Thursday, July 8, 2010

Lacto-Fermented Pickles

I wrote this post last summer but never posted! Huh! I thought now would be a perfect time, as those tasty little pickle cucumbers are coming in soon!

This is so easy and so much better for you than store bought pickles! Give this a try! Who knew eating your fill of pickles would actually be good for you? You can find links in my Lacto-Fermented Salsa post to explain the benefits of this old tradition.

Ingredients (for 1 gallon/4 liters):
3 to 4 pounds pickling cucumbers
6 Tablespoons sea salt
3 or 4 heads flowering dill, or 3-4 tablespoons of any form of dill
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 handful fresh grape, cherry, oak, horseradish, or bay leaves
1 pinch black peppercorns
filtered water

Process:

Rinse cucumbers. If using cucumbers not fresh off the vine, soak them for a couple of hours in cold water with ice.
Dissolve sea salt in 1/2 gallon (2 liters) water to create a brine solution. Stir until salt is dissolved.

Put dill, garlic, leaves, and peppercorns in the bottom of a crock or jar.

Place cucumbers in crock/jar.


Pour brine over cucumbers. If using a crock, put a plate on top of the cucumbers and weight it down with a jug of water or a rock. If using a jar, use a clean rock, glass of sand or water, or other creative weight on top of cucumbers, or just put the lid on the jar and don't worry about a weight. Make sure the brine is covering the cucumbers; if not add more brine (just under 1 tablespoon salt to each one cup water). Cover with a cloth or lid.

Check every day, skimming mold from the surface (if there is mold, rinse the plate and the weight).

After 1-4 weeks (depending on the temperature), the pickles will be ready. You will know if they are ready by tasting them. If you like the taste, they are ready! Refrigerate and enjoy.

Recipe adapted from Wild Fermentation .

12 comments:

Cranberry Morning said...

Cool! and I love your arrangement of the pickle jars. :-)

Farmgirl Cyn said...

Can't wait to try these for myself! I have a friend who has grape vines, so I will be getting some leaves from her this week.
Are they still called "lacto" fermented if there is no whey in the recipe?

Michelle (She Looketh Well) said...

Yes! They are still lacto-fermented, I think you add extra salt to make up for the whey.

Hey, can I get some leaves too?

I just made a small batch last week without dill, garlic and grape leaves and they were good, but not as crisp as last years. Though I didn't use any leaves last year. I also did not crisp them with ice water like I did last year.

cooperkelly4 said...

oh yum! I couldn't believe what ingredients were in a store bought jar of pickles. Love the simplicity of this. =0)

Valerie said...

Thank you for posting this, I want to try this next time. Not sure if I'll be doing pickles this year...my cucumbers didn't come up and buying cucumbers may not be an option for me. :-( Anyway, I had a question. Do you think that once the pickles have gone through the process you listed and are ready for the fridge if they could be canned for longer term storage?

Wish we lived closer....I have a bunch of grape leaves. Too bad they don't mail well. :-(

Thank you, again, for posting this. Do you have a good lacto fermented sauerkraut recipe too? That is on my list for this year. :-)

Michelle (She Looketh Well) said...

Hi Valerie, I have heard of people canning them after lacto-fermenting, but I think the general consensus was that you destroy all the good bacteria by canning, so you might as well just can the ones you want to use for long storage.

Last year we made a huge batch in July and they lasted pretty good until about Sept./Oct. They got mushier as time went on and the issue of storing all those jars in fridge were an issue I hadn't thought of in my zeal to make a ton of pickles. ;-) We had to store some at my mom's house. Also we had some freeze in the back of fridge which also made them mushy. I wish I had a huge fridge just for lacto-ferments! I already have two fridges (with freezers) and 2 large freezers! Oh, for a root cellar.

Jenna said...

I am looking forward to trying your pickle recipe!! This year I wanted to make lots of pickles, so I planted about 15 hills of Cucumbers...:)

Have a great afternoon and tell Victoria that I said "Hi", please!!

Love,
Jenna

Valerie said...

Thanks for the info Michelle, I hadn't thought about the canning process killing the good stuff in the lacto-fermenting process. Good point. :-( Oh well, I still want to try them, they'll make good summer/fall eating anyway. :-) We've had such fun trying the different ideas in lacto-fermentation, pickles are my next step. Well, after sauerkraut, that is. :-)

Enjoy your weekend...it's WAY too hot here to my liking, but we are praying for an end to the heat wave. :-) Maybe by Saturday. YAY!

Coby said...

I can't wait to try these! I LOVE pickles!!!

Camille said...

So cool Michelle ~ Maybe I will have to give this and the salsa a try! Thanks for sharing. :)

Blessings,
Camille

RedHeadedStepChild said...

Since coming across your blog, I'm just amazed with all that you do with your garden! I wish I had planted one! I guess I have a lot of time to plan one for next year!

Maybe you could do a post for ladies like me, who don't know much about planning a veggie garden... I'd love to grow spinach because we eat a ton of it in salads and such, but what if it all ripened at the same time?

www.thatredheadedstepchild.com

RedHeadedStepChild said...

Since coming across your blog, I'm just amazed with all that you do with your garden! I wish I had planted one! I guess I have a lot of time to plan one for next year!

Maybe you could do a post for ladies like me, who don't know much about planning a veggie garden... I'd love to grow spinach because we eat a ton of it in salads and such, but what if it all ripened at the same time?

www.thatredheadedstepchild.com