It is SO easy to ferment pickles, and they're so healthy. I got into fermented foods with the whole Weston Price thing, and pickles were something my family would actually eat (and salsa!). Recently my youngest had to go on antibiotics for an ear infection, so I was trying to think of as many ways possible to get probiotics in him to offset the damage. Which brings us back to pickles.
It sounds gross but you leave the cucumbers out (unrefrigerated) in a brine solution for a few days and (good) bacteria starts to grow, while the salt prevents them from spoiling. I use pickling spice for a familiar dill pickle flavor but you can use fresh garlic, dill etc. The whole process takes a few days, or longer depending on how sour you like your pickles. Mo' sour is mo' betta, nutritionally speaking.
You will need:
- A quart jar to mix your brine solution
- A jar big enough to hold the pickles
- A coffee filter, paper towel or cheesecloth
- Whatever spices you like
Put your cucumbers in the pickle jar. Pack them in as tight as you can.
Add your seasoning to the jar, filling in the gaps between the cucumbers. I used a couple tablespoons of pickling spice in a pint size jar.
Fill the quart jar with water and add 2 Tablespoons of salt. Stir or shake to dissolve.
Pour the brine solution over the cucumbers covering completely. Any cucumbers sticking out above the brine will mold (because it is exposed to air and not protected in the salty solution). If you have to, use something to weigh down the cucumbers so they stay submerged underwater. (This is why I said to pack them in tight). Save the rest of the brine in case you need to top it off after several days.
Cover your jar with something woven like a coffee filter or paper towel. You want to let the air/bacteria in, but keep dust and bugs out. I use a rubber band to keep it in place.
After 3 days start tasting the pickles to see if they're done. (If its summer or you're in a hot climate start checking them sooner as fermentation happens quicker). You have to go by taste - they should taste sour, not funky! When you like the taste, put them in the fridge to stop/slow the fermentation process.
Sourkraut is another fun thing to make, it is crisp and not like the soggy canned stuff. And my all time favorite... Kombucha!