Pickles, Pickles, Pickles!

Pickles.

My favorite food.

And, when prepared the way I’m going to show you today, EXTREMELY beneficial health-wise! Yes, it’s true. These easy peasy make-em-by-the-batch-or-one-jar-at-a-time pickles are a veritable feast of probiotics! What more excuse does one need to eat pickles?! They’re good for me?! And I can whip up a batch during nap time or even let my kids help?! SCORE!

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The pickles I’m talking about here are lacto-fermented, which is a jazzy way of saying “full of good bacteria that preserves food and makes you super duper healthy”. We’re all used to eating yogurt or taking acidophilus, and with lacto-fermentation you take the benefits of a supplement one step farther: because it’s in food form, your body will recognize it as food and put it to use right away!

Last week I was up to my eyeballs in cucumbers. I ordered 50 lbs of organic pickling cukes through a local buying group, and they came jam-packed in a huge banana box, just begging to be made into pickles. When the deed was done, I ended up with 55 jars of various kinds of pickles…vinegar pickles, sweet pickles, bread and butter pickles, and the easiest and fastest, lacto-fermented pickles!

Throughout the process of making all the different kinds, I realized how really simple fermented pickles are to make. There’s no canner to fill and monitor. No jars to keep hot. No brine to cook. Just toss all the ingredients into a clean jar, fill with water, cover, and set on the counter for a week! And the kiddos can help!

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And now, without further ado, I give you

THE EASIEST PICKLE RECIPE IN THE WORLD!

(Adapted from this recipe here)

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What you need:

  • Jars (they don’t even have to be “real” canning jars! Clean tomato sauce jars or any kind of jars you have on hand will work)
  • Pickling cucumbers (enough to fill the jars you have–usually takes 5-7 to fill a quart jar)
  • Fresh garlic cloves
  • Dill–fresh or dried
  • Sea salt
  • Pickling spice (optional)
  • Grape or red oak leaf (optional–the tannins in the leaves help keep the pickles crunchy)

How to do it:

  • For a quart-sized jar, toss in a few fresh garlic cloves (we used 3), a flowering head of dill (or 1/2 tsp. dried dill weed), 1-2 Tbsp. sea salt, 1 Tbsp. of pickling spice, and a grape leaf.

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  • Then pack it full with cucumbers (whole, sliced, chunked, whatever suits your fancy), and fill with filtered water. Be sure all the cucumbers stay under the water. If they don’t, use a little plastic lid or a clean rock to weight them down so they do. Anything out of the water can spoil. I usually pack my cukes in so tight they can’t go anywhere!
  • Put the lid on finger tight, and you’re done! Set it on your counter for 5-7ish days or until it tastes sour enough for your liking (I usually let mine go more like 9 days, because I like them really sour).
  • When they reach your preferred level of sourness, stick them in the fridge and they’ll keep forever! (Well, not around here…we eat them fast!)

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And probably my favorite part of the whole endeavor…here’s what the clean-up looks like:

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You can’t beat that! 🙂

Do you love pickles as much as I do? Have you tried lacto-fermented pickles before? Any questions regarding this post? Leave me a comment below! Happy pickling!

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One thought on “Pickles, Pickles, Pickles!

  1. Pingback: Gherkins from ‘The Drunken Botanist’ | Outdoor Living in New England

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