Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Lacto fermented pickles

wild grapes
For this pickling project you will need:
A large ceramic crock or food-grade plastic bucket
3-4 pounds fresh cucumbers
8 - 10 grape, oak, black cherry, or horseradish leaves
6 Tablespoons Kosher salt or sea salt
1/2 gallon pure spring or well water (no chlorine or water softeners)
2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled
4-5 heads of fresh dill
1 teaspoon peppercorns

A pickle crock is ideal, of course, but you can also make use of a food-grade plastic bucket. The one you see here is recycled from the Food Co-op, where it once held brewer's yeast. (Taping compound buckets from a construction site are not a good idea.)
So here you go...Line your bucket with grape leaves, add several peeled cloves of garlic, some peppercorns, and some fresh dill heads if you have them. Gently add your cukes and add enough brine to cover them with an inch to spare.

Add a weighted plate to keep all the cukes under the brine, and cover with a clean dish towel to keep out dust and bugs. Set in an out of the way place and check them every day to monitor their progress.

The rate at which the pickles cure depends on the temperature at which you are storing them: the warmer the room, the faster they will ferment.

Taste after a few days, they can be eaten at any time. 
I asked the kids if they liked pickles.  He said "yes," and she said "NO."
But when they tried these pickles, guess what...they both liked them.  Perhaps because the pickles don't have the sharpness of a pickle made with vinegar.
In any case, this is a good thing, since the fermented pickle is good for one's digestion and supports the immune system.

Before packing pickles, I cut the larger ones
into spears and chunks.
When the pickles reach the desired sourness, bottle them up and refrigerate to slow the brining process.  Pack the pickles into jars and fill jar with brine from the crock.  Screw cap on tightly.  Store in the refrigerator for up to three months.

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