Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Lacto-Fermented Pickles, Take 1

I have always made pickles with vinegar. Then I read that not all fermented foods are pickled and not all pickles are fermented. Huh? Naturally, I did more research. Here's what I found...


Foods that are pickled have been preserved in an acidic medium. But those don't offer you the same probiotic and enzymatic nutritional value of homemade fermented vegetables. If you ferment vegetables, they will create their own self-preserving, acidic liquid that is a by-product of fermentation. Ubiquitous and beneficial lactobacilli proliferates to create lactic acid that pickles and preserves the vegetables.

Okay, I was ready to try...


Ingredients
  • 6-7 cucumbers (I used organic seedless Persian cukes)
  • 3 whole garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 to 3 fennel stems
  • 1 T fresh fennel fronds
  • 3 to 4 sprigs fresh dill
  • 2 to 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 to 2 sprigs fresh oregano
  • 1/2 t fennel pollen
  • filtered water
  • 3 T Himalayan or unrefined salt 
  • 1 large, sterile glass jar with a lid

Procedure
Rinse your pickles. Stuff the cucumbers into the jar with the fennel stems until they fit snuggly. Add the garlic, fennel fronds, dill, thyme, oregano, fennel pollen, and salt. Pour in filtered water to cover the cucumbers. Cover with a lid and shake until the salt is dissolved. The liquid will be completely clear.

Leave the jar to ferment on the counter for between 7 to 10 days. If the lid begins to bulge, crack open the jar every once in a while to let the excess gas escape. After 7 to 10 days, refrigerate the pickles. The liquid will be milky at this point - from the lactic acid production.

These pickles were a little too salty for my tastes. I will try to reduce the salt a little bit next time. Also, I read that if you like pickles on the vinegary side, which I do, you can add a splash of vinegar after the fermentation process is complete, then let them macerate for a few more days before eating. I'll try that!


This recipe was ridiculously easy and I imagine all the possibilities with different herbs and spices.

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