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Learn the basics of at home fermenting while also exploring its rich cultural and historical background.

Kirsten K. Shockey and Christopher Shockey are the coauthors of Fiery Ferments, best-selling Fermented Vegetables, Miso, Tempeh, Natto and other Tasty Ferments: A step-by-step guide to fermenting grains and beans for Umami and Health, and the brand new Big Book of Cidermaking

They got their start in fermenting foods twenty years ago on their 40-acre hillside smallholding which grew into their organic food company. When they realized their passion was for the process, they chose to focus on teaching fermentation arts to others. They teach worldwide and host workshops on their homestead in southern Oregon.

Simplest Fermented Green Tomato Pickles

makes 1 quart


1 3/4 to 2 pounds small green tomatoes, whole

3 – 4 cloves garlic, peeled

1 tablespoon prepared pickling spice OR 1 teaspoon whole mustard seed, 1/2 teaspoon whole coriander seeds, whole black peppercorns, 1/2 teaspoon dill seed, a bay leaf, optional dried red pepper flakes to taste

a few srigs fresh herbs, this can be thyme, rosemary, tarragon, dill or coriander stems and heads, (or your favorite herb)

For the Brine:

2 teaspoons unrefined salt
2 cups unchlorinated water

  1. Place the spices and garlic at the bottom of a quart jar.
  2. Place tomatoes such as to pack them tightly in without breaking them. Add the herbal springs as you are packing.
  3. Mix the salt and water together and pour over the tomatoes until they are completely submerged.
  4. Reserve any leftover brine in the fridge. (It will keep for 1 week; discard thereafter and make a new batch, if needed.)
  5. Tighten the lid all the way. Set aside to ferment, somewhere nearby and out of direct sunlight, in a cool spot for 7 to 14 days. Every day, or when you see pressure under the lid (slight bulging), you will loosen the lid slightly for a moment so CO2 can escape, then retighten.
  6. If brine bubbles out when you “burp” the jar top off with the reserved brine, if needed, to cover.  As the carrots ferment the brine will get cloudy; this is when you can start to test your pickles. They’re ready when they’re pleasingly sour, pickle-y tasting without the strong acidity of vinegar. If they’re not sour enough for your palate continue to ferment longer.  Store in the refrigerator (in the same jar, lid tight). These will keep, refrigerated, for 12 months.