Fermented Celery with Shallots and Black Pepper

by Kaitlynn Fenley

Light, sour, briny, and full of flavor. You’re going to love this fermented celery with shallots and black pepper. Use it anywhere you would use sauerkraut or pickles. Fermenting celery only takes a few ingredients and a couple of weeks.

Fermented Celery

I’ve wanted to share this one for a long time! Fermented celery is so delicious and easy to ferment. It’s quite similar to sauerkraut. So if you like kraut, you’re going to love this recipe.

Make sure you start with fresh crisp celery, and I recommend organic if you have access to it.

Here are all the ingredients you need to get started:

  • celery
  • sea salt
  • water
  • shallot
  • black pepper
shredded celery in a bowl with salt. The celery is wilting as the salt draws the water out of it for fermentation.

How to Ferment Celery

Because of the way celery is shaped, it can be really dirty between the pieces. So before mixing your ingredients, you need to wash the celery well. I like to shred the celery first and then wash it off.

I usually shred the celery with a vegetable peeler, then add it to a colander and rinse it a few times. No matter how you cut it, getting all the dirt off is easier after cutting. You can also rinse it before cutting and rinse it again after cutting.

After the celery is rinsed, we prepare it similar to sauerkraut. You will add 2.5% salt by weight, then allow it to ferment for 21-28 days (more on this below).

Celery is about 96% water, so you will get a lot of brine once you add salt. I still added a bit of water to this recipe because I love to have extra brine for my wild heirloom culturing recipes.

very zoomed in view of fermented celery with shallots and black pepper in a clear glass jar

Fermenting Celery with Black Pepper and Shallot

I recommend fermenting your celery for at least 14 days before eating, with 21-28 days being the best fermentation time for optimal flavor and health benefits. This timeline is very similar to sauerkraut. I like how the shallot and black pepper flavors develop after 21 days of fermentation at room temperature.

Naturally, fermenting vegetables takes time. By checking the progress of microbial stages under the microscope, we have provided you with a handy timeline below! If you follow our recipe and directions, your timeline of celery fermentation should approximately match ours!

Note that temperature will influence how fast or slow celery ferments. This timeline is applicable between 70-80° F. If you keep your home colder, the process is slower. If your home is warmer, it will be faster.

Timeline for Fermented Celery

24 – 48 hours: All contents in the jar should be submerged beneath the brine. At this time, there are still Gram-negative bacteria and possible pathogens present.

48 hours – 5 days: After 48 hours, you should start to see lots of bubbles being produced. This is when the ferment enters stage two of vegetable fermentation. Leuconostoc bacteria begin to thrive, and Gram-negative organisms die off.

5 – 10 days: The bubbles in the brine will decrease as the ferment leaves stage two and enters stage three. The ferment will become cloudy, the color will change, and a pleasant sour smell will develop. You should also recognize shallot and pepper smells. Lactobacillus species begin to thrive at this time.

10 – 21 days: Next, Lactobacillus make up most or all of the microbial population. They produce copious amounts of lactic acid, making the fermented celery smell even more pleasantly sour. This is when the celery becomes naturally preserved.

21 – 28 days: This is when you want to smell and taste test. Wait for the celery to smell and taste as you like, and refrigerate when you find the smell and taste most pleasant! We like ours best when we refrigerate at about 25 days.

Fermented Celery Benefits

The benefits of fermented celery are similar to regular celery or celery juice. However, when celery is fermented, all the benefits are more bioavailable. There is also the obvious added benefit of live probiotic bacteria in fermented celery.

Celery contains vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, beta carotene, and phytonutrients, which are all more bioavailable after the microbial action during fermentation. These compounds can reduce inflammation in the digestive tract, cells, blood vessels, and organs.

Celery is also a wonderful source of fiber that can help keep your gut microbiome balanced. That’s one of the things I love most about fermented vegetables. They are naturally prebiotic and probiotic and the best choice for gut health.

fermenting celery in a clear glass weck jar on a counter. bubbles have started to form as the celery ferments.

Supplies You Need for Fermenting Celery

For the best sauerkraut flavor and texture, you should use weight measurements for your fermentation ingredients. That means you need a kitchen scale. Weighing your ingredients gives you consistent and superior fermentation results. This is the scale we use in our home kitchen.  

