These lacto-fermented green beans are so easy to put together! It literally only takes minutes and it’s a great way to preserve your beans. Lacto-fermented green beans are a healthy and delicious summer snack!
I grow a ton of beans every year. I love growing beans!
I grow pole beans, bush beans, and sometimes I also grow dry beans. They are rather simple to grow here in the South. The only challenge is the Japanese beetle but lately I found a trap bag that takes care of the beetles.
One of the reasons that I love growing beans is that I can always sell them. Where I live, people will buy beans by the crate.
I live in a small Southern town and I guess that most people around here grew up on home-canned green beans. This is their type of food. They love it and they keep canning green beans to this day.
Lacto-Fermented Green Beans…
But I’ll admit that canned beans are not my thing. In fact, I don’t really like any canned vegetables (except corn).
During the canning process the vegetables usually soften and I just don’t like the texture.
I tried and tried different ways of canning vegetables and at the end, I made peace with the fact that I’ll just grow a ton (cause it’s what I like to do the most), sell some of it (cause I like to do that too and it’s a great supplemental income), and eat as much as I can fresh (because, well… I like to do that too).
Then, during the winter I’ll just have to support another farmer and buy my fresh vegetables at the grocery store.
I was at peace.
Then, a few years ago, I went to visit my family in Israel. Every time that I go to Israel I try to consume as many Israeli pickles (fermented cucumbers. No vinegar) as possible.
They are simply the best and I can’t get them where I live. I honestly just go crazy “fueling” until my next visit.
That year, I came back home and fell into a deep depression… I was going through a divorce AND DIDN’T HAVE my Israeli pickles.
Geez… The world can be so cruel sometimes!
Screw it! I’m gonna figure out how to make those Israeli pickles, I said to myself one day when I could take it no more. It can’t be that hard. I am a homesteader, a DIYer… I’ll figure it out.
It took some experimenting and a little bit of research about the wonderful process of fermentation but I figured it out! I made the perfect Israeli pickles.
They were sour and salty, and crunchy, and fabulous!
And they got me into the world of fermentation. I started thinking that there are other vegetables that I would like to preserve but I don’t want to can or freeze.
Maybe I can ferment them to keep them “fresh” just a little longer.
One of those vegetables is green beans. I used to blanch and freeze green beans but I don’t do this as much these days. I like eating them steamed just a little and seasoned with butter, garlic, and salt (here is my healthy green bean recipe).
But there are just so many that we can eat fresh so I decided to try and ferment the rest just as I did with the cucumbers!
What is the Process of Lacto-Fermentation?
Lacto-fermentation means preserving food by using a brine mixture (salt dissolved in water). The brine creates an anaerobic, acidic environment in which bad bacteria can not grow, therefore, we are able to keep the food longer.
That makes sense, right? An acidic solution doesn’t allow bacteria to grow, the food lasts longer…a great way to preserve the harvest. Makes sense.
The cool thing about lacto-fermentation though, is that first, it’s so simple! No boiling water baths, no special pressure pots or any special equipment is necessary.
And second, the nutrition level of the food actually increases. How amazing is that?
Not only that, lacto-fermented food keeps its nutrition value but also, – in the process of fermentation – bacteria, probiotics, and enzymes that are beneficial to our digestive system are created.
It’s a win, win, win, win, win, win… In every direction, it’s a win. You can’t lose here.
Tools That We Are Going to Need…
Ok, let’s gather everything that we need before we start lacto-fermenting green beans…
Cutting board – I love my wooden board…
Chopping knife – you can chop just the ends of the green beans or you can chop the beans into 2 or 3 or 4 pieces. However you want to do this it’s fine.
1/2 gallon jar – this is the size of jar that I used this time. Of course, you can use whatever size you’d like. I think next time I’ll use a quart jar. A pint jar will work well too but I think that 1/2 a pint will be too small.
Lids and bands – to close the jar. I am using the regular lids but there are all kinds of other fancy fermentation lids that you can use. They release the gas that is created during the process without you needing to “burp” the jar (open it and let the gas out each day).
Fermentation weights – you can find online a few different tricks that people use to make fermentation weights. It’s important to keep the food under the brine so to do that you need a weight.
I used to use an apple, a freezer jar lid and a few other options… But I tell you, get fermentation weight. It’s a little investment that will make your life so much easier and will keep your food from going bad. It’s totally worth it.
Measuring spoons – to measure the seasonings and salt.
2 cup measuring cup – to make the brine.
All right, that’s all we need. Let’s lacto-ferment green beans!
Preparing the Beans For Fermentation…
I started with about 2 pounds of green beans from my garden…
You use as many beans as you need to fill your jar. You can use different kinds of string beans. There are yellow varieties, and purple varieties and many others. feel free to use whatever you have.
