PICKLED LEAFY VEGETABLE
Gundruk is particularly popular in Nepal. The
annual production of gundruk in Nepal is
estimated at 2,000 tons and most of the
production is carried out at the household
level. Gundruk is obtained by fermenting and
drying leafy vegetables (saag) to produce a
sour brownish black product.
It is served as a side dish with the main meal
and is also used as an appetiser and can be
made into a soup.
Gundruk is an important source of minerals
particularly during the off-season in rural areas
when the diet consists of mostly starchy
tubers and maize which tend to be low in
Figure 1: Preparing leafy vegetables. Photo:
Practical Action Nepal.
Raw material preparation
In the months of October and November, during the harvest of the first broad mustard, radish,
spinach and cauliflower leaves, large quantities of leaves accumulate - much more than can be
These leaves are allowed to wilt for one or two
days and then shredded with a knife or sickle.
The shredded leaves are tightly packed in an
earthenware pot and warm water (at about 30oC)
is added to cover all the leaves. The pot is then
kept in a warm place. After five to seven days, a
mild acidic taste indicates the end of
fermentation and the gundruk is removed and
dried, traditionally by the sun.
This process is similar to sauerkraut production
except that no salt is added to the shredded
leaves before the start of gundruk fermentation.
The ambient temperature at the time of
fermentation should be about 18oC.
Figure 2: The leaves are packed into
earthenware pots. Photo: Practical Action Nepal.
Pediococcus and Lactobacillus species are the predominant micro-organisms during gundruk
fermentation. During fermentation, the pH drops slowly to a final value of 4.0 and the amount of
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