Recipe: Lacto-fermented Pearl Onions

Besides being delicious, these little onions, when lacto-fermented, are poppable probiotic-rich shots of an immune booster.


  • 1½ tsp. sea salt
  • 1 quart unchlorinated water
  • 2 Tbsp. mustard seeds
  • 2 Tbsp. black peppercorns
  • 2 lbs. pearl onions
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs tarragon
  • 1-2 black currant or grape leaves


  1. Make a brine by dissolving sea salt in water.
  2. Mix the mustard seeds with the peppercorns in a little bowl and set it aside.
  3. Peel the pearl onions carefully and rinse thoroughly in cold water.
  4. Sprinkle a bit of the mustard/peppercorn mixture into the bottom of a clean quart jar. Add a layer of onions. Fill the jar by layering onions and sprinkled-in layers of the spices.
  5. Once the jar is full, slide the tarragon and bay leaves into the jar, against the sides.
  6. Pour the chilled brine over the onions and spices, filling the jar to 1 inch below the rim. Cover the onions with the grape or currant leaves; add a fermentation weight on top of the leaves to keep the onions submerged in the brine.
  7. Seal the jar tightly with a lid or airlock and ferment away from drafts and direct sunlight for about 2 to 3 days at room temperature, or until the brine turns cloudy.
  8. When the brine begins to get cloudy, move the jar to cold storage (cellar or refrigerator).

At A Glance

PREP: 3 days, 15 minutes
COOK: 15 minutes
TOTAL: 3 days, 30 minutes
YIELD: Makes 1 quart.