How to Make Cultured Vegetables with Donna Gates (Part 1) – The Renegade Health Show Episode #398

Thursday Sep 17 | BY |
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Last weekend, we had the opportunity to spend time with Donna Gates…

We asked her if she’d want to share her knowledge of cultured vegetables with us for an episode or two.

Today, is part one of a two or possibly three part show on how to make cultured vegetables.

We had a lot of fun filming Donna and Gina LaVerde (a body ecology teacher) as they shared with us as much as they could in the time we had.

Here’s part one, we really enjoyed it, so I’m sure you will too…

Your question of the day: What is your favorite fermented vegetable?

Click here, scroll down to the bottom of the page and leave your comments now!

If you want to read more about Donna Gates, here’s where you can go…

Recipe will be ready at the end of the series!

UPDATE: Here’s a note from Donna about keeping everything clean!

“I want to express how important it is to use very clean utensils bowls and jars when fermenting. If you were to use a utensil or jar that was not clean and contained a pathogenic bacteria, for example, then the good bacteria would have to conquer them first before they can focus on fermenting the vegetables.

“If you the bacteria are not as strong as the pathogen… they’ll lose the battle and you’ll have a batch of veggies that are spoiled and NOT FERMENTED. They will taste and smell awful and the color will be brown and
grey…not colorful and beautiful.

“So yes, if you cough wash your hands which I did immediately :-)”

Live Awesome!

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.


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  1. RW says:

    Cabbage of course. I love sauerkraut

  2. Alexander says:

    Cabbage is my favorite.

  3. Estrella says:

    Daikon radish!! My Korean sister-in-law’s mom makes delicious radish kimchee. I love it because it’s sweeter, crisper, and slightly less spicy than the cabbage (although I love cabbage too).

  4. Nellie Ann says:

    Being European, cabbage of course. I also love cauliflower and pearl onions.

  5. Althea says:

    I just started liking sour kraut. I havn’t made any yet but I did buy Donna’s starter and kefir starter too. Thanks for this show. It is right on time. I made my first batch of coconut kefir yesterday. Hope it turns out. I do make my own fermented cabbage juice for a cheap probiotic though and she’s right. It’s like drinking a glass of pickel juice every morning. Sour! ha.

  6. Althea says:

    Does any one know how old Donna Gates is? She talks like she’s old but sure doesn’t look like it.

  7. crow says:

    No doubt about sauerkaurt.

  8. Yasmine says:

    Hi Annmarie,

    I Liked the show.

    I read your message about skin care products.

    Here is my question. Now, what deodorant, exfoliant, soap, shampoo and other thing a woman needs ? What should we do ? Do you know a line of products that you can recommand ?

    Thank you soooooooooooooooo much 🙂


  9. martha says:

    i don’t think I have ever had anything but cabbage fermented. seems like I have had some sour grapes in my life – does that count!

  10. Anna says:

    Without a doubt, Sourkraut. Another is stuffed green peppers with cabbage,onions,carrots and celery.

  11. Godwin says:

    None in particular. But what popped into my mind was the possibility of onion becoming somewhat a great healing agent if it is fermented. Does any one know?

  12. Deborah says:

    Cabbage. I love to make a sprouted wrap with raw sauerkraut, avocado and nutritional yeast with clover and radish sprouts.

  13. Bonnie says:

    YES..CABBAGE! The Nature’s Market near me has organic raw cultured sauerkraut and it’s delicious! I just tried their raw cultured daikon (fermented radishes) …that was also delicious!

  14. Kasey says:

    Cabbage/carrotkraut works well.

    What I want to know is. What can’t you ferment? I want to add some avocado next time!! Also can you ferment fruit? And do you need salt?

  15. Mary says:

    There is sooooo much to learn. I am feeling overwhelmed. Can you guys just adopt me for awhile till I get it? Or just let me follow you around for a bit. Yikes!

