Fermented Green Beans Recipe

Enjoy the flavors of summer all year, along with the added benefit of probiotics, with uniquely flavored Fermented Green Beans.

From “Saving the Season”
January 2016

  • Using the same technique as kosher dill pickles, these unique pickled green beans can be seasoned to suit your taste preferences.
    Photo by Kevin West
  • Capture the peak flavor your favorite seasonal foods and enjoy them throughout the year with classic recipes from “Saving the Season” by Kevin West.
    Cover courtesy Knopf

Yield: 3 quarts

Inspired by his Southern childhood, Kevin West presents 220 sweet and savory recipes for jams, pickles, cocktails and more in Saving the Season (Knopf, 2013). From the novice to the professional, Saving the Season is the ultimate guide for any cook. The following recipe for Fermented Green Beans is the perfect recipe to keep the tastes of summer on your menu year-round.

You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Saving the Season.

This is my favorite of all the summer fermented pickles. The technique is the same as for kosher dills, but there is something uniquely appealing about the green bean’s appetizer size and the rich, almost yeasty, fermented flavor.

Adjust the seasonings with more or less dill, chilies, peppercorns, or other spices.

Fermented Green Beans Recipe


• 1 gallon bottled water
• 6 ounces salt
• 2 pounds small green beans or yellow wax beans
• 4 flowering dill heads (or 4 to 6 dill fronds plus 2 tablespoons dill seeds)
• 6 small cloves garlic, crushed
• 3 dried red chilies, such as cayenne or chile de árbol
• 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed


1. Heat the water just enough to dissolve the salt. Allow to cool to room temperature.

2. Trim the steam ends from the beans. Layer them and the other ingredients in a 2-gallon crock or jar. Cover with brine. Weight the beans. Cover the crock with a plate, and set aside at room temperature.

3. Bubbles will begin to show in 4 or 5 days. Skim daily. The beans will be fully packed in about 2 weeks.

4. Life the beans out of the brine, using a slotted spoon, and pack them into three scalded quart jars. Strain the brine, and pour it into the jars to cover the beans completely. Store in the refrigerator for up to several months.

Looking for more seasonal recipes? Try this Pine Cone Syrup Recipe, also from Saving the Season.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Saving the Season by Kevin West and published by Knopf, 2013.

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