Here is the equipment you will need to make it:

  • 32-ounce Wide Mouth Mason Jar
  • Fermentation Weight
  • Standard Metal Mason Jar Lid (this can rust in the presence of salt)
  • OR Rust-Free Plastic Lid
  • or you can use a Weck Jar (without the gasket; only use the clips to secure the lid)
  • Sea Salt
  • Scale
  • Mixing Bowl 

If you would like to read more about the best jars and lids for fermenting vegetables, click here.

More Fermentation Recipes to Try

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Fermented Celery with Shallots and Black Pepper

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5 from 9 reviews

Light, sour, briny, and full of flavor. You’re going to love this fermented celery with shallots and black pepper. Use it anywhere you would use sauerkraut or pickles. Fermenting celery only takes a few ingredients and a couple of weeks.

  • Author: Kaitlynn Fenley
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Fermentation Time: 21 days
  • Total Time: 504 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 24 ounces
  • Category: Fermented Vegetables
  • Method: fermentation

Ingredients

  • 450 grams celery
  • 15 grams unrefined sea salt
  • 100 grams filtered water
  • 50 grams shallot, finely sliced
  • Fresh cracked black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Wash your fermentation equipment (jar, weight, and lid)
  2. Chop off the end of the celery and lightly rinse with cool water.
    Using a vegetable peeler, shred the celery (or cut it however, you like). After you shred the celery, you can rinse it again to ensure all the dirt is off.
  3. Place your kitchen scale on the counter. Turn it on and set it to weigh in grams.
  4. Place a mixing bowl on your kitchen scale and tare/zero the scale.
  5. Add the designated amounts celery, shallot and black pepper.
  6. Remove the bowl from the scale and set it aside. Place a small, empty bowl on your scale and tare/zero the scale. Weigh out the salt.
  7. Add the salt into the bowl with the celery, and mix with your hands until the celery becomes wet.
  8. Place your empty, clean jar on the scale, and tare/zero the scale. Make sure your scale is still set to grams, and weigh out the filtered water in your jar.
  9. Add the water into the bowl with the celery and salt. Mix everything well.
  10. Add the entire contents of the bowl into your jar, and pack everything down.
  11. Place your glass fermentation weight in the jar, fully submerging the celery shreds and weight into the liquid.
  12. Secure the solid lid to the jar.
  13. Ferment for 21-28 days. Don’t forget to burp the jar daily during the bubbly phase.
  14. After the 21-28 days, remove the weight and store it in the fridge.

Notes

Place the jar in a bowl or dish to catch any drips

this recipe at 1x works best with a 25 to 32 ounce jar

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a 5-star review below if you loved it! Tag @cultured.guru on Instagram

 

Nutrition information is auto-calculated and estimated as close as possible. We are not responsible for any errors. We have tested the recipe for accuracy, but your results may vary. We are not liable for any damages caused by your use of this content.

author avatar
Kaitlynn Fenley Author, Educator, Food Microbiologist
Kaitlynn is a food microbiologist and fermentation expert teaching people how to ferment foods and drinks at home.

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28 comments

Tess February 16, 2023 - 2:22 pm

I just started this, and I can already tell it’s going to be amazing






Reply
Diane February 26, 2023 - 5:01 am

Hi Kaitlynn.

I made this recipe yesterday – there are a few “escapees” that have floated to the top of the liquid. Is this ok?

Thank you, Diane

Reply
Kaitlynn Fenley February 26, 2023 - 6:35 am

Hi there! When you have floaties, you can open up the jar, remove the weight then put it back, re-adjusting everything to be under the brine.

Reply
Diane February 27, 2023 - 6:21 am

Will do! I appreciate the quick reply ~ Diane

Reply
Arleen S. April 13, 2023 - 5:06 pm

Hello, I will certainly try fermented celery & appreciate getting your recipe. Fermented sauerkraut & kimchi are always in my fridge. As a side note, if you have heartburn /acid reflux or GERD, drink a little juice out of a fermented jar of the sauerkraut, etc. jar. it will stop it right away.. it works for me…..

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Gen January 21, 2024 - 5:51 pm

We were away overnight and partner forgot heartburn meds and was really suffering but downed a kombucha and after much gurgling noise and, ahem, a gaseous release, all was right again.

