This recipe describes basic pickle making technique that will work for any vegetable used. You can mix and match vegetables and spices to suit your taste. Lacto fermented pickles are a healthy probiotic and we all know that gut health is super important for our all over health! Besides that they are good!
Non Iodized Salt
Filtered, distilled or well water (No Chlorinated water)
Spices to your liking (Some suggestions are listed below)
Oak or grape leaves to supply tannin to preserve crunchiness
What to Do
Sterilize the jars you will be using by boiling. (1/2 gallon, quart and pint jars all work well).
Fermentation is accomplished by bacteria but remember sanitation is important to keep the unwanted bacteria from your ferments.
Wash and soak whole vegetables in ice water for at a least a few hours if the vegetables are not freshly picked the day you are making pickles. (Can soak overnight)
Once the vegetables have soaked make your brine. Mix 3 tablespoons salt with 1 quart of water. Set it aside and let it dissolve.
Prep vegetables by trimming off the blossom end or the stem end. We have been told both so just trim a little off of both ends until we figure out which it should be. Trim off any blemishes that could affect fermentation.
Place garlic cloves and any spices that you want to use on the bottom of the jar.
Cover garlic and spices with washed oak or grape leaves. This will help hold the spices down in the bottom of the jar. (I use 4 oak leaves for a 1/2 gallon jar, 3 for a quart jar and 2 for a pint jar. If you use a large oak leaf you may want to cut down on the number of leaves that you use.
Pack vegetables as tightly into the jar as you can. To keep them down under the brine I like to either wedge vegetables or a wooden skewer horizontally in the top (use a narrow mouth canning jar if using this method) or use the pickle pebbles to weight them down (use wide mouth canning jars if using these). The pickle pebbles are definitely easier to do but are an investment in your fermentation supplies.
Pour the brine over the vegetables making sure to completely cover all the vegetables. They must stay completely submerged at all times.
Cover your jar with a plastic storage lid unless you are using the pickle pipes or the airlock method of fermentation. If you are using the pickle pipes you will use a canning jar ring to hold it down. If using the airlock method it will be made into a plastic storage lid. Either of these methods works as long as they stay covered with the brine.
Tending to your ferments:
Brined vegetables can be fermented at room temperature. You may have to skim the scum that could form on the top of the vegetables. You may have to add more brine occasionally to be sure that they stay submerged. As the vegetables ferment they will burp out air and some liquid. Be sure to check and replace the brine.
Vegetables fermented at room temperature will finish faster than those kept cooler. Brined vegetables fermenting at room temperature can be ready in as little as 3 days to a week. Be sure to check for doneness (the flavor that you like).
When the fermentation process is complete all ferments must be store in the refrigerator.
Some Suggested Spices for 1/2 gallon jar:
Cucumber pickles: 9 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons dill seed or several pieces of fresh dill weed (seed heads if you have them)
3/4 teaspoon yellow mustard seed
3/4 teaspoon brown mustard seed
1/4 teaspoon juniper berries
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
Fresh or dried spicy peppers to taste
Pickled Green Beans: 9 cloves garlic
2 1/2 teaspoon dill seed or several pieces of fresh dill weed (add seed head if you have it)
Okra, radishes, cauliflower & carrots, peppers, etc:
9 cloves garlic
Sugar Snap Peas: No spices at all
Remember that these are suggested spices so think about what your family enjoys and adjust to your taste. The last cucumber pickles that I made I only added hot peppers, peppercorns, garlic and dill weed.