Hands down, fermentation is the most magical, mystical adventure of traditional foods. Whether you start off with homemade sauerkraut or store-bought kombucha, the ride is full of bubbly, tart wonders that blossom by simply adding a few fresh ingredients to a jar and waiting.
Whether you're new to the world of cultured foods or a seasoned fermented foodie, you're going to love this sour pickle recipe from Jenny at Nourished Kitchen – the goddess of cultured foods. For me, achieving the perfect pickle is a personal goal, and I think this is the recipe to take me to pickle nirvana.
Sour pickles ingredients
- 1 tablespoon unrefined sea salt
- About 1 1/2 cups filtered water or more, as needed
- 3 large cucumbers, cut into spears or left whole, as desired
- 2 tablespoons pickling spice (allspice, mustard seed, bay leaf, cloves, etc.)
- Cloves of 1 head of garlic, peeled and crushed
- Starter culture*
- 1 bunch flowering dill, if available
- 1 horseradish leaf, if available
Sour pickles method
- Mix salt with warm water and set aside.
- Place cucumbers, pickling spice, garlic cloves, dill and horseradish leaf (if using) into your mason jar, crock or vegetable fermenter.
- Pour in starter culture of choice* and enough salt water to submerge the cucumbers.
- Weigh the cucumbers down, if possible, ensuring that they rest below the brine level.
- Cover loosely with a lid and allow them to ferment at room temperature for seven 7 to 14 days, testing periodically, until the pickles acquire a sourness that appeals to you.
*Options for your starter:
Fresh whey – Strain fresh whey from yogurt, kefir or clabber. Use 1/2 cup. OR
Purchased vegetable starter culture – like this one. Dissolve one packet of starter culture one in a half cup warm water. OR
Extra salt – Increase salt in the ferment to 2 tablespoons, and omit starter altogether.
Yields: 1 quart
Time: 5 mins (active), 7 to 10 days (fermentation)
Don't those sour pickles look scrumptious? I can just imagine crunching into a tart cold spear with a melty grilled cheese sandwich. Yum!