Gut Health with Pickled Vegetables

Gut health is extremely important. You feed the body with gut healthy promoting foods, your body fights more germs successfully! And for the skeptics, perhaps this article by Harvard Medical School will help!

Yup…We really need to nourish our gut with gut-friendly foods.

Traditionally, we do include gut-health-promoting foods in our diet. Curd or yoghurt, idli, dosai, dhokla, sourdough breads etc are all examples of these.

It is possible to add to the list by including fermented vegetables or pickles to the list. Now, the pickles here are the kinds you include in salads, burgers or sandwiches. For instance, you can totally add them to this Italian Cold Pasta Salad or serve them with Mutton Cutlets for a healthy boost.

Naturally Fermented vs Using Vinegar: Which one promotes gut health?

The difference between homemade gut health promoting and store bought pickles is simple. It is a matter of whether or not live culture of probiotic bacteria are present in the pickle. If the pickle is made using vinegar, it is not considered naturally pickled.

And hence, not quite as gut-friendly as the one we are making here today. In naturally fermented, gut health promoting pickles, you will at times see some bubbles rising. It shows that there are live microbes in the pickling liquid.

At times, there may be a growth of some white fungus on the top of the pickle.

You do not need to be alarmed, simply scoop it off. If your pickled vegetable is below the brine, it should be safe. Take out a piece and taste it. If it is not unpleasant to smell and tastes good, just pop it into the fridge.

You can read up a bit more of dos and dont’s here.

It really is a simple process and takes literally 5 minutes… so just go for it!

Gut Health with Pickled Vegetables

Recipe by Sheetal RabindranCourse: RelishCuisine: WesternDifficulty: Easy
Prep time


Pickling Time


Storage (In fridge)



Bottles of this relish will help add a zing to all your salads, burgers, pasta and dips. Use any seasonal produce and stock up a row of them!


  • Pickling Ingredients
  • 4 cups filtered water (leave it for a day and use in case it is chlorinated)

  • 3 tbsp salt (Any natural salt without iodine or any other additives)

  • 6-8 garlic pods, peeled (more or less as per your taste, see notes)

  • 3-6 bay leaves (gives an amazing aroma)

  • 1-3 tsp black pepper corns

  • Dill leaves (leave out if not in season and substitute with other herbs)

  • Few tea bags (optional, to be used in case you are pickling cucumbers)

  • The Vegetables
  • Vegetables of your choice to pickle… cherry tomatoes, beet roots, carrots, cucumbers and French beans are good options.

  • The Equipment
  • Large mason jars/ glass bottles with firm lids such as old jam bottles, washed well and clean. Consider the size appropriate to fit inside your fridge and for the vegetables you want to pickle. Also, prepare as many jars as the vegetables you want to pickle. (See notes)


  • Measure water to fill half of your mason jars. Add salt in proportion to the amount of water. ( E.g. for 2 cups of water, add 1 1/2 tbsp salt) Stir well.
  • Now add garlic, bay leaf, black pepper corns, dill leaves and mix well.
  • Prepare the vegetables to be pickled. Wash them thoroughly. Leave cherry tomatoes whole. Slice beets and carrots thinly. Cucumbers can be sliced thicker. In case you want to use the vegetables in relishes, you may want to cut them into thick vegetable “fingers”. Beans can be left whole after topping and tailing them to remove any threads along the sides.
  • Pop each vegetable into a separate jar. Be sure to introduce the tea bag into the jar with cucumbers. This will keep the cucumbers slightly crunchy.
  • Leave around half an inch from the top of the bottle where the gases can escape into.
  • Introduce a glass weight on the surface to keep the vegetables submerged. This is to prevent formation of fungus. I use glass lids and Petri dish lids. You can ignore if you do not have these, just ensure you keep pressing the vegetable down.
  • Close the jars firmly. Keep in a cool, dark place for 3 days.
  • Ensure the vegetables are submerged in the liquid.
  • Open the jar to let out the air bubbles every day. Close the lid firmly again.
  • In 3 days, the bubbles will reduce. After this, the bottle needs to be stored in the fridge.


  • Vegetables take different amount of times to get pickled, hence you need to pickle them separately. Also, beets and carrots tend to impart their colour and make everything look too red. So be sure to pickle them in separate jars.
  • The flavours depend on the vegetable and the inclusions. You can swap any of them to your taste. For example, you can leave out garlic, or include more herbs.
  • The bottled pickle will last for years if pickled properly, however the space is premium in the fridge. Especially in the warmer months. So consider that when deciding the amount you want to stock up.
  • In case you see fungal growth, it means the vegetables got exposed to the air. Scoop out the layer and discard the same. The vegetable in the liquid will be fine. You can taste it, and if it does not have any unpleasant odour, it will be just fine.
  • Retain the fluid after the pickle is over. This can be used to pickle the next batch quickly and efficiently, without any fungal growth.


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