Lacto-fermented (pickled) vegetables (no processing required)

Adapted from Immigrants Table

Use your leftover whey from ricotta or yogurt making for these easy homemade whey-pickled vegetables

Course Preserves

Cuisine Russian

Author Ksenia Prints


  • 4 tablespoons of whey

  • 1/2-1 cup of filtered water or as much as needed to top your jar

  • 1 teaspoon of salt

  • 2 cups worth of chopped sturdy vegetables of your choice – cauliflower carrots, onions, peppers, broccoli, or a mix thereof

  • 3 garlic cloves peeled and left whole

  • 1 tablespoon of the herb of your choice - oregano tarragon, basil, or 1 teaspoon of grated ginger

  • 1 1- litre jar or glass container with a lid


  1. Prepare a clean jar.

  2. Chop into large chunks or spears enough sturdy vegetables to fill two cups. Use any combination of cauliflower, carrots, onions, bell peppers and broccoli, though you can also use any of these separately (in the photos above I used carrots and onions).

  3. If using cauliflower or broccoli, separate into small florets, about 1 to 2 inches in diameter.

  4. If using carrots or bell peppers, cut into spears.

  5. If using onions, cut in half at the root, and then slice each half horizontally into quarters, or into thin strips.

  6. Combine the filtered water, whey and salt in a separate jar, and stir well. Taste the solution – it should taste briny.

  7. Pack the jar with the vegetables, herbs and garlic cloves, until they reach about 1 inch from the mouth of the jars.

  8. Pour your brine solution over your vegetables, completely submerging them. Top with more water if necessary.

  9. Cover your jar with a lid.

  10. Leave it a dark corner of your kitchen counter for two to four days (the duration of their fermentation will depend on the temperature in your home). I place mine in a dark kitchen cabinet.

  11. Wait a couple of days before you begin tasting your pickles. Your lacto-fermented vegetables will be done when they taste good to you (I like mine about four days in during winter, but summer times will be substantially shorter).

  12. At this point, transfer your pickled vegetables in the fridge. They can last for a while in the fridge, but I’m sure you’ll eat them long before they spoil.

  13. Much on them as they are, serve as part of an appetizer platter with good dip or hummus, or use in your favourite burger.

Recipe Notes

- Add your whey to soups, chilis, and stews, as a substitute to some of the broth. No more than one cup though - it can get quite sour.

- Add whey to potatoes before mashing, for a tangier take on this creamy staple.

- Substitute some (or all) of the water in baked goods with whey.

Melissa Martinelli