Home made fermented pickles

There are a few different ways to create pickles at home. An ancient technique that yields nutrient-dense pickles is fermentation, a process by which the cucumbers are left to sit in a brine (a simple mixture of water and salt) at room temperature for several days.

During the fermentation process a bacteria called lactobacilli converts the sugars and starches present in the food to lactic acid, which is what gives fermented foods their distinctively vinegary and slightly sour flavour. It can also kill off any E. coli bacteria that may have been on the raw vegetables which cannot survive in the acidic environment.

Beyond cucumbers there are several other options including cauliflower, carrots, green beans and radishes that can ferment well and become pickled vegetables that are rich in probiotics, enzymes, vitamins and minerals. Probiotics are known to have many positive impacts including better digestion and a strong immune system. When trying to make our diets healthier we often focus on what to take out, but it can also be effective to add in more foods that are rich in nutrients which support us in reaching our optimal health.

The best cucumbers to use are the types specifically grown for pickling and are around two to four inches long and slightly sweet, not bitter. When preserving vegetables, it is important to select ones that are fully ripe, fresh and firm, if one has even a little bit of rot, soft spots or wrinkling it can ruin the whole jar.

This is a basic recipe for a one litre jar of pickles that can easily be multiplied. There are some bay leaves because their tannins help to keep the pickles crisp, along with some other traditional seasonings.

Recipe:

1 1L glass jar

10 to 12 pickling cucumbers

2 sprigs fresh dill

2 bay leaves

1-2 cloves garlic (depending on preference)

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

2 cups distilled water

4 teaspoons pickling, sea or pink Himalayan salt

Scrub the cucumbers well, pat them dry and thinly slice off the tips on either end.

Place the dill, bay leaves, garlic and spices in the bottom of the jar.

Comfortably pack the cucumbers into the jar so that they are standing vertically and are close together but not squished.

Pour the salt and water into a medium sized bowl and stir to combine.

Pour the brine into the jar, ensuring that all the cucumbers are fully submerged. If any cucumbers float to the top place a piece or two of an extra quartered cucumber on top to push them down under the brine and hold them there.

Cover the jar with a kitchen cloth or doubled up cheesecloth and secure it in place with a rubber band.

Set the jar aside in a cool spot on the counter for up to 7 days. Over time the pickles will turn a darker olive green, the brine will become cloudier and there will be small bubbles rising to the top.

After 3 days, start checking it daily to skim off any concentrated bubbles or residue and to check for doneness. They will become more sour as the days go by so it is up to personal preference. Once they are finished fermenting screw the lid on tightly and store in the fridge for up to a few months. Once the jar is opened consume your pickles within a couple weeks.

Happy pickling!

 

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 Guest post by Brittany Vukets

Outside of the garden I am a nutritionist, yoga teacher and personal trainer. I started gardening as a young child under my grandfather’s guidance. Over the years my appreciation for all the benefits that gardening brings has continued to grow, but my favourite part then and now is the harvesting of the edible parts of the garden. I really enjoy making healthy meals for my loved ones and I share lots of recipes and tips at www.lovefromtheland.com