So you planted cucumbers and waited patiently for them to grow but now every day you collect so many that you're getting sick of them? I hear ya.
When life gives you cucumbers, make pickles.
But not just any old pickles. Old-fashioned lacto-fermented sour pickles are crunchy and have the beneficial bacteria and heat-sensitive vitamins not found in typical vinegar pickles.
If you have attempted your own sauerkraut or fermented vegetables, you know that you must pound the vegetables long enough for them to release their juices to create a brine. The brine helps to keep pathogenic bacteria at bay while encouraging the growth of beneficial bacteria, the sort that nourishes your gut.
For sour pickles, you prepare the brine separately and pour it over cucumbers and seasonings.
Here's the super simple recipe.
UNREFINED SEA SALT
PICKLING SPICES (allspice, black pepper, mustard seeds, whole cloves, bay leaf, etc.)
FRESH HORSERADISH LEAF (Optional but also optimal because this keeps the pickles crunchy)
Pick cucumbers that will fit into a canning jar, about 6-8 inches long.
- Place cucumbers in a bowl in the fridge until you have enough to fill your jar (or jars). This keeps them perky. Wash and trim the stems and flowery ends.
- Next, gather your flavor ingredients: peel the garlic cloves (2 per jar), fresh dill (1-2 sprigs per jar) about 1 tbsp pickling spices per jar. You can purchase a pickling spice combo or just grab from your spice cabinet and create a mix to your taste.
- Prepare the brine: mix 3 tablespoons of unrefined sea salt with 1 quart chlorine-free water. Stir to dissolve thoroughly.
- Next, pack the jars with cucumbers and add the garlic, spices, dill, horseradish leaf (whole) and a big pinch of unrefined sea salt.
- Pour the brine over the ingredients and make sure that the vegetables are completely submerged. Place a clean weight in the jar on top of the vegetables to keep them beneath the salt water.
- Set jars aside on the counter in a dark corner or cover with a kitchen towel. Place the lids on the jars but do not tighten because the fermentation process requires ventilation.
- Allow the pickles to ferment for at least a five days. Check them to be sure the cucumbers are submerged and no mold is growing. Taste them after 5 days (and up to 10 days) and when they're soured to your liking, place them in the fridge.
Don't forget that cucumbers are are a great source of silica, a trace mineral that strengthens your connective tissue and tightens the collagen in your skin. Reverse some of that sun damage and reduce wrinkles? I'm in!