Fermented Ginger Pickles Recipe

Probiotics have never been hotter. Fermented foods have never been cooler. And this Fermented Ginger Pickles recipe? Well, it’s darn right blazin’ awesome.

(Also? It’s what you probably envision as pickled ginger — it’s not, like, cucumbers pickled with ginger. Although now that I’m thinking about it, that would probably be darn tasty, too!)

From the book Fiery Ferments which includes 110 formulations for spicy fermented condiments including sauces, salsas, relishes and chutneys, plus recipes for dishes and drinks that use them — this recipe is perfect for those who are looking to make fermented foods with big flavor and kick.

It’s also a great beginners’ recipe. If you’ve wanted to do some fermenting but have been intimidated by recipes that require special gear, try this one. It’s SO easy!

Fermented Ginger Pickles Recipe
Recipe type: Side
Serves: 1 pint
In early winter the produce section of markets can be loaded with newly harvested ginger, galangal, and turmeric roots; they are full, succulent, and fresh. This is the time to preserve them. If you are lucky, you might find varieties beyond the widely available yellow ginger, such as the milder baby ginger, labeled “pink,” “young,” “new,” or “stem” ginger, or the zestier blue Hawaiian. This recipe can be used for any kind of ginger, turmeric, or galangal, though galangal is more fibrous and better suited for a grated paste. We use these slices throughout the year to flavor meals or to put in other ferments to give them a head start (for example, when starting a hot sauce with only dried chile pods).
  • 1 pound fresh ginger root
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  1. Prepare the ginger by peeling off the skin and slicing the root as thinly as possible — think of the pickled ginger that’s served alongside a plate of sushi. Place these slices in a bowl.
  2. Mix in the salt.
  3. Pack the mixture tightly into a pint jar, pressing out any air pockets as you go. Leave the top quarter of the jar free.
  4. Press a Ziplock bag against the surface of the ferment, fill the bag with water, and zip it closed.
  5. Place the jar on a plate and set aside, out of direct sunlight, to ferment for 7 to 14 days. During the fermentation period, monitor for air pockets, pressing down the ginger if needed. As the ginger ferments, the color will change slightly. The brine will become milky.
  6. When the pickles are ready, transfer the jar to the refrigerator. These pickles will keep, refrigerated, for 12 months, provided the ginger is kept under the brine.
Heat index: 2

What other fermented foods do you love? You know my feelings on sauerkraut on all the things. —Jenn

Excerpted with permission from Fiery Ferments, © by Kirsten Shockey and Christopher Shockey, photography © by Lara Ferroni, used with permission from Storey Publishing.

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  1. elena says:

    what does the fermented ginger usually smell like? I made some for the first time and can’t tell if its safe to eat, it smells bad. I have been making lots of tasty saurkraut and I know its good when it smells good but then again I know what saurkraut is supposed to smell like. I can’t say I have ever smelled ginger kraut on its own.

  2. John says:

    What’s the difference between this method and soaking the ginger in salt water instead?

  3. Kelly Johnson says:

    I just want to make sure I understand correctly- you’re not adding water to the ginger, just salt and packing it tightly in the jar and then using the ziploc water bag to seal out air? Thanks

    1. Jenn says:

      You got it — that’s right! 🙂


  4. Looks very easy I am going to try it.

    1. Jenn says:

      Awesome! Let us know how it goes!


  5. Emilie says:

    How long does it usually take until we see bubbles? After 6 days, I only see very few bubbles while my sauerkraut that I made on the same dat is bubbling like crazy 🙂 Is it normal? Should I add brine or something? Thanks!