Oh fermented pickles, how I love thee.
I don't know what it is about summer vegetables, but I go star crazy. It's like I can't help myself. A fancy purse holds no candle in my book next to a bag of freshly picked green beans or eggplant.
I can hear you now:
So you're telling me, Shaye, that you'd prefer a bowl of tomatoes over a new piece of fancy jewelry?
And you'd rather have a bag of zucchini than a fancy new party dress?
Yes and yes. Call me crazy, but yes.
I know. Fair enough.
Not that I don't love jewelry and party dressed (after all, if you followed me on Facebook over the weekend, you no doubt heard about my shopping weakness). But despite the appeal of new clothing and fancy jewelry, I still find myself so drawn to that sweet, Summer produce.
Each morning, while I sip on my first cup of coffee, I find myself wandering around our potager garden – eager to peak on the newest blossoms and growth.
Unfortunately, our cucumbers haven't quite arrived yet – after all, they were planted a month late. But lucky for me, there is a fantastic organic gardener just down the road who was happy to let me purchase some of her extra bounty. I picked up twenty pounds of pickling cucumbers and green beans for preservation. This summer, in the spirit of gut-friendly-preservation-methods, I decided to try my hand at lacto-fermented pickles. Sauerkraut was a huge hit in our home, so why the heck not?
Lacto-fermenting the cucumbers utilizes preservation through the form of lactic acid instead of the traditional vinegar-based preservation methods so popular in our day and age. Back-in-the-day, this was really the only preservation method that they had. Good ‘ol salt and lactic acid.
And y'all know me. I'm a sucker for traditional, old things.
Except for old underwear.
I've got to draw the line somewhere.
Lacto-Fermented Pickles Recipe
You will need:
– Pickling cucumbers (about 4-5 per quart jar)
– 1 tablespoon sea salt
– Pinch red pepper flakes
– 5 peppercorns
– 1 clove garlic, peeled and smooshed
– 1 tablespoon fresh dill
– 4 tablespoons whey (I strain my homemade yogurt through a flour sack to get whey and then keep a jar full in the fridge at all time)
Step One: Wash and cut the cucumbers into 1/4″ slices. Place tightly in a clean, quart-sized Mason jar.
Step Two: Add in the salt, red pepper flakes, peppercorns, garlic, and dill.
Step Three: Drizzle in that delicious whey.
Step Four: Top off each jar with filtered water (we just purchased a Berkey and LOVE IT…I am astounded at the difference it has made in our water), making sure to leave 1″ of headspace at the top of each jar. Also make sure that all of the cucumbers are submerged beneath the water line. If it's above the water, it will spoil.
Step Five: Put lids tightly on the tops of the jars.
Step Six: Let the jars remain at room temperature for 2-3 days. If the lid of the jar will not dent-in when pushed with your finger, gently lift the lid barely and allow the ferment to ‘burp'. This will help to release any build up gases in the jar.
Step Seven: After the fermentation period, transfer the pickles to cold storage (65 degrees of below). I just keep ours in the fridge.
Obviously, the biggest downside of lacto-fermenting all this summer goodness is that my fridge is already starting to grow full of them! I can see how investing in an old fridge to keep in the shop would be super helpful. Regardless, I'm still pretty dang excited about these pickles.
I've read that putting a grape leaf in each jar will help the cucumbers to retain their crispness, but alas, I have no grape leaves at my disposal. Bummer.
Such an unfair life. Not having grape leaves at your disposal at all times.
Ya, I know. It's really tough.
You know what's not tough, though?
Making these pickles. Georgia and I had three jars whipped up in less than five minutes. One for Mommy. One for Daddy. And one for Georgia.
Owen's not a pickle eater yet. Once he gets off this breast-milk-kick he's been on for the last eight months, maybe. Just maybe.
But not yet. Mama's heart's not ready for that yet.
Just make the pickles, man.
More fermented and pickled recipes:
Fermented Pickles: Feed the gut, man!
- Pickling cucumbers about 4-5 per quart jar
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- 5 peppercorns
- 1 clove garlic peeled and smooshed
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill
- 4 tablespoons whey
- Wash and cut the cucumbers into 1/4″ slices. Place tightly in a clean, quart-sized Mason jar.
- Add in the salt, red pepper flakes, peppercorns, garlic, and dill.
- Drizzle in that delicious whey.
- Top off each jar with filtered water, making sure to leave 1″ of headspace at the top of each jar. Also make sure that all of the cucumbers are submerged beneath the water line. If it’s above the water, it will spoil.
- Put lids tightly on the tops of the jars.
- Let the jars remain at room temperature for 2-3 days. If the lid of the jar will not dent-in when pushed with your finger, gently lift the lid barely and allow the ferment to ‘burp’. This will help to release any build up gases in the jar.
- After the fermentation period, transfer the pickles to cold storage (65 degrees of below). I just keep ours in the fridge.