Recipe: Slow Garlic Dill Cucumbers
Summary: You’ve never made homemade lacto-fermented dill pickles? Be warned: once you have, you’ll never buy pickles from the grocery store again. And if you’re a certain a pickle-hawking stork, you might want to start updating your resume…
- 2-3 lbs cucumbers (slicing or pickling varieties)
- 6 sprigs fresh dill
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 12 peppercorns, mixed
- 6 Cups water, filtered
- 4 Tablespoons sea salt or pickling salt
- 1 tablespoon liquid whey (Optional)
- 1 grape leaf or leaf from a fruit tree (Optional)
- Rinse cucumbers to wash off any dirt. Cut tip off the flower end (there are enzymes which can inhibit fermentation). Slice into 3/4″ thick pieces (if using pickling cucumbers– skip this step and use them whole).
- Add 2 garlic cloves, peppercorns and two dill sprigs to the largest crock or jar you have. Glass or ceramic are best for fermentation. Food-grade plastic is okay too.
- Add 1/2 the cucumbers.
- Crush 1 garlic clove (place clove under a wide chef’s knife blade and pound once until it cracks). Add to jar.
- Add a few more sprigs of dill.
- Add remaining cucumbers and last few dill sprigs.
- Mix Brine: Add salt to water (2 teaspoons sea salt for every 1 cup of water). Stir until salt dissolves. If using coarse sea salt, you may want to let water come to room temperature.
- Add liquid whey to jar. (This is optional, but will give the good critters a nice head start). If using, add fruit tree leaf to jar (it will help the cukes stay crunchy!)
- Slowly pour brine into jar until there’s enough to cover the contents when the weight is added on top of the lid (may not require entire amount). weighed down with lid and glass bottle
- Place a lid that is almost the diameter of the container inside container. Make sure the veggies are as even as possible on the surface.
- Add weight. Push contents down to get all the air bubbles trapped underneath the brine. Wrap with tea towel or cloth to keep dust and flies out, and secure with twist ties or a rubber band.
- There may be surface mold that forms on top of the brine. Rest assured that as long as the contents are under the brine, your ferment is safe and the good critters are working. Simply remove weight and plastic lid, wipe or spoon out as much of the mold as you can, clean lid and weight with hot soapy water, dry thoroughly and add back to the jar.
- How often you need to clean the surface depends on the season and temperature. Springtime in southern California, we usually clean ferments twice a week.
- You may occasionally need to top off with more brine, depending on how much evaporates during the process.
- Taste after 5 days, then every few days until they taste the way you like them. Transfer to refrigerator. They will keep for several months in the fridge (in the unlikely event you don’t eat them all sooner)!
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