I cut both ends. You can leave them long like that or cut them further into 2 or 3 pieces. However you want to do this is fine.
Adding the Seasonings…
To my clean half gallon jar, I added 1/2 teaspoon of red chili flakes…
And 1/2 teaspoon of mustard seeds.
I wanted to keep it simple, but you feel free to add whatever spices that you want. You can add pickling mix or peppercorns…
You can add fresh dill to make fermented dilly beans, you can add thyme… There are no rules… Add whatever you like.
Packing the Jar With Beans…
After I add the seasoning, I start packing the jar with beans…
Half way through, I crush two cloves of garlic (I don’t peel them)…
And add them into the jar…
Then I add beans the rest of the way making sure to leave about an inch of headspace.
Adding the Brine…
To make the brine, I add a teaspoon of kosher salt to each cup of cool water. I mix it until the salt dissolved and add the brine to the jar.
If you like the taste of vinegar, you can add 3/4 cup of vinegar before you start adding the water (to a half gallon jar). This is a bit outside of the rules of lacto-fermentation but I don’t like following rules anyway.
It works just fine. You can see how my mother is doing it when she preserves peppers in this post. It works the same with beans (or any other kind of vegetable).
I keep making and adding brine until it covers the beans…
Then I place my fermentation weight on top of the vegetables and close the jar with the lid and band finger tight (in other words, not too tight).
Letting the Beans Ferment…
Now it’s time to set the jar aside and let the lacto-fermentation process happen.
I always set my jar on a plate since during the process of lacto-fermentation there is some bubble action going which causes some of the brine to spill out of the jar.
So to keep the mess contained, I place the jar on a plate and set it on my kitchen counter out of the way.
You can place it anywhere you want just make sure it’s a warm place (60-70 degrees F is best).
You’ll notice that the brine becomes foggy and that bubbles form at the top. If you are not using a fancy fermentation lid you are going to have to remember to “burp” the jar once a day.
This simply means opening the lid and letting the gas out for a few seconds before closing it again.
Depending on the size of your jar, it might take between a week to a couple of weeks before the process of fermentation is done. You will know when it’s done when the brine becomes clear again.
Once it’s clear, your lacto-fermented beans are ready for serving and storing.
Storing and Serving Lacto-Fermented Beans…
These beans are mainly a snack or a side dish for us.
I make sure to use a clean fork every time that I take beans out of the jar. I serve them next to a sandwich, add them to salads, or simply grab a few as a snack (there is no healthier snack!).
Once the beans are ready, we want to make sure to stop the salt action therefore we have to store them in cold storage.
You can leave them at room temperature for a couple weeks but what happens after that is that they lose their crunchiness and become soft.
I like that they stay crunchy so I store my beans in the fridge. If you have a root cellar that’s also a great option. The best temperature for storing is between 35-45 F.
Lacto-fermented green beans are really easy to throw together. They lose some of the fuzz that I don’t like (this is why I steam my fresh beans for just a few minutes before eating them), but they stay crunchy and “fresh”.
Fermenting green beans is the perfect way for me to preserve some of my green beans. Not only is it easy and they stay crunchy, they also become even healthier for us because of the added beneficial bacteria that is added by the fermentation process.
I hope that you’ll give them a try!
And, if you liked this recipe, you might like these as well…
- 2 lb of green beans (or as many as you need to fill your jar), ends removed. If you want, you can cut them into 2 or 3 pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed (you don't have to peel them)
- 1 teaspoon of kosher salt per one cup of water (make as much brine as you need to fill your jars)
- Add mustard seeds and red chili flakes to the bottom of the jar.
- Start packing the green beans.
- When the jar is packed half way, add the crushed garlic.
- Keep adding beans and packing the jar. Make sure to leave one inch of headspace.
- Dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in one cup of water and add to the jar. Keep dissolving salt in water and add to the jar until the beans are covered.
- Place a fermentation weight on the beans to make sure they are all submerged in the brine.
- Close the jar with it's lid finger tight.
- Place in a warm place (60-70 degree F is best) for about 10 days to ferment. "Burp" the jar each day (open it for a minute to let the gas out).
- The brine will become foggy and then it will clear. When the brine is clear again it means that the fermentation process is done and that the beans are ready.
- Store your jar in a cool place (a fridge or a root cellar).
I used a half gallon jar here. You can use other sizes like quart or pins if you'd like.
Feel free to change the seasonings. You can add a mixed seasoning spice, you can leave the garlic out, you can add dill or peppercorns... There are so many options.
If you use a different size jar, keep the brine solution the same but change the amount of spices that you add to each jar.
If you like the taste of vinegar, you can add 3/4 cup of vinegar before you start adding the brine.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 4 oz
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 43Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 268mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 4gSugar: 4gProtein: 2g