so that your experience of cooking during Covid-19 is a positive one, with new recipes learnt and delicious dishes enjoyed.

Ferments: basic principles

You can transform most vegetables that are losing their crunch by fermenting them in brine
Pickling is usually done in an acidic mix like using vinegar but fermenting is when you use a brine solution
  The vegetables must remained submerged under the brine, otherwise they will go mouldy
  Natural fermentation occurs at room temperature and produces the required acidity
  Fermentation is the growth of “good” bacteria which makes the vegetables less vulnerable to “bad” spoilage-causing bacteria
  The sour flavour is achieved because of the chemical reaction between the sugar in the food and the natural present bacteria


You can use carrots, beetroot, celeriac, turnips, radishes and even Jerusalem artichoke


On day 1

1. Boil water.
2. Mix brine –  5g of salt for every 100ml of water  (How much water you need depends on the size of your jars, so measure this out beforehand).
3. Let the brine cool.
4. Sterilise jars in the oven or with boiling water or use jars that have gone through the dishwasher.
5. Peel the root vegetables (carrots, beets, turnips etc).  Then chop them into small chunks approximately 1cm x 1cm x 1cm.
6. Put vegetable chunks in the clean glass jars.
7. Fill jars with brine so that the vegetables are completely submerged.
8. You need to find a way of keeping all the vegetables submerged under the brine because any vegetables that stick out above the brine will go mouldy.
9. Put a lid on the jars.

Then every day

10. Open the lids at least once/day to release any bubbles that build up from the fermentation.
11. After a few days, start tasting a chunk of veg every day until it tastes sour and tangy. Your pickles are ready to eat.  Enjoy!
12. You can put the jars in the fridge at this stage, if you like.

Ros’s tips

To keep the vegetables submerged, put a cabbage leaf on top of the vegetables, then weigh them down with a tiny ceramic dish.

Cooking during Covid-19
We have a wealth of experience to share in these unprecedented times if you need help cooking during Coronavirus. We’ll be giving you tips and recipes on using store cupboard ingredients, preserving, pickling & above all making the most of your valuable ingredients & not wasting food. PLEASE let us have YOUR questions and SHARE on Facebook or Instagram what you’ve been cooking & our founder Rosalind will be able to get back to you with answers so we can all learn from each other.