Naturally Fermented Cucumber Pickles Recipe

 

First of all, I should say that while naturally fermented cucumber pickles are delicious, they can be a little fickle. HOWEVER, they are SO worth it. Don’t give up if they don’t work out the first time. There are many factors that impact the results including the freshness of your cucumbers, any blemishes on the cucumbers, how and if you cut them, the size of your pickles, the type of tannins you use, the amount of tannins, how long you ferment the pickles, the room temperature where you are fermenting, available bacteria, if they are submerged in the brine, the brine strength, etc. Keep playing around until you get it right. It is not rocket science. And please don’t confuse these with pickles made with vinegar. Those don’t hold a candle to fermented pickles nutritionally because of the beneficial bacteria that naturally fermented pickles have. They also taste a little different. They aren’t quite as sour, and they are a little fizzy.

Fermented pickles w text

Other veggies may be more reliable in terms of results, but fermented pickled cucumbers are still my favorite!

 

FERMENTED DILL PICKLES

 

Ingredients:

  • Sea Salt
  • Water
  • Garlic cloves, peeled
  • Dill, dried or fresh
  • Pickling spices (optional)
  • Cucumbers (smaller ones tend to work out better)
  • Optional: Probiotics (capsules – opened, powder)
  • Grape leaves (1-3 per jar) or other tannin-containing leaves (oak, horseradish, or black tea)
  • Weights: zip lock baggie filled with brine, sanitized rocks, plate with water-filled jar on top, lemon/limes, etc.

 

Directions:

Make a saltwater/brine mixture with a ratio of 3-5T sea salt to 1 quart water. Make enough brine to fill whatever container(s) you are using.

Optional: Mix probiotics to the brine. I use one probiotic capsule per quart (just open it up and dump it in). You can also buy powders specifically for culturing vegetables. The addition of probiotics isn’t necessary, but you will definitely get more beneficial bacteria this way.

Wash cucumbers and trim off the “blossom end.” Apparently there is something in that end that can contribute to mushiness. No one likes mushy pickles!! If you can’t tell which end is the blossom end, trim them both off!

Place the washed and trimmed cucumbers in your clean jar of choice. Whole cucumbers tend to remain crisper than slices or spears. If your cucumbers are large it may help to prick them a few times with a fork to allow the brine to reach inside better.

Add dill, pickling spices, and garlic to the jar (can add before cucumbers too).

Pour brine into the jar making sure to cover cucumbers by an inch or two and leave a couple inches headroom at the top of the jar or crock.

Press a couple grape leaves down on top. The tannins in the leaves are supposed to help keep the pickles crisp.

Weight the leaves (and the pickles) down to keep them submerged in the brine. You can use a baggie filled with brine, a plate or other dish with something heavy on top like sanitized rocks or a jar full of water, or lemons/limes/rocks on top of the leaves to push them down. So many options, so little time.

Weighting down the grape leaves with a lime w text

Regardless of which weighting down method you use, cover the jars loosely. Don’t screw a lid on tightly as there will be pressure building up in the jars. I’ve seen people use cloths with rubber bands, loosely attached lids, etc. I have some cute little fabric “bonnets” for my jars. Keep in a cool place out of direct sunlight. I put the jars in a darkish spot on my counter and cover with a kitchen towel so I don’t forget about them.

Bonnet covering the fermentation w text

Check after 2-3 days and keep checking until you like the flavor and crispiness of your naturally fermented pickles.  They can be ready anywhere from 3 to 10 days. When they are ready, they will taste sour and salty. You can take the weights off the top and the tannin-containing leaves out once it is fermented to your liking. The brine will become cloudy from the (good) lactic bacteria. This is fine. Any chunks can be skimmed off. Your delicious, healthy pickles will keep in the fridge for several weeks and will continue fermenting, but very slowly.

 

Enjoy!

 

Miscellaneous Tips:

  • You can use the same brine for more pickles or culturing other veggies.
  • Shredded cabbage will take a week or two to turn into sauerkraut.
  • Experiment with other veggies like green beans, onions, garlic, peppers, cauliflower, etc.
  • Different tannin sources have different amounts of tannins. You may have to do some research if you use something other than grape leaves because not enough will result in mushiness, while too much will be nasty bitterness.
  • Grape leaves are the easiest. Fresh or packaged ones will work.

 

Naturally Fermented Cucumber Pickles Recipe

Naturally Fermented Cucumber Pickles Recipe

Ingredients

  • Sea Salt
  • Water
  • Garlic cloves, peeled
  • Dill, dried or fresh
  • Pickling spices (optional)
  • Cucumbers (smaller ones tend to work out better)
  • Optional: Probiotics (capsules – opened, powder)
  • Grape leaves (1-3 per jar) or other tannin-containing leaves (oak, horseradish, or black tea)
  • Weights: zip lock baggie filled with brine, sanitized rocks, plate with water-filled jar on top, lemon/limes, etc.

Instructions

Make a saltwater/brine mixture with a ratio of 3-5T sea salt to 1 quart water. Make enough brine to fill whatever container(s) you are using.

Optional: Mix probiotics to the brine. I use one probiotic capsule per quart (just open it up and dump it in). You can also buy powders specifically for culturing vegetables. The addition of probiotics isn’t necessary, but you will definitely get more beneficial bacteria this way.

Wash cucumbers and trim off the “blossom end.” Apparently there is something in that end that can contribute to mushiness. No one likes mushy pickles!! If you can’t tell which end is the blossom end, trim them both off!

Place the washed and trimmed cucumbers in your clean jar of choice. Whole cucumbers tend to remain crispier than slices or spears. If your cucumbers are large it may help to prick them a few times with a fork to allow the brine to reach inside better.

Add dill, pickling spices, and garlic to the jar (can add before cucumbers too).

Pour brine into the jar making sure to cover cucumbers by an inch or two and leave a couple inches headroom at the top of the jar or crock.

Press a couple grape leaves down on top. The tannins in the leaves are supposed to help keep the pickles crisp.

Weight the leaves (and the pickles) down to keep them submerged in the brine. You can use a baggie filled with brine, a plate or other dish with something heavy on top like sanitized rocks or a jar full of water, or lemons/limes/rocks on top of the leaves to push them down. So many options, so little time.

Regardless of which weighting down method you use, cover the jars loosely. Don’t screw a lid on tightly as there will be pressure building up in the jars. I’ve seen people use cloths with rubber bands, loosely attached lids, etc. I have some cute little fabric “bonnets” for my jars. Keep in a cool place out of direct sunlight. I put the jars in a darkish spot on my counter and cover with a kitchen towel so I don’t forget about them.

Check after 2-3 days and keep checking until you like the flavor and crispiness of your naturally fermented pickles. They can be ready anywhere from 3 to 10 days. When they are ready, they will taste sour and salty. You can take the weights off the top and the tannin-containing leaves out once it is fermented to your liking. The brine will become cloudy from the (good) lactic bacteria. This is fine. Any chunks can be skimmed off. Your delicious, healthy pickles will keep in the fridge for several weeks and will continue fermenting, but very slowly.

http://justrealstuff.com/naturally-fermented-cucumber-pickles-recipe/

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