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Traditional Lacto-Fermented Pickles

Eastern European style fermented pickles. Perfect for beginners.

Cucumbers have their own natural lactic bacterial culture, which makes them very easy to ferment. This traditional fermented pickle recipe will fill 2 mason jars. Feel free to scale it up if you want to make a larger batch. I usually do around 16 lbs of cucumbers each August. We really love fermented pickles!

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 lbs pickling cucumbers
  • 4 cups of water (chlorine-free)
  • 1/4 cup of non-iodized salt (flaked pickling salt is best)
  • 2 dill flowers or sprigs of dill weed
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tsp pickling spices (optional)
  • 2 tbsp grated horseradish root (see notes for alternatives)

Instructions

  1. Wash the cucumbers and trim 1/4 inch (1/2 cm) off the blossom ends to help prevent the cucumber from going soft.
  2. Cut larger cucumbers, as required, to fit in your fermentation container.
  3. Pack cucumbers into a fermenting container (see the section above for options). Add in the spices, dill, garlic and horseradish root. The recipe is scaled for two 1-quart mason jars with 2 cloves of garlic, 1 sprig of dill, 1 tsp of spice and 1 tbsp of horseradish root in each jar.
  4. Combine the water and salt to make a brine.
  5. Pour the brine over the cucumbers.
  6. Allow the pickles to ferment somewhere cool and dark for 2-7 weeks.
  7. If you are doing open-air fermenting, check the pickles every 2-3 days. Skim off the foam/scum and top up with non-chlorinated water as needed.

Notes

  • Fermented pickles will become soft and mushy over time. To prevent this, add a natural source of tannins to each mason jar. For example, 1 tbsp of grated horseradish root, a grape leaf or a pinch of black tea.
  • Pickles need to ferment for at least 2 weeks, and usually much longer to develop their flavour. That also provides more time for your ferment to turn into a weird science experiment, so keep it clean and sanitize your jars before fermenting.
  • Store the finished pickles in the fridge and eat within 4 months. Alternatively, you can preserve them for long-term storage. They won’t be probiotic, but they will have that traditional pickle flavour. If you want probiotic pickles that you can ferment for several months, then I recommend my Grandma’s Fermented Pickle Recipe.

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