There’s a difference between fermented pickles and vinegar pickles. This recipe is for fermented pickles, which are made with a salty brine that produces beneficial bacteria called probiotics. And, as you probably know, probiotics are believed to benefit gut health. As for vinegar pickles, they use a vinegar brine instead of a salty brine, and don’t provide any probiotics. Our recipe for Pickled Cauliflower uses a vinegar brine.
- 6 small pickling cucumbers*
- 2 cups filtered or distilled water, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon Pickling Salt**
- 2 small sprigs of fresh dill weed
- 2 bay leaves, crushed
- 1 clove garlic, cut in half the long way
- 1/4 teaspoons mustard seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon dill seeds
- 1/8 teaspoon celery seeds
- 1/8 teaspoon dried pepper flakes
- 6 black pepper corns
- Sterilize*** 2 (14oz) mason jars and any equipment and utensils that will come in contact with the ingredient. If using glass fermentation weights and airlock systems, sterilize these items according to the manufacturer’s directions.
- Wash the cucumbers well. Set aside.
- In the sterilized bowl, mix the filtered or distilled water with the salt. Let sit 10 minutes or until the salt has fully dissolved.
- Slice each cucumber the long way. Place as many slices as possible into the jars.
- Add to the jars the dill weed, bay leaves, garlic, seeds, flakes, and pepper corns.
- Pour in the salty brine. It should completely cover the cucumbers, but leave at least 1-inch breathing room near the top of the jars.
- Tightly screw on the mason jar lids, or follow the manufacturer’s directions if using glass fermentation weights and airlock systems. Tap the sides of the jars to help the seeds, flakes, and peppercorns sink further down. With the lids and/or airlock systems tightly in place, set the jars on your kitchen counter, out of the way in room temperature — not in the refrigerator or near a hot stove.
- Wait 2 to 3 weeks**** before opening. After opening, serve! Stores refrigerated with tight fitting lids for up to 1 month.
- For fermented vegetables, replace the cucumber slices with other sliced or chopped vegetables. You might try cauliflower, asparagus, zucchini, and carrot.
- If preferred, you can replace fresh dill weed with 1 teaspoon of dried dill weed.
- For a different flavor, use coriander seeds and fennel seeds in place of dill seeds and celery seeds.
Makes 2 (14oz) jars.
*Be sure to use pickling cucumbers, which helps to produce crisp pickles. Regular salad cucumbers tend to get mushy.
**Salt for pickling should not have any additives or contain anti-caking agents. Pickling salt, also called canning salt, can be used, or a pure kosher salt, or pure sea salt. You might try Celtic Sea Salt, fine ground.
*** There are many ways to sterilize jars and kitchen tools. The Bottle Store has an article that shares How to Sterilize Glass Bottles and Jars at Home. You can also use stainless steel tools that are first boiled for 10 minutes then placed on a clean dish cloth to air-dry. Also, ask the manufacturer to recommend the best way to sterilize other items and equipment that you plan to use, such as your cutting board, blender container, or food processor bowl.
**** Fermentation can sometimes take up to three weeks, depending on how warm your home is. The warmer your home the faster it takes to ferment. In a few days you may notice bubbling. If you’re not using airlock systems, you may also notice leaking or the lids might bulge. If this happens, you may need to “burp” the jars to alleviate the pressure. To do so, simply remove the lids then replace them, and in a few days check to see if you need to do this again.