I imagine fermented liquids of just about any sort would do the trick, but since kombucha is meant for drinking it is probably more enjoyable 😉

Reply
Maureen April 25, 2023 - 4:37 pm

So happy mine turned out. Eating it everyday… YUMMY. Now on to Coconut Kefir Water.






Reply
Kaitlynn Fenley April 25, 2023 - 4:40 pm

Thank you for leaving a review! Enjoy the celery and kefir making!

Reply
Cindy May 26, 2023 - 5:03 pm

Love this! Thank you.






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michelle wille May 29, 2023 - 5:09 pm

this was so yummy






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Teresa Shields June 4, 2023 - 5:05 am

Hi. This recipe looks amazing. One question though , the list of ingredients calls for 100 grams of water, but the directions call for 100 grams of water in the jar and then 100 grams of water added to the vegetables in the bowl. Will you clarify please?

Reply
Kaitlynn Fenley June 7, 2023 - 10:44 am

It’s the same 100 grams of water… you just weigh it out in the jar first before pouring it into the bowl.

Reply
Karen Dellison June 5, 2023 - 1:05 pm

I’m on day 16 of this recipe ferment. A stray piece of shallot escaped my weight barrier and rose above the brine. I noticed a white film on top and when I went to remove the film, I noticed the piece of shallot had fuzzy growth. I removed it and the white film. Everything smells great and brine looks good. Is this a throw away?






Reply
Kaitlynn Fenley June 7, 2023 - 10:40 am

If it smells great and the brine looks good, it’s likely fine. Anytime there is fuzzy growth, it’s an eat-at-your-own-risk situation. But I’d, personally, not throw it away.

Reply
Jenny July 1, 2023 - 6:14 am

Hi, could this be done with only the leafy part of celery? I never know what to do with them. Would the fermentation time be shorter since they aren’t as stalky? Thanks!

Reply
Kaitlynn Fenley July 5, 2023 - 8:01 am

I think so! I used the leafy part and the stalk, and it was great, so that should work.

Reply
carl August 31, 2023 - 10:17 am

Thank you for your instructions. Made it today. Have a great day.

Reply
carl August 31, 2023 - 10:31 am

Oh sorry, I forgot to ask you; how much space is allowed between the water and the lid for the brine no to get spoiled by air. Thank you.

Reply
Kaitlynn Fenley August 31, 2023 - 10:47 am

The headspace in the jar doesn’t matter. Just make sure everything stays submerged in the brine, and it will be good to go.

Reply
carl September 1, 2023 - 4:40 pm

Ok, thanks a lot Kaitlynn. Can’t wait to taste it. Have a great day !

Reply
carl September 29, 2023 - 8:28 am

Hello hello Kaitlynn.
Well it has been one month now and I tasted your fermented celery recipe this morning. It is excellent !
Thank you very much. I will most certainly repeat the experience.
Have a great day.
Carl






Reply
Sandra October 20, 2023 - 10:18 pm

Hi Kaitlynn. Is it ok to use onion instead of shallot?

Reply
Kaitlynn Fenley October 23, 2023 - 8:16 am

sure!

Reply
Dianne Borchers January 24, 2024 - 3:22 pm

I made this last year, at first I was a little surprised at the flavor. Not what I was expecting. But then we could not stop eating it! We put it on everything, our favorite way to enjoy was on Cuban pork sandwiches. Delicious!






Reply
Karen February 14, 2024 - 3:30 am

I’ve been so excited to try this, thank you for the recipe 🙏🏼
But I just accidentally tipped the wrong jar of salt into my bowl! I have no idea how much salt is in there now. Will it still ferment or shall I just chuck it?

Reply
Kaitlynn Fenley February 14, 2024 - 9:51 am

It depends on how much salt you actually added! It may be okay, but only time will tell. You can dump all the liquid, rinse the celery, then re-add the water and salt in the recipe.

Reply
Michelle Struczewski February 18, 2024 - 4:41 pm

This was one of my first ferments and it is tasty! I let it go just over three weeks, and tasted it today. Crispy oniony celery goodness!






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Peggy February 19, 2024 - 3:50 pm

Day 25 and it smells and tastes delicious! I can’t stop eating this. I will definitely have to keep a constant rotation going so I always this available.






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