Fermented/Pickled Kale Tops

Fermented/Pickled Kale Tops

Difficulty: Easy

A beautiful way to make the most out of your kale when it begins to flower. Cut off the kale tops before the flowers blossom and get them bubbling away in a jar to preserve them for the months ahead.

This recipe utilises fermentation initially and is then blended with cold pickling to achieve a strong vinegar flavour without losing the texture of the kale tops. Read my blog post to learn more.


  • 300g kale tops

  • 650g cold water

  • 19g sea salt

  • 1 tsp pepper

  • 1 cabbage leaf

  • 1 large pebble

  • 160g apple cider vinegar


  • Prepare your jar. Personally I did this in a 750ml kilner jar but any jar with a lid will do! Give it a good clean and dry ready to be filled with your kale tops.
  • Wash the kale tops and pop them in the jar, no chopping required.
  • Fill a jug with 650g water and add your salt. Give it a good stir to make sure it is fully dissolved before adding the pepper.
  • Pour the contents of your jug into you jar full of kale tops.
  • Get a cabbage leaf and rip a section of it off to cover the contents within the jar. Add a washed pebble to the top of this. At this point, all of your kale tops and ALL of the cabbage leaf should be submerged under the salty water.
  • Pop the lid on and leave in a warm, dark place for 1 week.
  • After one week, taste the kale tops to see what the texture is like. Personally, I allow it to ferment until it is just slightly more crunchy than I want it to be in the end.
  • Once you have reached this point, pour ¼ of the water out and replace with apple cider vinegar. Replace your cabbage leaf and pebble and leave for another 3 days.
  • After this, simply remove the pebble and cabbage leaf and pop it in the fridge or a cool room to stop the fermentation. Your kale tops are now preserved and ready to be eaten or stored!Fermented kale tops pickled kale tops in glass kilner jar outside in the sun


  • Everyone’s taste and texture preferences are different so it is important to taste your ferments the first few times you make them to figure out what your unique time frames will be.
  • More information around this style of preservation can be found on my blog post – Pickled Ferments.