Six of the very best pickles and ferments | Life and magnificence


Celeriac, apple and mustard seed kraut

One of our favorite ferments at Little Duck: the mix of substances make it a brilliantly uncommon different to typical cabbage kraut – nevertheless it’s simply as easy.

Celariac, apple and mustard seed kraut.

Celariac, apple and mustard seed kraut. Photograph: Jonathan West for the Guardian

Prep 15 min
Ferment Up to 2 weeks
Makes About 500g

1 celeriac, sliced on a mandolin
1 apple, sliced on a mandolin
1 tbsp black mustard seeds
1 tbsp salt

Toss the celeriac and apple with the mustard seeds and salt, massaging by to assist launch the water.

Decant right into a sterilised jar, pushing down as tightly as attainable to submerge the celeriac and apple of their brine. Seal. Store at room temperature, out of direct daylight. Check after 2 days: if it hasn’t produced sufficient liquid, prime it up with frivolously salted mineral or filtered water till the greens are fully submerged. Your ferment ought to be prepared in one other couple of weeks. Don’t fear if a white mould begins to seem on the highest: that is regular. Use a spoon to skim it off. Anything beneath the brine will probably be actually scrumptious – and wholesome.

Indian spiced carrot kraut

Carrots have a excessive water content material and, when grated, they ferment comparatively shortly. We serve this at breakfast alongside eggs with garlic yoghurt and flatbreads.

Indian spiced carrot kraut.

Indian spiced carrot kraut. Photograph: Jonathan West for the Guardian

Prep 10 min
Ferment 7-10 days
Makes About 500g

1kg carrots, peeled and grated
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp black onion seeds
1 pinch purple chilli flakes

In a bowl, rub the salt into the carrots till they begin to launch some liquid. This will take about 5 minutes.

Add the spices and blend effectively. Press all of the substances right into a sterilised jar and push down till the juices rise excessive of the carrots. (If the juice doesn’t rise excessive, combine in slightly filtered water and press down once more). You can crush with a weight, as long as it’s not steel.

Close the lid and go away to ferment for 7-10 days at room temperature, away from direct daylight. After 5 days you will notice it begin to kind small bubbles.

Make positive the substances stay beneath the liquid. Keep fermenting and style it every day till the tangy citrus flavour will get to the place you need it, then refrigerate to cease the fermentation course of.

Lime pickle

This will give each different lime pickle a run for its cash, the one draw back being the wait. The trick is at all times to have a brand new batch on the go so that you’re by no means with out. It’s clearly nice alongside curries, but additionally on cheese plates. At Rawduck we even serve it alongside cheddar on crumpets.

Curry flavour: homemade lime pickle.

Curry flavour: homemade lime pickle. Photograph: Jonathan West for the Guardian

Prep 15 mins
Ferment 5 weeks
Makes About 300g

250g limes (2-3 medium-size ones), each cut into 8 wedges
10g salt (about 1 tbsp)
5g sugar (about 1 tsp)
37ml mustard oil (about 4 tbsp)
1 tbsp turmeric
3 tsp cayenne pepper
3 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tbsp cider vinegar

Mix the lime wedges with the salt and sugar. Pack into a sterilised jar and leave to ferment for four weeks.

When four weeks have elapsed, heat the oil in a pan, add the spices and fry until the seeds start to pop. Add the limes with all their juice, along with the cider vinegar, and cook for five minutes.

Leave to cool, then pack back into the jar and store for another week, so the flavours can combine.


This Jewish-Russian condiment of fermented beetroot and horseradish is ideal alongside smoked fish or in place of horseradish – with cold roast beef, for example.

Purple chrain: a ferment of beetroot and horseradish that would be a good pickle for cold beef.

Purple chrain: a ferment of beetroot and horseradish that would be a good pickle for cold beef. Photograph: Jonathan West for the Guardian

Prep 10 min
Ferment 5 days
Makes About 350g

2 medium beetroot, peeled and finely grated
4-inch piece of fresh horseradish, peeled and finely grated

Weigh the beetroot and horseradish, then measure out 2% of their weight in salt. Mix all three ingredients together in a bowl.

Put them into a 500g sterilised jar and push the vegetables down so their juices rise over the top. Close the lid and leave to ferment in a warm place, away from direct sunlight.

After five days, the chrain will have taken on a sour fermented flavour, at which point it’s ready to eat. When it gets to your desired taste, refrigerate – this will stop it fermenting – and eat it as an accompaniment to meat and fish dishes.


Kohlrabi is often the main ingredient in our kimchi – it has a high water content and stays really fresh, which can make a nice change from the more potent version with cabbage. The fermentation time is relatively short, giving it a gentle and clean flavour, with a delicate umami backdrop from the fish and soy sauces.

Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish.

Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish. Photograph: Jonathan West for the Guardian

Prep 15 min
Ferment 1 week minimum
Makes 500g

500g kohlrabi or daikon, finely sliced on a mandoline
1 tsp salt
½ tsp sugar
2 large garlic cloves, finely sliced
25g ginger, finely sliced
60ml light soy sauce
60ml fish sauce
1 tbsp Korean red pepper flakes

Mix the mandolined vegetable of choice with the salt and sugar. Rub together so the vegetable starts to release some of its water, then sit the mixture in a colander overnight to release some more.

The next day, wash the vegetable briefly in cold water and drain.

Mix the garlic and ginger with the remaining ingredients before rubbing the mixture into the drained vegetables.

Pack into sterilised jars, leaving 1cm clear at the top, and ferment for a least a week before using.


Kombucha is fermented tea that can be infused with other flavours such as rhubarb or hibiscus. Serve over ice.

Kombucha: tea ferment with health benefits.

Kombucha: tea ferment with health benefits. Photograph: Jonathan West for the Guardian

Prep 15 min
Ferment 7-10 days
Makes About 3 litres

235g golden caster sugar (preferably unrefined)
3.5 litres boiling water
35g loose-leaf tea (black, green or oolong)
1 kombucha culture (aka scoby, available from various online suppliers such as Happy Kombucha)

In a large pan, dissolve the sugar in the boiling water, then add the tea and leave to cool.

Strain the tea out and decant the liquid into any sterilised large glass jar that you can cover tightly with muslin. Making sure you have very clean hands, add the scoby, avoiding metal utensils. Leave to ferment for seven to 10 days, during which time the bacteria will eat all the sugar.

Next, taste the tea for the desired ratio of tart to sweet – you should be looking for a slight vinegary taste. Follow the packet instructions on how to care for your scoby carefully – if you see any sign of black mould or the kombucha smells eggy, immediately discard it, as it means your bacteria have taken a turn for the worse.

Once you’re happy with the fermented tea, decant it into sterilised bottles, ideally with a capped top. At this point you can infuse the kombucha with a few hibiscus leaves, rhubarb, citrus, or whatever you like – but do not leave in for more than a few days or they will go mouldy.

Kombucha is aliveand changing all the time as it ferments. It will produce gases and these need to be let out (“burped”) every couple of days or you could end up with exploding bottles. Don’t store in direct sunlight, don’t put them in a cold corner either, because they will die.

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