These lacto-fermented green beans are so easy to put together! It literally only takes minutes and it’s a great way to preserve green beans. Lacto-fermented green beans are a healthy and delicious summer snack!
I grow a ton of beans in my summer garden. 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. 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 green 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 green beans but couldn’t find a way that will keep the beans tasting fresh (I did use to blanch and freeze green beans but it’s also not my favorite thing to do). In the end, I made peace with the fact that I’ll just grow a ton of green beans, sell some of them, eat as much as I can fresh (we love making green beans in butter and garlic), and during the winter, I’ll just buy fresh beans at the grocery store.
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 (or in other words, fermented cucumbers) as possible. I love them but can’t get them here in the US. I came back and decided to try and ferment my own cucumbers and what do you know… Suddenly I discovered the world of fermentation where I can preserve vegetables, yet keep them tasting fresh!
I started thinking, what other vegetables can I ferment? Can I ferment green beans? I did some research and read a few posts on how to ferment green beans, but in the end, decided to come up with my own recipe. It turned out really well and now these fermented green beans are a summer favorite around here.
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. The cool thing about lacto-fermentation is that it’s so simple! No boiling water baths, no special pressure pots or any special equipment is necessary.
Also, 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. Really, it’s a win-win!
I used a half-gallon jar for this batch. When it comes to fermenting, there are really no rules as far as what spices you add, it’s only the brine that matters. So if you want to make a quart of fermented green beans or maybe a gallon, keep the same salt per water ratio but change the amount of spices however you want. And of course, use as many beans as you need to fill the jar. The ingredients listed below are what I used for half a gallon…
- 2 lb of green beans – ends removed. You can leave them long or cut them into 2-3 pieces. You can use any kind of green beans.
- 1/2 teaspoon of mustard seeds.
- 1/2 teaspoon of chilli flakes.
- 2 cloves of garlic – crush them but don’t peel.
- For the brine – use non-iodised salt like Kosher, canning, or sea salt. Use non-clorinated water. I used a teaspoon of salt per cup of water but you can go as high as one tablespoon of salt per cup of water if you like a more saly brine.
- Cutting board
- Chopping knife
- 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 that next time I’ll use a quart jar. A pint jar will work well too. Use lids with a wide mouth so you can place the fermentation weight in there.
- Lids and bands – 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). You can also use the plastic freezer lids.
- 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 weights. 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
- 4 cup measuring cup
How to Lacto Ferment Green Beans…
Step 1 – prep the beans. Make sure to wash the beans well. use as many as you need to fill your jar. You can use any variety of string beans, they don’t have to be green. There are yellow varieties and purple varieties, fuzzy varieties or smooth varieties… You can use any of them. After washing the beans, cut both ends off. You can then leave them long or you can cut them again into 2-3 pieces if you prefer small pieces.
Step 2 – add spices to the jar. Make sure to wash your jar well, then, add the mustard seeds and chili flakes or any other spices that you’d like to use. I’ll list more ideas in the FAQ section below.
Step 3 – pack the jar with beans. Start adding the green beans to the jar and pack them tight. Halfway through, add the garlic cloves.
Keep adding green beans until the jar is full. Make sure to leave about two inches of headspace so you have room for the fermentation lid.
Step 4 – make and add the brine – Fill a four-cup measuring cup with non-chlorinated water at room temperature. Add a teaspoon of non-iodized salt and stir until the salt dissolves. Add the brine to the jar and repeat until the jar is full.
**Note – 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. adjust the amount of vinegar if you are using a different size jar). This is a bit outside of the rules of lacto-fermentation but your beans will still ferment and will be really tasty! 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).
Once the jar is filled with the brine, place the fermentation weight on top of the beans and push them down a bit. If you need to, add a little more brine. You want to make sure that all the green beans are under the brine and that non of them is sticking out. Then, close the jar with a clean lid.
Step 5 – let the beans ferment – Place the jar on a plate (to save yourself a bit of a mess and catch the brine that is going to spill during the fermentation process) and set it aside on the kitchen counter at room temperature to ferment. After a day or two, you’ll notice that the brine starts to get foggy and the beans are starting to change their color.
