Pickled Produce Stems and Ends Recipe

Photo by Julia Skinner

This is a great way to use up such scraps as broccoli stems and thinly sliced carrot ends. Plus, you can use the brine elsewhere in your cooking to make this recipe even more low-waste; it’s great added to soups and used as pasta water. I typically do a 2-to-3-percent brine for this recipe; the ratios I give here are for a 2-percent brine.

Note: Brassicas often develop a sulfurous flavor if fermented for too long, so I let them go just long enough to start pickling, but not so long that they get pungent. Don’t be afraid to experiment!

Fermentation Time

Fermentation Type: Lacto

Primary Fermentation: 4 to 7 days

Total time: 4 to 7 days

Shelf life: 2 to 3 months                        

Yield: 1 quart.


  • Vegetable stems and ends
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt or other unrefined salt
  • 1 quart room-temperature water
  • Flavorings, such as herbs, spices, and aromatics


  1. Pack the stems and ends into a quart jar.
  2.  In a medium-sized bowl, dissolve the salt into the water to create a brine.
  3. Pour the brine over the vegetable parts, and secure the jar with a tight-fitting lid or an airlock. Let the jar sit at room temperature for 4 to 7 days, or until the vegetable parts are pickled but not pungent. Check the jar daily to see if it needs to be burped, and add more brine as needed. Store in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 months.

Check out more recipes to reduce food waste here!

Julia Skinner, Ph.D, is the director of Root, an Atlanta-based food history and fermentation organization. She’s also a food writer, artist, and avid fermenter. You can follow her adventures on Instagram @BookishJulia.

Published on May 19, 2020


Inspiration for edible alchemy.