Safe And Easy Lacto-Fermented Pickles

The Art of Fermentation is available at Lehman’s.com or Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio.

I started making after we pinned down the reason we had so many food allergies and yeast (candida) issues. Exposure to black mold (Stachybotris) in our home years before had destroyed gut linings (leaky gut) and messed with the normal digestion and absorption process in some of the family members.

This recipe is as basic as it comes. You can make this with only 3 ingredients OR add garlic and spices if you wish.

Ingredients for Lacto-fermented Pickles:

  • Individual glass quart jars, a 1-gallon glass jar, or ceramic crock
  • Brine: For every 2 c water, mix in 1 Tbsp sea salt. With an abundance of cucumbers multiply that as many times as needed to cover all the cucumbers.
  • Cucumbers (small to medium are perfect, but if they large, cut them into spears)
  • A handful of fresh, clean grape leaves, optional (grape, oak, cherry, raspberry, & blackberry leaves supply tannins to keep the pickles crunchy)

Available at Lehmans.com or Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio.

Optional Additions to make Old-Fashioned Dill Pickles: PER QUART

  • 2-3 medium cloves of garlic, peeled, & roughly chopped (to taste)
  • 1 tsp whole dill seed (I use 2 sprigs of green seed heads from garden)
  • 1/2 tsp whole coriander seed (I used ground)
  • 1/4  tsp whole mustard seed
  • 1/4 tsp whole peppercorns (I used tellicherry peppercorns)
  • 1/4 tsp fennel seed (optional~ I didn’t have any on hand)
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (I used small pieces of dehydrated hot pepper from last summer)

Directions:

  • Wash. Slice in wedges for large cukes or leave whole if small to medium.
  • Pack jars  For cutting purposes your pickles need to be at the very least 1″ below the brine. I will discuss this more later.
  • Mix brine (sea salt and water solution-see recipe) in a measuring cup. Stir well before pouring over pickles.

You want your cucumbers (and leaves) to be completely submerged in the brine at all times. If they are exposed to the air, they will mold, so you may need to weigh them down with a sanitized rock or small jar that fits your bigger jar.

I washed my rocks in a solution of hydrogen peroxide and vinegar…the same non-toxic solution I use for my homemade bleach alternative. Rinse well before using.

This year I used the Old-Fashioned Dill Pickle recipe above. We made whole baby dills with the short 3-5 inchers and spears with the full-sized 8 inchers.

As an experiment, I used 2 leaves from the grape vine per jar (help to submerge the spears). I have read that leaves with high tannin levels will keep pickles crunchy, but I know others that have never used them and they were just great.

Woven dishcloths are available at Lehmans.com or Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio.

Cover your jar (loosely) with its lid, or with a cloth to keep bugs and dust out. You may see a film of thin white scum growing on the surface of the water;  just skim it off as often as you can, but don’t worry if you can’t get it all. This is “kahm yeast”; it won’t harm you, but it can affect the flavor of your pickles if you don’t keep up with it.

Lacto-fermentation happens when the starches and sugars in the cukes convert to lactic acid by a friendly lactic-acid producing bacteria.

Your pickles will be ready after 5-8 days on the kitchen counter in the summer, depending on the warmth of your home. On day 4 do a taste test of your pickles. They’re ready when they taste done to you! Once they taste done, transfer the jar into the fridge to slow fermentation. Once fermented and in the refrigerator, you can remove the grape leaves and you don’t need to worry about the pickles being completely submerged.

And the brine is healthful, too; It’s full of good bacteria and beneficial for your digestion! Since it’s salty, it would be especially good after a hot, sweaty day of work outside.

Serve one pickle or slice with lunch and dinner every day.

These could last months in your fridge, but if you like dill pickles, they will be all gone long before that! Good health and bon appétit!

For further reference, check out:  http://foodpreservation.about.com/od/Fermenting/a/Lacto-Fermentation-How-It-Works.htm I used this article while developing the recipe.

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