How quickly should I ferment my harvest?

Image Harvested Vegetables

There are two kinds of vegetables:

  1. Short-term – those which deteriorate quickly after harvest, and include: tomatoes (ketchup & salsas), cucumbers, green beans, peppers, cauliflower, kohlrabi, broccoli, and zucchini.
  2. Long-term – vegetables which are typical of “root” crops, or those with “skin” which help preserve them for weeks, to months of storage. Examples include: winter onion, garlic, beets, turnips, parsnips, rutabagas, celeriac, carrots and cabbage.

The general rule-of-thumb:

  • Short-term vegetables: should be used immediately.
  • Long-term vegetables: should be turned into a fermented-food by New Years’ Day.

Our personal experience is that we’ve made superb batches of sauerkraut, dilled-carrots and cinnamon-clove spiced beets, throughout the winter, going well-past the New Year’s cut-off. Just this past June, we made a tasty batch of dilled carrots from carrots that were harvested the preceding October!

With a little bit of experience, you will learn how to best judge your own crops, storage conditions and vegetables.