  16. Rafael Morales Jr says:

    Hello Kevin and Annmarie
    I honesly canot answer the question of the day because I have nee done fermented foods.
    I need to see the second part.

    This is very intersting stuff.

    Thank you Rafael Morales Jr

  17. Nick says:

    What about a Mixture of coloured Veg for texture, plus Fresh Basil & Ginger to add flavor. ( Whole Fresh Herbs )

  18. Jackie says:

    Yes, I love cabbage too. Never had the opportunity to try anything else fermented, except miso. I can’t wait to see part 2 of this. If garlic slows the fermentation process and since I love garlic, I would add it to the veggies when they’re on my plate after the process.

  19. Julie says:

    I just made a fermented batch of daikon, beets, carrots, ginger and leeks. It’s fantastic. I used a recipe that calls for juicing some of the veggies and mixing the juice up with a little miso and then mixing that up with the veggies. It’s delicious!

  20. Jia says:

    I use Donna Gates starter and love the probiotic salads I made. i use cabbage, carrots and golden beets. I found kale was too chewy and became a drab green color so I don’t like kale. A little dulse is also good to get some great minerals. Blessings… Jia

  21. cheryl says:

    we love spicy.

  22. Rene Oswald says:

    Thanks so much for another great show and inspirational speaker! I love my daily cultured veggies. I hope Donna talks about adding sea vegetables to cultured veggies next time. Some of my favorite additions are dulse, wakame, kombu. Some of my other favorites are Nappa cabbage, bok choy, burdock root, fennel, celery root, red cabbage, beets, carrots,turnips, rutabagas, parsnips, daikon radish and for different flavors…ginger, dill seed, fennel seed, cumin seeds, juniper berries, caraway seeds and rosemary. I have been making sauerkraut for quite some time and have learned some techniques for saving time. I can produce 1 1/2 gallons of kraut in less than 45 minutes with a 12-cup Kitchenaid food processor! If you’d like to see my technique I’d like to invite you all to view the two free videos that I’ve produced by going to (they are #14 and 15) and I also have a section in my book on making sauerkraut. Enjoy and Happy Krauting!

  23. Ladan says:

    When I was little my grandma used to make alot of cultured veggies and i recall she even used cauliflower, beets, cucumber.
    As always this show is Awsome and inspiring, a real daily reminder that we need to take care of ourselves and of eachother! Much Love to Ann Marie and Kevin.

  24. Stacey says:

    Napa Cabbage is my favorite. I love kimchi, and the Korean market near my house makes it every day, unfortunately they use anchovy paste. I also like beets, carrots and red peppers.

  25. Delaney says:

    Oh, I don’t know but AnnMarie you look beautiful!

  26. Andi says:

    Ginger! And some kind of weird alcoholic drink my German grandpa used to make…don’t know what it was but when my brother and I were little we used to “sneak” some LOL!

  27. Yoshi says:

    NAPA cabbage!!!
    I chop a whole in a container, add sea salt, add weight, be patient for 3 days. Mmmmmmm! Tasty.

  28. Kym Hutcheon says:

    I’m a big kimchi fan and actually most of the stuff I get seems to contain plenty of garlic. But I guess Koreans eat kimchi with pretty much every meal, so a few less bacteria over a lifetime might not make such a difference.

    Natto and miso are also high on my list. A Winter miso containing brown rice is one of my all timers. Asia’s pretty on to it for fermented foods.

  29. johnny smith says:

    Kale is my favorate vegatable to ferment. I have a question about cacao and if it good for a anti candida diet since you are talking with Donna gates. I have several arthritis problems also candida for over 25 years. Some products including probiotics make my joints ache and stiffen. Is cultured vegatables the answer to my problem. Thanks.

  30. Leam says:

    Cabbage ~ I love sauerkraut but have never tried to make it at home. I like pickled cucumbers as well as ginger. I would love to try making it with beet as others have mentioned. That sounds very intriguing to me. I can’t wait to see the actual technique in the next segment. Thanks!

