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Today’s post is from my new friend Melanie Hoffman, author of Pickle Me Too. Melanie and I met at the first of the year, hen I started my 52 Weeks series. She is also one of the newest members of the Nourished Living Network and I am so excited to get to know her better. When I heard about her recipe for lacto-fermented Brussels sprouts, I knew I had to have her share the recipe as week 8 of my series. I have a batch of this working their magic right now and I can’t wait to give them a try. It’s a fantastic twist on your regular cabbage ferments like kimchi or sauerkraut. So, without further adieu, please welcome Melanie to week 8 of some bad a** bacteria!
UPDATE 7/26/12: Neither Melanie nor I use whey as a starter for my ferments (learn why here). We also no longer use Mason jars for my ferments (learn why here). I personally use anaerobic fermenting jars exclusively and the improvement in the taste and texture of my ferments is unbelievable! I encourage everyone to take a look at the information regarding Mason jar ferments and come to a decision that best fits their family. I will be releasing updated versions of these recipes soon, as it applies to these jars. I recommend the anaerobic fermenting systems from The Probiotic Jar.
Thank you, Jessica, for letting me take over your blog for the day! I was first introduced to Jessica when she announced her 52 Weeks of Bad A** Bacteria series and I knew I had found a friend because I also have a fascination with fermentation. My blog, Pickle Me Too, revolves mainly around cultured foods (though I don’t restrict myself to just fermentation). I feature a ferment each week for Ferment Friday and this is one of the recipes that I created back in December.
At that time, I happened across a bag of organic Brussels Sprouts while on vacation (not something I normally would see in the stores back home) and knew I had to try fermenting them. Closely related to cabbage, they seemed a perfect vegetable to pickle. The best part about these, besides the awesome taste, is how cool they look in the jar.
Brine Pickled Brussels Sprouts
makes approx. 1 quart
- 1lb Brussels Sprouts, rinsed and halved
- 2 shallots, sliced thin
- 1 tsp. red pepper flakes, optional
- 1/4 cup fresh whey
- 3.6% salt brine (4 tbsp. salt dissolved in 8 cups of filtered water)
Layer the Brussels sprouts, shallots, and red pepper flakes in 1 quart mason jar, packing them tight. Pour whey or vegetable culture over the top and fill with salt brine to cover, leaving about 1” of head space. Use a small plate or cabbage leaf to keep Brussels sprouts submerged. Let set at room temperature for one to two weeks. Place in cold storage. Beware when opening the jar. This smells almost as good as kimchi.
Melanie is the creator and author of Pickle Me Too, a real foods blog that focuses on lacto-fermented foods. She is a homeschooling mom to 4 active boys, living life on a small hobby farm with 32 chickens, 1 cow, 2 goats, and 2 mouse hunting kittens. Her family follows the principles of the WAPF, with some modifications that include limiting grain consumption and avoiding gluten. She is one of the newest members of the Nourished Living Network and is excited to share her knowledge with her fellow bloggers and readers. You can keep up with her through her blog, or connect with her on Facebook or Pinterest.
sounds awesome…..I’l definitely give these a go!!
Sorry to sound like a novice – do you put a lid on it during the ferment or a coffee filter to breathe?
I have some brussel sprouts that have been in the fridge for about 2 weeks (I can’t get anyone in my house to eat them and I hate to waste them), do you think that I could try this with them?
I don’t see why not. As long as they are still firm and not wilted, I think they’d be fine.
I have never tried fermented Brussels sprouts! Do they taste similar to sauerkraut?
You know, I haven’t busted into my jar yet. When I poked one, it was still a little firm, so I thought I’d let them hang out in the fridge for another week or so. I’ll let you know how they taste! 🙂
Having discovered the joy of Brussel sprouts in the last few years, I DEFINITELY want to try making up a batch of these.
I tried fermenting halved raw brussels sprouts for one week in whey, sea salt and filtered water, but they were just too squeaky-crunchy. Now I am trying roasting them first, then fermenting them. Do you foresee any problems with this? Should I have fermented the raw ones longer to soften them up?
Hi Sandy – Thanks for stopping by. I would not recommend cooking the Brussels sprouts and then fermenting. That would negate the fermentation process by destroying the beneficial enzymes and bacteria in the raw veggie. You could always ferment them for longer. I found that these tasted better after they had sat in the fridge for a couple of weeks after the initial fermentation. They were still crunchy, but the longer they ferment, the softer they will be. Does that help? 🙂
SO…if you aren’t using whey…you just use the rest of the ingredients as listed, and you need more time? Same amount of time? I would love to be able to just pickle without needing extra special ingredients I might not have on hand…THANK YOU!
Hi April – I really need to get an updated version of this recipe up. I do skip the whey and I use a 2% brine, which is 19 grams of sea salt to 1 quart of water. The time frame should still be the same. It will depend on the temperature of your house. Using the brine method really helps solidify things, because you don’t need to worry about have extra ingredients or starters. Hope that helps! 🙂
I have two gallons of brussel sprouts that I blanched & froze a few weeks. Could I use those for this? Or did the blanching ruin them for this purpose?
Hi Jo – No, you will need to use fresh vegetables only to ensure proper fermentation. Hope that helps!
I have heard that it is best to steam the brussel sprouts for a short while, until ‘al dente’ because they “contain powerful goitrogens in their raw state which inhibit thyroid function”…. it is also said that adding seaweed to the brine, will rectify this matter and eliminate the presence of goitrogens… This link may help….
Apparently, and I am no expert, lacto-fermentation doesn’t eliminate these goitrogens, because there is no heat involved, and that’s what it takes to counter-effect these substances.,
It’s therefore impotant to include foods in the diet which balance the effect of goitrogens, and which help to promote, support or balance the thyroid.
Could I please hasten to add, I am an avid lacto-fermenter; I currently have cabbage, carrots, gherkins and celeriac all lacto-fermenting in my kitchen, so I’m not trying to be a ‘Debbie-Downer’ but am simply adding information for people to research….?
Response very welcome, many thanks!
Hi Alexandra! Thanks for stopping by! I have read mixed info on whether fermenting reduces goitrogens. Some experts say yes, some say no. I am a fan of going by what your body tells you. I used to not be able to tolerate any goitrogenic veggies and completely eliminated them from my diet for about a year or so. I added them back in after I had spent time working on gut health and no longer had any issues with them. I wrote about that here: https://www.deliciousobsessions.com/2012/08/help-your-thyroid-by-limiting-or-avoiding-goitrogenic-foods/. I would advise everyone to ferment the things that their body responds well to and skip all the rest. Hope that helps! 🙂
“This smells almost as good as kimchi.” Made me laugh out loud.
LOL, Michael! 🙂