Several years ago, soon after reading Nourishing Traditions the first time, I tried some lacto-fermenting. I’m not sure what all went wrong, but the salsa was too salty and the pickles were both mushy and somewhat carbonated.

This year, I tried again, partly due to a new friend who is interested in such things (although he never got around to it this summer, perhaps because of a new job and new property and a baby and stuff like that).

So — I had six cucumbers from our garden, which I thought would fill two jars, so I planned on one jar with whey and one without. My first attempt used whey, and some bloggers I’ve read prefer the taste of whey-less pickles, so I thought it would be interesting to compare.

Both jars had

3 cloves of garlic, peeled and bruised
3 black peppercorns
1 1/2 t mustard seed
2 T fresh dill from the garden
9-10 fresh sour cherry leaves from the yard (they’re spotted… I’m hoping whatever made the spots won’t spoil the pickles; sour cherry, oak, grape, and horseradish leaves are all supposed to help the pickles get and stay crisp)

Then I packed in the sliced cucumbers — after they’d soaked in ice water for about six hours.

One jar got a cup of filtered water mixed with 1 T sea salt and 3 T whey dripped from plain store yogurt (the thick yogurt left after dripping was seriously yummy with sliced peaches and maple syrup for lunch).

The other jar got a cup of filtered water mixed with 2 T sea salt.

And I still had two cucumbers left, so I washed another jar and decided to try the dry-pack method. I mixed the slices with sea salt in a bowl and then packed the jar. Simple enough — and there’s already liquid collecting at the bottom of the jar. (I just realized that they weighed one pound, not two, which means I put in double the salt — oops! I wonder what will happen…)

To weigh down the pickles in each jar, keeping them submerged, I used boiled glass gems (found with aquarium accessories in the pet supply aisle) tied in cheesecloth (found with the varnish; yeah).

I cobbled together information from these three sites; thanks, y’all.


3 thoughts on “Pickle

  1. They were nice and crispy. They did not, however, taste good, and the dry-pack ones smelled questionable so we tossed them without tasting. The whey ones were too sour, and the salt ones too salty. But — at least I know the process worked as it was supposed to! I’m going to a fermentation class next week, and I hope to keep learning more. My cucumber vines seem done for the year, but I’ll try again next year, and in the meantime I might try sauerkraut and maybe kimchi.

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