  31. GoRawMe says:

    I’ve only ever had sauerkraut. Looking forward to part 2 to see more of this process.

    One suggestion I offer … perhaps Donna could be gently reminded that when preparing foods, coughing – while hard to avoid at times – directly onto the work area is not the best practice, and is really best followed by washing hands.

    I’d like to hear more from Gina!

    Thank you Annmarie … nice to have you on camera!

  32. Betty Jane says:

    My husband’s grandparents used to make “catch-up”, remnants from the last of their garden. Things like cabbage, green tomatoes, green peppers and carrots. They would ferment it like kraut.

    I’ve never fermented foods but I’m inspired to try. Thanks for the information.

  33. Vaughn says:

    Cabbage and Caraway seeds! Donna Gates is so awesome and so soft spoken and calm. She has just shown a lot of people how to save quite a bit of money with probiotics. No more capsules. Just some sauerkraut and coconut kefir and you are good to go! 🙂

  34. Didiydi says:

    I love this woman, thanks for this interview! People should know that even though she is very accomplished and successful she is very humble and wants to make sure that she’ll share all the right information and be of help.

    I’ve been using both her culture starter and kefir starter. I love cabbage with carrot, and once I made red cabbage with green apple and onions- it was delicious! I also tried bok choy but didn’t like it that much. Cauliflower was nice, and broccoli.

    I forgot to post this question for her prior to interview- I can’t seem to make coconut kefir. I’ve tried already 4 times with her starter, but had to throw it away, it just didn’t want to ferment. Had no problem with making goat milk kefir, that was excellent, but I try to stay away from dairy. If you could shed some light on making coconut kefir that would be awesome! She says temperature should be 22-24C, but I think it should be warmer otherwise and that might be the reason?
    Thanks! diana

  35. J o Anne Boudreau says:

    kimchi makes my insides feel so good. I can eat something that didn’t set right and eat a little dish of kimchi and everything is okay again. My Korean doctor said it will prevent bird flu…bet it works as well on swine flu.
    Love you lots!

  36. Heyward says:

    Somebody better tell Donna to quiet down. She’s bouncing off th walls. Geez…I saw more enthusiasm at Eeyore’s family reunion. Suddenly, Kevin’s “in-your-face” energy style is a lot more appealing.

  37. june2 says:

    I love her contribution to cultured foods but it’s painful watching someone with that much botox, or something like that, trying to speak. Ouch.

    I’ve used a RoboCoupe when I catered, they’re great but not really practical for the home kitchen. If you are starting up a little cultured veg cottage industry however…they’d be the thing.

  38. Tommy says:

    Sea-Kraut. It’s a cabbbage and seaweed sauerkraut.

  39. Paul says:

    Wow, cliffhanger ending, just like all the best shows. I am eagerly anticipating episode 2. Oh and where did Donna beam off to near the end. She just kinda slowly disappeared. The Annemarie show is great. Oh yeah, kimchee.

  40. Kadi says:

    In my opinion NOTHING can beat freshly fermented cucumbers – I eat them after two days or so already. Difficult to stop eating, they’re addictive!! Cabbage aka sauerkraut is OK too.

  41. Nadia says:

    Ginger is awesome. How would you ferment fresh ginger???

  42. anabel says:

    Wow, Donna really knows her stuff. Her generosity in sharing this information is appreciated. It was also interesting to hear fermented foods can help with autism. Keep up the great videos!

    Veggie favorite: variety – whatever is available.

    Thank you!

    BTW, everyone on the video looked great. 🙂

  43. Carachi says:

    Oh, I love anything fermented!
    I ferment all left over vegetables.
    White cabbage I think is what I like the least… (or I’m just so fed up with it?).
    RED cabbage on the other hand! 🙂
    Or carrots.
    Or red beets!
    Or any other vegetable.
    Pumkin is very nice!
    And fermented sweet potato.
    Or selleri.
    Or sweet corn!! Turned out very nice!
    But I think my favorite (just now) is fermented aubergine! 🙂
    Fermented seaweed is waiting in my celler to be tasted.

