Spicy Lacto Fermented Pickled Zucchini [RECIPE]

Find out little known tips on how to make this lacto fermented zucchini taste spicy, crunchy and avoid mushy centers.

Pickled fermented zucchini
Pickled fermented zucchini

That means that daylight savings is just around the corner (yay!), days are getting longer and mornings are getting warmer.

But even with all that happening, with the promise of the abundance that inevitably comes with the warmer weather, the humble zucchini is still over $8 a kilo in our shops right now…

Soon enough though the prices will come down, and even better, I’ll have crazy, abundant zucchini plants in my veggie garden and I’ll be back to making lacto-fermented zucchini with the same gusto as last summer. (And man, did we consume a pile of this stuff last year!)

So, last summer I really was committed to making the most of the abundant zucchinis over the last few months of the warmer weather, and I was using them in everything.

But it wasn’t until I made some fermented cucumber pickles for the first time that I suddenly realised I might be able to ferment zucchinis in the same way!

I wasn’t sure how they would turn out, so I made a small batch at first and was elated to discover that they were amazing! Even hubby loves them, and he’s not as much of a fan of all things fermented as I am.

So I began leaving some of my zucchinis on the plant to get a bit bigger than usual, specifically for fermenting. Then when I prepared them, I just removed the fleshy seedy center, leaving the much firmer exterior to be fermented. (I discovered that the seedy centre tends to go a bit mushy).

With the center removed, these fermented zucchini pieces remain quite firm. They’re sour and a little spicy and really quite yummy. And like most ferments, they’re also really easy to make.

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Spicy Lacto Fermented Zucchini Recipe


  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2-3 tablespoons of pickling spices
  • 3 or 4 small red chilies
  • 4 large teaspoons chopped dill leaves (or seeds)
  • 2 tablespoons Himalayan salt
  • 4 cups filtered (chlorine free) water


  1. Wash and slice zucchinis lengthways, removing the seedy centre,
  2. Pack the sliced zucchini and grape leaves into a large jar, adding garlic, chilies, dill and spices. NOTE: Keep one large grape leaf to cover the mixture while fermenting.
  3. Combine filtered water and salt to make brine then pour over the zucchini, ensuring that the zucchini is submerged under the brine.
  4. Cover the contents of the jar with the remaining grape leaf, ensuring it also is submerged under the brine. (You may need to push it down regularly during the fermentation process to ensure it stays under the brine).
    Allow to ferment on your bench for one week or longer.
  5. A taste test will tell you when it’s ready! Once ready, refrigerate and enjoy.

Final Tips

If the mixture doesn’t remain under the brine during fermentation, you may find mold on the top. Check it regularly. If you get a little mold or funky looking stuff on the top of your ferments, you can often just remove it and the contents below will still be okay. Use your senses to tell you if it’s okay. If it smells bad or looks really bad further down in the jar, put it in the compost!

I find when using grape leaves for pickles, I often get a white ‘moldy’ looking substance on the top of the ferment. This is not mold, but instead it is a yeast from the grape leaves. I have found that this is not a problem. I simply remove it.

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Susie Wilson

Susie Wilson is a Mum, a writer, a health buff and a bit of a self confessed food-a-holic! Susie has a passion for learning about, creating and of course eating healthy foods. She enjoys sharing recipes, ideas and information about the foods she loves and the things she's discovered about healthy eating and living. (Contact Author)

2 thoughts on “Spicy Lacto Fermented Pickled Zucchini [RECIPE]”

  1. Good morning Sue,

    I understand that the vegetables are from your own garden, You lucky lady !
    Many Thanks for the post, I will try ! Does the vegetable become soft on time ? how long can you keep ?

    I eat kimchi, made on Himalayan salt only ( no fish sauce addition ) which is carrot – ginger – turmeric – cabbage – broccoli -celery – leek ( fermented for a few months in the cellar )

    II keep a 1/2 liter pot for daily use , in the refrigerator, and when I re fill, I add raw seaweed which re hydrate in the brine … hmm delicious !

    Have you ever tried to ferment seaweed ?

    best regards


    • Hi Pierre. Yes, we’re lucky to be able to grow some of our own vegetables! The zucchini doe soften a little, but still stays quite firm with the tannin from the grape leaves. If you leave the seedy center on the zucchini, that will go soggy and not so good. I must try Kimchi again! I did it a long time ago and yes I’ve added (dried) seaweed to ferments in the past. Fermenting and experimenting is such fun! 🙂

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