Healthy Zucchini Recipes? How to Make Fermented Zucchini
Can you believe it’s the middle of May already? That means we’re heading into winter here in New Zealand and so the humble zucchini, (along with tomatoes and other ‘summer’ veg) can be found on supermarket shelves selling for huge winter prices – generally somewhere over $8 a kilo… 😯
But before we know it, summer will be back, vegetable prices will come down, and if I get my butt into gear early enough, I’ll have huge, abundant zucchini plants in my veggie garden again and I’ll be back making lacto-fermented zucchini. 🙂
Last summer I had an abundance of zucchinis toward the end of the season, and I was using them in everything. But it wasn’t until I made my first batch of fermented cucumber pickles that I had the inspiration to try fermenting zucchinis in the same way!
I was unsure if fermenting the zucchinis would work, or whether they’d just go mushy, so I made a small batch and was happy to find that they not only worked, they tasted great!
Even hubby loves them, and he’s not such a big fan of fermented foods like I am… 😉
So I decided to leave some of my zucchinis on the plant to get a little larger than I usually would, specifically for fermenting.
When I prepared them, because they were larger, I removed the fleshy center and seeds, leaving the much firmer exterior to be fermented. I discovered that the fleshy center tends to go a bit mushy so it’s best discarded prior to fermenting.
As long as the center is removed, the fermented zucchini pieces remain quite firm. They are sour like dill pickles, and a little spicy, and they’re really quite yummy.
The best thing is that like most ferments, they’re also really easy to make AND they’re really good for you!
How To Make Fermented Zucchini
- 2 large zucchinis or several smaller ones
- 3 grape leaves
- 6 cloves garlic
- 2-3 tablespoons of pickling spices
- 3 or 4 small red chilies
- 4 large teaspoons chopped dill leaves (or seeds)
- 2 tablespoons Himalayan salt
- 4 cups filtered (chlorine free) water
The How To
- Wash and slice zucchinis lengthways, removing the seedy centre,
- Pack the sliced zucchini and grape leaves into a large jar, adding garlic, chilies, dill and spices. NOTE: Keep one large grape leaf to cover the mixture while fermenting.
- Combine filtered water and salt to make brine then pour over the zucchini, ensuring that the zucchini is submerged under the brine.
- Cover the contents of the jar with the remaining grape leaf, ensuring it also is submerged under the brine. (You may need to push it down regularly during the fermentation process to ensure it stays under the brine).
Allow to ferment on your bench for one week or longer.
- A taste test will tell you when it’s ready! Once ready, refrigerate and enjoy.
Tips For Fermenting Vegetables
- If the mixture doesn’t remain under the brine during fermentation, you may find mold on the top. Check it regularly.
- If you get some mold, or funky looking stuff on the top of your ferments, you can often just remove it, and the rest will be okay. Use your sense of smell to tell you if your ferment is okay.
- If your ferment smells bad, or looks really funky further down in the jar, put it in the compost!
- I find when using grape leaves, I often get a white ‘moldy’ looking substance on the top of the ferment. This is not mold. It is a yeast from the grape leaves. I have found that this is not a problem and I just remove it.
- Use an air lock or purpose made fermenting jar with air lock to get a more consistent, reliable result.
- Use fermenting weights to hold your vegetables under the liquid.
- If you want to add essential oil to your ferment (doTERRA’s Dill oil tastes amazing and is perfect for zucchini or cucumbers), leave adding it until after fermentation is finished.
I hope you love this recipe as much as I do! Let me know how you get on with it in the comments below.
P.S. If you need fermenting jars or weights, I’ve added links to some great products (actually on my wish list…) below.