Saturday, August 11, 2012


I've been wanting to make my own fermented pickles for ages now, but I've been thwarted by a lack of equipment. I don't own a pickling crock, and had heard that fermenting without one was a hit-or-miss endeavor. 

But, we picked up a CSA box from our friends this week (they were out of town, so we got to keep the bounty), and it had a lot of cucumbers in it, along with a huge bunch of dill. And this only days after someone on Ravelry had posted her recipe for making fermented pickles at home without a pickling crock! I know there are tons of recipes like this out there, and I've read many of them, but someone having it come from someone in my internet community gave me courage. Clearly the Fates were speaking to me.

So, on Thursday morning I washed two pounds of cucumbers and sliced them into spears. I put them, along with the brine, in a glass bowl, and after tearing apart my kitchen looking for something I could use as a weight, finally topped them with a stainless steel bowl with a bag of rice in it. Elegant it was not, but I hoped it would do the trick.

And it did! Robert and I both tasted the pickles today and agreed they were delicious. R wishes they were crisper, but they're not mushy, so I'm pleased. About half the cucumbers I used were yellow cukes, hence the color you see here.

Here is the recipe I used (I included a raspberry leaf to help ward of mush-syndrome).

½ cup kosher salt
1 cup boiling water
2 lbs. small cucumbers, washed, and cut into halves or quarters
5 cloves or more garlic, peeled and smashed
1 large bunch dill with flowers OR 2 tablespoons dried dill and 1 teaspoon dill seeds OR a tablesoon of coriander seeds
  1. In a large bowl, combine the salt and boiling water; stir to dissolve the salt. Add a handful of ice cubes to cool down the mixture, then add all remaining ingredients.
  2. Add cold water to cover. Use a plate slightly smaller than the diameter of the bowl and a small weight to hold the cucumbers under the water. Keep at room temperature. (If you don’t have a/c and it is above 80 in your house, put them in the basement or somewhere cooler.)
  3. Begin sampling the cucumbers at 24 hours. It will probably take 48-72 hours for them to taste “pickly,” but it depends on the temperature conditions of your home. When they are to your liking, refrigerate them in the brine. The pickles will continue to ferment, but more slowly in the refrigerator.

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