In the heat of summer, one wants a cool refreshing salad to serve with a sandwich meal. This fermented Israeli salad recipe is just the ticket. Make up several jars to have on hand for when you just cannot cook or are on the run all day and need a quick meal.
One of the fun things about traveling is trying the food of other cultures. Then comes the fun of wondering what happens if a nice, fairly plain salad, gets fermented. After all, we’ve seen saurkraut from a pre-sliced salad bag, so what about making a ferment out of Israeli salad?
The Israeli salad is quite basic. It has cucumbers, peppers, and tomatoes, finely sliced and usually served with a simple vinegar and oil dressing, sometimes with cheese. What happens when you ferment it? You end up with a tasty pickled salad, perfect as a garnish, particularly served with a crumble of mild cheese and a dusting of freshly sliced basil.
Israeli salad becomes a very colorful ferment if you use a yellow pepper to contrast with the red tomato and green cucumber.
An Amazing Fermented Israeli Salad Recipe
Use quantities of the following sufficient for the number of people you will be serving.*
• Salt: two tsp per pint, or four per quart.
Optional: fresh basil, mint, or oregano
Note: For the firmest ferment, use slightly green tomatoes, and do not include the seeds in the ferment.
How to Make Fermented Israeli Salad
Prepare your brine by dissolving the salt in a cup of fresh, non-chlorinated water. Set aside.
- Wash all your veggies, and rinse your fresh herbs.
- Tip and tail your cucumber, and slice in half lengthwise. Laying the slice flat on the cutting board, cut into four or five strips, and then finely slice crosswise. (The pieces of cucumber should be about a quarter inch by quarter inch, or slightly finer.)
- Slice the peppers and tomatoes to similar dimensions. The hallmark of Israeli salad is how finely the three ingredients are sliced.
- Finely mince any fresh herbs you are planning on adding, a favorite combination is basil and parsley, while mint on its own is quite refreshing.
- Pack the jar with your sliced veggies, with the finely chopped herbs sprinkled throughout. Partially fill the jar with brine, and shake down and add more veggies, and then more brine. If you need more liquid, top up the jar with plain water to complete the volume.
- Place your clean glass weight and secure your fermentation lock. Set the jar on a plate in a warm location.
You want this particular recipe to be slightly under fermented. If it’s hot, a pint can be completely ready in 24 hours, or even less. So, keep a close eye on your jar and put it into the fridge as soon as the cucumber skin starts to lose its bright green appearance and look dull. The jar will still be quite bubbly at this point, but the taste should be tangy, and the cucumber and pepper should still be crisp.
When your fermented Israeli salad is just barely under fermented, you can serve it more like a salad, or mixed with fresh veggies to add a vinegar/dressing-like tang. If the jar accidentally goes full ferment (as happened to me the first time when I thought it would be fine until I got home from work) it is still perfectly edible. Just serve as a pickle, not a salad.
*For a pint jar, you should need less than one cucumber, pepper, and tomato. For a quart, you may need two tomatoes, if small, and one pepper, and maybe one and a half cucumbers, of the pickling size.
Fermented salads are just the ticket to add to a sandwich meal anytime of the year. Here are a few more you might enjoy:
Sarah Dalziel is passionate about DiY skills, knowledge, and self-sufficiency. She was homeschooled K-BSc, and enjoys questioning, researching, and writing about hands on skills and preparedness. Ethnobotany, natural dyes, and self-sufficiency fascinate her. If she isn’t writing about them, you’ll find her dipping yarn into a steaming dye pot, or stirring up a batch of woad pigmented soap. Sarah blogs at wearingwoad.com, a natural dye and fiber skills blog, and also at sarahdalzielmedia.com, an interdisciplinary skills and writing blog.