It’s really easy to make fermented Brussel sprouts. Just like all other cabbage ferments, Brussel sprouts naturally have the necessary lactic culture right on their leaves. So packing them in a jar with a salt brine is an easy way to preserve the crop.
Fermentation is also a great way to serve Brussel sprouts to someone who typically doesn’t enjoy sprouts. They develop a tangy, salty and sour flavour that is perfect paired with cheese, diced up into a salad or served as a kraut-like condiment on hot dogs.
A few notes about fermenting Brussel Sprouts
Whole or halves?
When fermenting Brussel sprouts, you need either commit to fermenting whole sprouts or half sprouts. Because it will dramatically change the amount of time required for the ferment.
- Brussel sprouts that have been sliced in half only take 2 to 3 weeks to ferment and soften. This is because the inner layers are exposed to the brine.
- Whole Brussel sprouts will take at least 3 weeks to ferment. In fact, they could be left to ferment for several months. This is because it takes time to ferment the centre of a whole sprout.
- If fermenting whole Brussel sprouts it’s also a good idea to sort by size, as larger sprouts will take longer to ferment than smaller ones.
It’s always fun to add flavours to homemade ferments! However, I only recommend flavouring fermented Brussel sprouts that have been sliced in half. Unless the whole sprouts are really small, the flavours just won’t reach the centre of the sprout. But don’t worry, whole fermented sprouts pack plenty of flavour all on their own.
Here are a few flavours that you can add to a jar of fermented Brussel sprouts. The amount given is for a 1-quart jar.
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 or 2 hot peppers, sliced in half
- 2-inch piece of ginger, sliced in quarters down the middle.
- 10 peppercorns
- 2 tsp of pickling spice
If you have any other flavour suggestions, please share in the comments!
Serving Fermented Brussel Sprouts
Here are a few suggestions for serving your fermented Brussel sprouts:
- Sprouts that have been sliced in half and fermented with flavour can be served straight from the jar, like any pickled vegetable. They are delicious as an appetizer or side dish.
- Whole fermented sprouts have a unique flavour that I quite enjoy. They are also firm enough to be sliced up for serving. I like slicing them up, then serving them with a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
- Fermented sprouts can be finely chopped and served as a condiment for hot dogs and sandwiches or as a garnish.
- Serve them as a topping for a Buddha bowl or salad.
- Brussel sprouts are a traditional Canadian Thanksgiving dish. Serve them sliced in half or quarters next to your turkey and gravy.
Fermented Brussel Sprouts
Fermented Brussel sprouts are salty, sour and tangy. Perfect as a side dish or diced up as a condiment. See the section above for 5 different flavour options.
- Yield: 1 quart 1x
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Fermented
- Diet: Vegan
- 1 tbsp salt (non-iodized)
- 1 cup chlorine-free water (enough to cover)
- 1 lb of Brussel sprouts.
- Flavours (see the section above)
- Mix the salt and water in the bottom of a 1-quart jar.
- Decide if the Brussel sprouts are going to be fermented whole or in half. I don’t recommend doing a mix of both because they won’t ferment at the same rate. See the section above for more details. Slice a little bit off the bottom of the sprouts. Remove any sprouts with bad spots and peel off any loose leaves. Wash the sprouts and pack them into the jar.
- Add more water if necessary to completely submerge the sprouts. Use a weight to keep the sprouts below the brine and leave 1-inch of headroom.
- Cap with a loose-fitting lid that will allow gas to escape. See notes for more details.
- Ferment in a cupboard for at least 2 weeks and up to 6 months (for whole sprouts).
- I generally like using fido jars (affiliate link) for my ferments. However, I don’t have enough for all my ferments so I often use mason jars and simply don’t tighten the jar ring all the way. You could also use an air-lock or pickle-pipe. Using a good, fermentation-specific lid is more important for longer ferments. So I recommend it if you want to ferment whole Brussel sprouts for longer than a month.
- Like sauerkraut and other cabbage ferments, fermented Brussel sprouts are not recommended for anyone with hypothyroidism.
Keywords: gluten-free, fall, winter, Thanksgiving, harvest, simple, easy, no-cook, zero-waste, keto, low carb