The longest and most time consuming step in making fermented cucumbers is procrastination! It is so easy to ferment vegetables that it is almost a crime to buy them. I do love the mild kimchi made and distributed by the Sanjas brand, but kick myself every time I buy it because I just know how easy it is make on my own.
Fermented vegetables and other fermented foods, like ginger ale, kombucha, etc. aid in digestion and are probiotic. I was thinking about how my grandparents’ and great-grandparents’ diets often included pickles and sauerkraut. Undoubtedly for the same reason that I appreciate my fermented salads. They taste good, and help with digestion. Who could ask for more?!
The primary ingredients to make fermented cucumbers are really simple:
Then I also add:
- pickling spices (I buy pre-mixed from Penzey’s)
- horseradish leaf – this is supposed to keep the cucumbers more crunchy. I’ve also seen recipes that use oak leaf for this purpose.
Mix the salt, about 2 tbsp depending upon how many cucumbers you have, with hot water and let it dissolve.
Put the horseradish leaf, dill, garlic and pickling spice at the bottom of the jar.
It is my experience both with utilizing the jar most effectively and creating the right pickle serving size that it is better to cut the cucumbers. I usually try to slice them on the diagonal lengthwise, unless they have a wider circumference – then I get a little more creative in splitting them.
For lack of a better word, I then cram the sliced cucumbers in my mason jars, packing them in as tightly as I can, leaving a little bit of space below the part of the jar with the screw threads.
I did add some coconut vinegar into each jar this time. I’ve never done that before, but thought it might add some additional tangy taste. Vinegar is also helpful during the fermenting process, but is not necessary. For the large jar I put about a tablespoonful and for the quart jar I used about a teaspoon.
Fill the jar 3/4s of the way with the salt water. Add warm water to finish. Make sure the pickles (to be) are completely immersed in water. Screw on the lid and put away for a week.
And here’s the best tip that I can share.
Write on the calendar when to check them. I need the reminder one week later! I will not remember otherwise! (Note: it’s okay if you leave them longer, they just get more sour.) Place in refrigerator when they reach the taste you like.