    Don’t try to ferment bean sprouts though… They turned out really awful! 😛

  44. Christina says:

    Hi Didiydi / Diane,
    My name is Christina Allen. I am a Body Ecology Coach who works closely with Donna Gates and am also good friends with Gina LaVerde. I am happy to hear that you are enjoying your CVs (Cultured Veggies)!

    YCK (Young Coconut Kefir) is just as easy – if not EASIER to make than CVs so let’s figure out what’s going on! 🙂 Can you please explain to me step by step what you are doing? If you are in the USA, I’d be happy to give you a call so I can walk you through your next batch but I think for starters, if we post the info here, then perhaps others can have the info at hand too. In addition to you and I trying to figure out what is going on with your batches, here is a link to Body Ecology’s directions on how information about Young Coconut Kefir. Also on this link, there is another link in which there are detailed directions of how to make YCK.

    I spoke with Donna and told her of your YCK issues and she said that she’d be happy to have a new box of starter sent out to you. So if you would email me at:
    I’ll call Body Ecology on Monday and you’ll have a new box headed your way!

    For starters, what sort of coconut water are you using? Packaged or fresh coconut water? If it’s fresh coconuts, what do they look like? Is there a sticker on the box or coconut indicating where it’s from? (ie: Thailand, Hawaii, Mexico)
    After you mix your young coconut water and the Body Ecology starters, how & where are you storing the bottles to ferment? Have you been able to use a thermometer to monitor what temp they have been trying to ferment at? How long are you fermenting them? Can you elaborate when you say that they “just aren’t fermenting”? ie: What does it look, taste and smell like? Where do you live / what is the temp where you are current at? Does the temp in your home fluctuate dramatically from night and day?

    Perhaps it’s due to the varying amounts of natural sugars in the different types of coconut water but I’ve personally tried to ferment young coco water from coconuts from Mexico and the batch would simply NOT ferment at all. You have to be certain to use YOUNG Thai Coconuts and not the hairy brown ones…you probably already know this but just to be certain, the coconuts that you want to use generally have their green outer shell already removed by the time it gets to our local stores. They generally have a plastic wrap around each coconut and are white with a pointy top and flat bottom (please click on the link I provided above to see a picture of what type is best to use). Usually they come in a box of 9 coconuts; sometimes 12 small ones (if you have a choice, I HIGHLY recommend getting the box of 9!) and you can almost always find single ones to purchase at stores that carry them. Of course packaged water works too but you want to be certain that it’s unsweetened and no additional flavors are added to it when starting out. Although it’s great to experiment with different flavors and juices, I suggest starting out with basic YCK so that you have a baseline of what it’s supposed to taste like. Another note about using packaged coconut water is that some find that they lack adequate amounts of natural sugar to make a great batch of YCK so it’s a good idea to add a prebiotic to them. Body Ecology has a great prebiotic called: EcoBloom. A little goes a LONG way…I add it to all of my fermented drinks, drinks and dressings. If you add a prebiotic to your batches, your microflora will have more ‘food’ to feed off of to them stay alive and healthy.

    A common mistake is that people will add either heat up their coconut water too high when making your 1st generation batch of YCK (1st generation means the batch of YCK from the package of starter and coco water) or will add the Body Ecology starters when the coco water is too hot. You only want to WARM UP about 1 cup or so of unfermented coconut water, pour it into your glass bottle, add the BE starters (Body Ecology Starters), then shake it up. The BE starters are incredibly hardy strains so it really works both ways but I prefer to let the 1 cup ‘mix’ sit for about 10 minutes to ‘wake up’ the microflora. Then I will add the remaining amount of ROOM TEMPERATURE young coconut to my bottle until the 1 quart bottle is almost full. I leave about 1″ -2″ of space so that after it’s fermented, I don’t lose precious yummy YCK all over my counter. I shake it all up and will store them in my designated ‘culturing cooler’ so the temp stays consistent.

