How to Make Fermented Vegetable Juice


Juicing has been promoted over the past few decades as one of the healthiest things you can do for your body. Likewise, cultured foods are gaining popularity in the health communities for their benefits. So why not combine the two?

There is a big difference between these two health-giving food preparations: one has only been practiced by mankind for a short period of time and the other is as old as food preparation itself.

A juicers is an electronic appliance that passes large quantities of produce through it to extract the nutritive properties of those plants. So juicers are only as old as electricity and still have only been used to produce food for humans for a few decades.

The art of fermenting foods, on the other hand, is thousands of years old and spans every culture known to man. Fermentation is a natural process that happens to food; a controlled decay in a way.

So while you might think that fermented vegetable juice can be made by juicing vegetables and then fermenting them, that might not be the most effective method. You can absolutely juice vegetables and then ferment that juice, but there is another more convenient and less expensive way.

Traditionally, fermented vegetable juice is the juice or liquid that you would find in a vegetable ferment, or a small amount of vegetables placed in a larger amount of liquid which is allowed to ferment and then is strained.

Beet kvass is a good example of the latter.

Beet kvass is made with a small amount of beets, a bit of sea salt, and a large quantity of water (relative to the quantity of beets). It is then allowed to culture, the beets are strained off, and the liquid remaining is called kvass. The beets can then be reused to make a second, weaker batch of kvass.

In the same way you can use vegetables to create fermented vegetable juices. Instead of setting out to make brined pickles you can set out to make brined pickle juice. Rather than cram a jar full of cucumbers for the former, use only a few cucumbers with some seasonings and a large quantity of water for the latter.

They are different food products used differently. This fermented vegetable juice can be made with whatever you have on hand, but your juice will take on those flavors so be wary of strong flavors that you do not care for such as brassicas or alliums.

Basic Fermented Vegetable Juice

Fill a quart or half-gallon jar loosely with any vegetables you like. Some good candidates include:

  • beets
  • celery
  • cucumbers
  • garlic
  • ginger
  • small quantities of cabbage, broccoli, or cauliflower

To Make the Juice:
  1. Make a brine of 2 to 3 teaspoons of sea salt to every quart of water and pour it over your vegetables. Cover with a towel or coffee filter and secure with a rubber band or other device that will keep fruit flies out.
  2. Allow to culture for 3 to 4 days. It should smell fermented but not rotten. A small amount of gray foam may come to the top. This should be removed but does not indicate spoilage.
  3. Strain the vegetables off and set aside for a second, weaker batch which can be made with another dose of salt brine and a slightly longer fermentation time; 6 to 7 days perhaps.
  4. The liquid can be placed in a sealed jar and should either be consumed right away or kept in the refrigerator for about a week.

Using the Juice of Fermented Vegetables

The other source of fermented vegetable juice, as mentioned above, is the juice right off of a vegetable ferment. You might have some juice atop your sauerkraut that you can decant. Or, once your pickles are eaten up, you might have the juice from that available for drinking.

These juices are going to be a bit stronger in flavor than if you make the vegetable juice from the above recipe. They will also be harder to come by as ferments like sauerkraut are made more for their vegetable fermentation than the juice fermentation.

Therefore, if you require a large amount of vegetable juice, say a daily glass, then consider making the fermented vegetable juice as mentioned above. 

Preparing Vegetables for Fermentation and Making Juice

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