Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled cucumbers….
In my house, we go through pickles faster than just about any other “accoutrements”. If left alone, my husband will blow through half a jar at one sitting. And I’m talking about one of the family-sized 64oz jars.
The main difference between these pickles and the ones you buy at the store is the process by which they are made– fermentation.
“Brined pickles are prepared using the traditional process of natural fermentation in a brine which makes them grow sour. There is no vinegar used in the brine of naturally fermented pickled cucumbers. The fermentation process is entirely dependent on the naturally occurring Lactobacillus bacteria that normally cover the skin of a growing cucumber. Since these are routinely removed during commercial harvesting/packing processes, traditionally prepared pickles can only be made from freshly harvested cucumbers.” source
In the summertime when cucumbers and hot days abound, this is a fun, tasty recipe to try. And what’s more– science!
Prep time: 15 minutes
Fermentation: 2 days
Rest/chill: 3 days
- 3 pounds pickling cucumbers (must be pickling or “Kirby” cucumbers, not waxed)
- 1 TBS dill seeds
- 1 tsp – 1 TBS crushed red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you like your pickles)
- 1 TBS peppercorns
- 2 gloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 pickling salt (contains no iodine or anti-caking agents)
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 8 cups water
Make NO substitutions for the ingredients. The only thing you may vary is the quantity of red pepper or garlic (more or less as preferred.)
- Wash cucumbers and cut off a thin slice at each end. (Cucumbers stems contain an enzyme that prevents fermentation.) Then slice pickles into quarter spears.
- Mix all other ingredients into a large jar or crock (A pickle jar works quite well, imagine that!) and stir until salt is dissolved.
- Add cucumbers to water and stir them around.
- Place lid on container and set in a place where the temperature is between 70-75°F. (Don’t set it in the sun, just somewhere warm.)
- Leave jar there for 2 days.
- After 2 days, place jar in refrigerator for 3 days.
- After three days, “let them eat pickles!”
- If you’d like, portion pickles into smaller jars and cover with brine and spices. Pickles can be stored for up to two months. Not that they ever last that long.