Pickled Greens, a Hammarleeding Delicacy

Young Sarvet and her friends joke about the pickled greens called gundru when they gather together for breakfast on Other-joy.

Sarvet claims to like the dish, but believes Amara does not. Regardless of its appeal, gundru is considered supremely healthy.

So what is gundru?

I actually have a recipe for it. How wild is that! But, no, I have not yet dared to try it myself. I have made other lacto-fermented delicacies and quite enjoyed them. (I’ll share some links to them at the bottom of this post.) But gundru has thus far seemed too exotic for my courage.

If you decide to make it…email me or leave a comment under this article. I’d love to know how it came out!

I suggest you read my other recipes (links below) for lacto-fermented food first for all the details, and maybe try making some of them before you attempt gundru. That way you’ll be familiar with how lacto-fermented foods behave and what to look for to be sure your gundru is safe to eat. I wouldn’t want you to get sick!

One thing to know when embarking on creating pickled vegetables, is that the same action that makes yogurt is the one at work here. Lactobacilli turn milk into yogurt. And lactobacilli turn fresh vegetables into pickled vegetables.

The key ingredients are the lactobacilli and a warm enough environment (room temperature is fine) to allow the lactobacilli to grow. Healthy lactobacilli tend to kill other, potentially harmful bacteria, which means lacto-fermentation is a safe way to preserve vegetables.

The recipe for gundru follows.


2 pounds of greens
1 tablespoon of whey drained from yogurt with active cultures


sterile 1-quart canning jar
screw top for the jar
rolling pin


The fresher the greens, the better. Pick them right out of your own garden if you can. (That’s where the Hammarleedings get theirs.) Greens from a farmers’ market might be another good option.

Any greens from the brassica family are suitable: turnip greens, radish greens, mustard greens, kale, collard greens, etc.

Let the picked greens sit in the sun for a couple of hours to wilt. Then use the rolling pin on a hard surface to crush them, not so much as to cause them to bleed juices, but enough to get them ready to do so once they are in the jar.

Stuff the greens into the jar. As you smoosh them down, their juices should start to come out. The jar will take a lot of greens! (One report claims the greens from six turnip plants are required for a 1-quart jar.)

When the jar is half full, add the whey. Then keep stuffing. Leave about 1 inch of head room at the top of the jar. Screw the lid on the jar to finger tight.

Place the jar in a warm, sheltered space and leave it there for at last 2 to 3 weeks. The lactobacilli need time in which to work their magic.

After they have been lacto-fermenting for long enough, they will be ready to eat. They should smell pungent and sharp, and their flavor should be strong. They can be served plain as a pickle side. Or they can be used to flavor soups.

Store them in a cool root cellar or in your fridge. They should stay fresh and edible for many weeks.

For more about the world of the Kaunis-clan, see:
The Kaunis Clan Home
What Is a Bednook?
Hammarleeding Fete-days
Why Did the Three Goats Cross the River?
Origin of Canning—Not What You’d Think!
Livli’s Family
Ivvar’s Family

For some less daring lacto-ferment recipes, see:
Lacto-fermented Corn
Sauerkraut (Amazing Lactobacilli)
Beet Kvass
Yogurt & Kefir & Koumiss
Oatmeal, Granola, & Crisp Nuts