    Microflora prefer to be left alone to do their thing and ferment MUCH better when you allow them a quiet space to make your probiotic rich foods for you. If they are moved around a lot, left in sunlight or if the temp flucuates they don’t seem to ferment as well in those conditions. There were times that I forgot to allow my unfermented coconut water to warm up to room temp…I added refrigerator cold coco water and my YCK took a REALLY long time to ferment as keeping microflora too cool will slow down the fermentation process.

    Some may find it ‘out there’ but I love to ask my cultured foods and drinks to be potent and delicious, for the microflora to do their work in our bellies :-). I’ve been known to get a rubber band around the jar of YCK or CV and write healing or uplifting words (inspired by the work of Dr. Masaru Imoto) and a picture of my client whom I’m making them for. When I have done this without even telling my clients, they always tell me that ‘this batch’ tastes WONDERFUL and something was ‘different’ but didn’t know what.

    If you can post how you’ve been making it, then we can get down to it and help you get started on your YCK!
    In Love and Light,
    Christina Allen

  45. Christina says:

    Off the top of my head, I can’t think anything that you TRULY cannot ferment. However with that said, some foods will act as inhibitors like Donna mentioned about garlic. For example, salt (even sea salt), lemon / lime juice, hot peppers or garlic in excess, while they inhibit the growth of pathogens, they’ll also inhibit the microflora that you WANT in your foods to flourish so you want to add them sparingly prior to fermenting. You can add more to your plate if you wish after they have been fermented. Also along those lines, some foods don’t ferment as well as you’d like them to…many find that they don’t care for a batch with A LOT of cilantro…some love fermented fennel while others do not. You really have to have fun while experimenting and see what you like.

  46. Sandy Jo says:

    My favorites are dill pickles and sauerkraut.

  47. Debra says:

    What was the name / spelling of the machine Donna talked about (in the second video)?

    Do you always have to refrigerate your cultured veggies when they are finished fermenting or can you put them into a canning jar with a tight canning lid & let them naturally seal on the shelf???
    Thanks ~~Really New at this Culturing ~~but really willing to learn!!!

  48. Christina says:

    In first video, Donna mentioned the Robot Coupe…it’s a high powered, high volume food processor. In the 2nd video, she used and spoke of the Vitamix.

  49. Christina says:

    After the veggies are finished fermenting, yes, you will want to refridgerate them as this will slow down the fermentation process. If you don’t, they will continue to ferment, getting more sour, more fizzy (carbonated), the veggies will get softer from becoming even more pre-digested.

  50. Christina says:

    For those wanting to hear more about Gina, you can check out her website at:

  51. Didiydi says:

    Thank you so much for replying to my question and in such detail! As I’ve said before, Donna Gates and Body Ecology really takes care of people. I will write to your email address.Thanks again! Diana

  52. Nick says:

    Donna says they’re using a starter so to make a “super potent” batch. Well I believe the super potency we’re better off looking for is that from our own immediate environs, so we acclimate with our immediate surroundings & invite the local microbial allies within us to bolster & extend our immune systems out into our home & surrounding locale. For this reason ferments made at home are so much more beneficial than buying, say, sauerkraut from a store. When adding a starter, which is foreign (look where your starters come from), that goes against the benefits & the point of making it at home. Sure you’ll save some money, but save more and go without a “starter”. They’re unnecessary & you will gain so much more of the right “super potency”. Happy fermenting, in all ways! 🙂

  53. Nina says:

    One idea about the person who said probiotics aggravate symptoms of arthritis, etc: I studied with a doctor who said that taking probiotics can be harmful for people with a good deal of mercury-toxicity. The probiotics kill off the candida, which in the process of dying then release heavy metals they have been storing and protecting us from. You therefore have to go very slowly with the probiotics, and perhaps look into heavy metal detox. Two websites with info:

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