You’ll also notice that there are some bubbles in the jar and maybe some foam is forming at the top. This is the gas that is created during the fermentation process. You need to let this gas out, or in other words, you need to burp the jar (if you are using a regular lid). Once a day, twist the lid open, wait a few seconds and twist it close again (no need to completely lift it).
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. It will never be as clear as it was when you first added it but it will become clearer. Once the fermentation process is complete, the beans are ready for serving and storage.
Storing Lacto-Fermented Green Beans…
Store the jar of fermented beans in a cool place like a fridge or a root cellar. They can stay at room temperature for a couple of additional weeks, however, the longer that they stay at room temperature the softer they’ll become. If you want your beans to stay crunchy, they should be stored in a cool place. The beans should last a few months in cold storage (probably 6-8 months but we usually finish them well before then).
Make sure that the beans stay under the brine even after the fermentation process is done and they are in storage. Each time that you reach inside to scoop some beans, use a clean fork or a spoon.
Serving Lacto-Fermented Beans…
- Use them as a healthy snack – that’s our favirite way to use them. We simply place a few in a bowl and snack on them. Much healthier than reaching for a bag of chips!
- Serve them next to any sandwich – serve them as a side to a burger (maybe instead of the fries?), a bbq sandwish, pulled meat sandwich, a tuna salad sandwich or a turkey sandwich or any other.
- Add them to salads – you can add them to an egg salad or to a salad nicoise or any other salad realy.
- Use them as a side dish – don’t feel like chopping vegetables for a salad? Just serve fermented green beans as a veggie side to any main dish!
Frequantly Asked Questions…
You can add many different spices to your fermented green beans. Try adding dill (fresh or dry) to make your beans dilly beans. You can add any kind of pepper, fresh or dry, like cayenne or jalapeno if you want to add some heat, or chili flakes. You can add mixed pickling spice or peppercorns. Really, there are no ruls. You can add anything you want and try something a little different each time until you find your favorite combination.
Yes, it’s normal. During the fermentation process, some of the brine may spill out of the jar. This is the reason that I put my jars on a plate during the fermentation process. It caches the brine and saves me a bit of a mess.
The white film is scum or mold and it won’t hurt the food that is under the brine. Just use a spoon to remove it, let the jar finish fermenting and then store it in the fridge.
Yes! You can add carrots, radishes, beets (they’ll paint the brine purple), turnips, peppers…
Most likely since city water is often chlorinated and you don’t want to use chlorinated water when fermenting. Distilled water is fine.
Lacto-fermented green beans are really easy to throw together and they stay crunchy and “fresh”. Fermenting green beans is the perfect way to preserve some of your green beans. Not only is it easy and they stay crunchy, but 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!
Other Fermentation Tutorials…
- 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 non-iodized salt (Kosher, sea, or pickling salt) per one cup of non-chlorinated water (make as much brine as you need to fill your jars)
- Wash your jar well. Add mustard seeds and red chili flakes to 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 two inches 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 its lid finger tight.
- Place the jar on a plate (to catch the brine that might spill out during the fermentation process) and set on the kitchen counter at room temperature to ferment. It takes half a gallon jar about 10 days to ferment.
- During the fermentation process, the brine will become foggy and you'll notice some bubble action. This is the gas that forms during fermentation. We need to let this gas out, or in other words "burp the jar". Once a day, twist the lid open, wait a few seconds and then twist it back to close the jar (there is no need to open the jar completely). Once the brine is "clear" again, the fermentation process is done (it will never be as clear as it was when you first added it but it will be clearer than what it was during fermentation).
- Store your jar in the fridge or in a root cellar. It should last a few months.
1. I used a half gallon jar here. You can use other sizes like quart or pins if you'd like.
2. 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. Keep the brine solution the same.
3. If you like the taste of vinegar, you can add 3/4 cup of vinegar (to a half-gallon jar) 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
Hi! I’m Lady Lee. I help homesteaders simplify their homesteading journey while still producing a ton of food! I am a single mother of four, I was born in Israel and raised in an agricultural commune called a Kibbutz. Now I homestead in central NC.