The glut of zucchini has us using every trick in the book to try to preserve their delicate flavour. Fermenting extends their life, and keeps that ethereal flavour that is so readily lost when you pickle using vinegar.




Skill level

Average: 3.1 (68 votes)

The low salt in this version makes it still quite fragile. Increase the salt to 6% for a longer-lasting ferment.


  • 1 kg zucchini
  • ½ red onion
  • 30 g salt

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Fermenting time 3-4 days

1. Wipe the zucchini clean and slice into thin, even rounds about 5 mm-thick. Cutting them evenly is more important than cutting them wafer thin. Thinly slice the onion.

2. Place 1 litre of cold water in a bowl with the salt and whisk until the salt is dissolved.

3. Place the zucchini and onion in a fermenting crock or a non-reactive container such as a very large glass jar. Add enough of the salted water to just cover, pressing the zucchini under the liquid using a saucer (or similar) as a weight. Ideally, the ferment is exposed to very little air, but a loose piece of plastic wrap placed on top of the pickles can work well too.

4. Place in a dark, cool place (12 ˚C is ideal), and allow to ferment for 3-4 days. It will start to bubble in a day. Taste it every day to see what happens to the flavour. In warm places it will ferment much quicker than in a cellar or down in Tasmania. Discard any zucchini that poke out the top of the liquid if they get mould on them. When it tastes good, cover well and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.


Photography by Kitti Gould

Matthew Evans is back in his brand-new series of Gourmet Farmer, 8pm Thursday nights on SBS and on SBS On Demand.