My education in food continues…Lacto-fermented pickles!

I wonder how it is that I haven’t written more on the homesteading page…likely it is due to the fact that we just have so much going on! Sorry this post is so wordy, I’ll add photos when I am able to!

I’ve been making lacto-fermented carrots for some time now….I don’t even remember how I stumbled over them…but I got all excited and had to give them a try. In a word….AMAZING! So good for your gut! Mike loves to bring them to work as a snack, and the twins eat them up with joy!

A few months ago I also tried my hand at fermented feed for the hens. They loved it, but it was a bit of a mess and when we took on growing fodder it sort of got to be a lot. However, the health benefits were clear and I will return to it again when the weather cools and they do not have the chance to free range as much.

IMG_1732.JPG

I’ve also tried lacto-fermenting garlic, and it was good, but just not what we wanted. Now I peel our bulk garlic and store it in a mason jar filled with olive oil. Yummy! The garlic keeps and we have wonderful flavored oil to use in cooking…..you can also add herbs to the jar. I have plans to add a few stocks of rosemary……just hasn’t happened yet.

IMG_1729.JPG
As the bounty from the garden increases I know it will be time to start ‘putting up’ canned goods soon! This was our test run! Lacto-fermented pickles! The process is easy and only takes a short time. There is no heating so your home stays cool and no fussing with pulling out the canning pot!

I have a tendency to look up a bunch of ideas and combine them and tweak them to work with what we have on hand….and then sort of cross my fingers! Please keep in mind that we have not tasted these yet….so update to come.

Here is what you will need:
*please read ALL directions before you start*
Cucumbers
Quart jar or larger
Fine sea salt
Sprigs of fresh Dill
Garlic
Whole peppercorns
Grape leaf….we didn’t have that….

So after you have cleaned your jars and cut your cucumbers (either in spears or rounds or if you have a larger jar you could try to keep them whole. I have a friend who makes her pickles whole with great success.) you will want to add all the goodies to the jar…

About 2-3 garlic wedges, a few sprigs of dill and peppercorn. Our directions called for 1 Tablespoon….I thought that was a lot and cut that in half. Next, pack your jars with the cucumbers. We found that wedges packed nicer then the rounds. The idea in packing your jars is to keep everything tight so that you don’t end up with cucumbers that float up to the top. That will ruin your yummy pickles. They need to stay below the water line.

After you have packed your jars and left about 1-1 1/2″ head space (you may need to cut down the wedges a bit) you will be adding the brine. To make the brine we added 2 Tablespoons salt to about 3 cups of water. Here is were some of the substitution took place for us. We did not have whey. A lot of directions call for whey, however, I know that if you add more salt and no whey the process still works! Fingers crossed! We upped the amount of salt from 1 Tablespoon to 2.

Then just pour the brine over the packed jars, ensuring that all cucumbers are submerged (you may get a few other items that float…not a problem). The directions we were following called for a grape leaf to be packed over the top. This helps in a number of ways. The leaf holds down the cucumbers and keeps them submerged. There is also something in the grape leaf that helps to keep the pickles crunchy. We didn’t have grape leaves….we used kale! ha! We will see if that is an adequate substitute. We only used them on the jars with rounds to help keep everything submerged.

Final step…place the lid on the jar and place it on the counter. Be sure to ‘burp’ your jar every 6-12 hours or so. At the end of 3-5 days you can move the jars to cold storage (below 65 degrees) or keep them refrigerated (no longer need to ‘burp’ at that point) You will want to date them…we don’t keep out lacto-fermented items around for longer then about 6 months. Heck, they don’t typically last that long in house anyway! Enjoy!

I will update this post at some point with more photos and a review of how things turned out and what I will change for the future! Enjoy and have fun!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s