As I’m writing this I’m taking a break with a glass of kombucha and celebrating that I am DONE putting up the pickles for this year. In typical Kim-fashion I bought a huge 25 pound bag of local pickling cucumbers at one of our area farm stores. I hid it from my husband in the garage fridge (I was amazed it fit in there) because I knew what he was going to say… “who is going to eat all of these pickles??” Well, hopefully WE will!
I’ve done sauerkraut, ginger carrots and beets, but I had yet to do real dill pickles the lacto-fermented way, with no vinegar. The garlicky, sour and salty pickle that you would get from a great deli in New York City. You can see the results in the picture above – whole pickles with onion, garlic and dill in one of my two gallon glass jars (I have yet to find a ceramic crock). The orange glow is from the plastic plate that I also have weighted down with a mason jar full of water.
As typical for Nourishing Traditions recipes, the hardest part about making pickles is gathering the supplies and preparing the containers and ingredients. The actual ‘making of the pickles’ is pretty quick, especially for the whole dill pickles. The sliced also go quickly if you have a food processor. If you’re interested in the statistics, here’s what I was able to do with 25 pounds of cucumbers:
- 4 gallons whole garlic onion dills (this recipe)
- 2 gallons sliced bread & butter (sweet) style pickles
- 1 gallon garlic onion dill pickle ‘chips’ (this recipe except cucumbers sliced into chips)
Yeah, pretty sure we’ll have enough for the year! Enjoy the pickle recipe below and please feel free to share any insight or knowledge that you have regarding lacto-fermentation of cucumbers in the comments.
Tips for making Cucumber Pickles
- Add one grape leaf per quart to ensure that pickles stay crisp when they are fully fermented. They will last longer in the fridge too!
- Some time saving things that I did: I plugged up the sink and washed all of the cucumbers at once. I also rolled all of the garlic cloves (8 heads worth!) in this garlic peeler. It made it go MUCH quicker.
Fermented Cucumber Pickles
Rating: 3 forks (key)
Page in NT: 97 Yield: 1 quart
- 4-5 pickling cucumbers or 15-20 gherkins
- 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill, snipped [TNC: I also added the stems. Add the flowering top too if you have it]
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 4 tablespoons whey (if not available or for casein/dairy free, use an additional 1 tablespoon salt)
- 1 cup filtered water
- [TNC added: 1/2 garlic head's worth of cloves and 1/2 onion per quart]
Wash cucumbers well and place in a quart-sized, wide-mouth mason jar. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over cucumbers, adding more water if necessary to cover the cucumbers. The top of the liquid should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 3 days before transferring to cold storage.
Variation: Pickled Cucumber Slices Wash cucumbers well and slice at 1/4 inch intervals. Proceed with recipe. Pickles will be ready for cold storage after about 2 days at room temperature.
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