This How to Make Fermented Pickles post is a quick and easy guide for making healthy fermented pickles at home.
Each summer I make batches of fermented pickles from the cucumbers in our garden. I use different sorts of cucumbers for this as I grow various kinds and below I have a list of which ones I think work best. Whichever kind you use, fermenting is a terrific way to preserve foods to ensure they last longer. But there are also lots of reasons why adding fermented foods to your diet is beneficial.
For years I had no idea about what fermented food was or why I would even want to eat them. In today’s blog post, I want to share with you this simple method for making them right in your kitchen. Along with the benefits of eating them and my favorite recipe that I use.
Benefits of Eating Fermented Foods
- Improved immune function
- Increase availability of nutrients
- Aids digestion
- Improved mood (the gut and brain are linked)
- By eating fermented foods daily, if not at every meal, you can improve the health of your gut flora through these foods.
What You Will Need To Make Them
8-10 or 2 lb of pickling cucumbers (Persian, Kirby, Bush pickles, Boston’s etc)
5-6 tbsp sea salt
2-3 grape leaves or oak leaves for the tannins (to keep them crisp)
3 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp peppercorns
1.5 liters filtered water
1 half gallon ball jar
2 sprigs of dill (optional)
Boil about a cup of water. Pour the hot water into a waiting bowl and add the sea salt. Mix it until it completely dissolves. Set aside. Wash the pickles and stuff them into the ball jar. I say 8-10 pickles or 2 lb of pickles for this recipe but fill it to the brim.
It will depend on what type you’ve chosen on how many will fit. Today I used Persian pickles which fit 8 perfectly into my half-gallon ball jar. Add the garlic cloves, and peppercorns to the jar.
Now it’s time to add a bit more water to the brine. You will add about a liter of water to the cup of salt water. Mix it completely. Then pour into the waiting ball jar making sure to cover the contents completely with the liquid. Take the grape leaves and use them as a cover by smashing them down inside the jar as pictured.
- Fruit flies love fermented foods so to keep them or anything else from landing inside your jar, you can top your jars with a loose-fitting lid. I use a piece of cloth and a tie for mine. Which works quite well. There are special lids you can buy but I find they aren’t necessary.
- Don’t place the original ball lid on just yet as you will want to allow for airflow. All the contents of the jar must be covered in salt water. That is what is going to take over and allow the good bacteria to ferment the pickles.
- If anything is sticking out be sure to smash it down and add more salt water if needed. You are going to let the pickles sit on the counter for a few days making sure to check the tops for any mold you may see. If any, wipe it away. I haven’t had this issue but it can happen.
- Depending on the temperature you keep your home at, it could take just a couple of days to ferment to your liking or it can take several if your home is kept at a cooler temperature. I keep mine at 68 and mine are ready by day 4.
- Once they are ready they will last at least 2 months in the fridge. Although I doubt they will last that long. They are delicious!
Cucumbers That Work Best
There are various varieties of cucumbers that are available both in the store and for people to grow themselves. One of the most often questions for making these fermented pickles is which type of cucumbers are needed.
There isn’t any one specific type of cucumbers that you can use. However, I do find that Persian, Boston, Bush, and Kirby pickles are easier to use and work great for this recipe. Their size and texture pickle well. These varieties are also easy to find in the store if growing them isn’t your thing.
How do I know they are ready?
The color of your pickles will darken the same way other pickles do. Once you see the color change you can take one out and give it a taste. If it’s not quite to your liking, simply wait another day or so and try them again. It’s that easy.
Can I add other herbs?
You can! This is a simple way to make fermented pickles without much fuss. I have added chili flakes, herbs, and more garlic than this. All have turned out great. You just need to make sure everything stays under the salt water when fermenting.
What’s the difference between store-bought pickles and fermented pickles?
Store-bought pickles are simply pickled in vinegar whereas fermented pickles are left out in a salt solution allowing good bacteria to build up and create a salted pickle.
What if I need more water to cover the contents in the jar?
Simply heat a bit more water, mix in another tbsp or two, let it dissolve, cool down, and then add it to the jar. Make sure not to add warm or hot water directly to the pickles as this can not only cook but kill off the good bacteria before it even gets started.
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- 8-10 or 2 lbs pickling cucumbers (persian, kirby cukes, bush pickles, boston’s etc)
- 5-6 tbsp sea salt
- 2-3 grape leaves (to keep them crisp)
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 2 tbsp peppercorns
- 1.5 liters filtered water
- 1 half gallon ball jar
- 2 sprigs of dill (optional)
- Boil about a cup of water.
- Pour the hot water into a waiting bowl and add the sea salt.
- Mix it until it completely dissolves. Set aside.
- Wash the pickles and stuff them into the ball jar. I say 8-10 pickles for this recipe but fill it to the brim. It will depend on what type you’ve chosen on how many will fit.
- Add the garlic cloves, and peppercorns to the jar.
- Now it’s time to add a bit more water to the brine. You will add about a liter of water to the cup of salt water.
- Mix it completely. Then pour into the waiting ball jar making sure to cover the contents completely with the liquid.
- Take the grape leaves and use them as a cover by smashing them down inside the jar as pictured.
- Top your jars with a loose fitting lid
- f anything is sticking out be sure to smash it down and add more salt water if needed.
- You are going to let the pickles sit on the counter for a few days making sure to check the tops for any mold you may see. If any, wipe it away.
- Pickles are ready when the color has darkened.
- Taste them to make sure they are pickled to your liking beforestoring them in the fridge.
You will need half gallon mason jars or similar style jar with a loose fiting lid. Crocks also work great too.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1 pickle
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 10Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 20972mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g
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