First let me start by saying, “Hello, my name is Kadee, and I am a pickle snob.” I like those expensive refrigerated pickles; the limp heat processed one are deplorable- in my opinion. Yes, I’ll eat the thinly sliced pickle chips that come on a Sonic burger, but it doesn’t mean that I like them. When I see kids running around at the ball park eating a massive “dollar a holler” pickle- shivers run down my spine. WHY????? I digress. The point I am trying to make is that I like crunchy pickles.- Enjoy, The Homesteader’s Wife.

Now, I am a fan of YouTube how to videos. They’re full of information-not always the right information, but information none the less. I was watching this seminar video about fermented foods and the GAP diet- don’t even ask how I ended up there. Let’s just say, my computer runs the videos on auto play. I started out watching Justin Rhodes and his “chillders” feeding their “dinos” fermented feed, and when I woke up… I was watching what I thought was some old hippy making sauerkraut.

 

Justin Rhodes, the chillders, and a dino

Justin Rhodes, the chillders, and a dino

It turns out the woman, Katalin Brown, is a pediatric dentist. Here is the link to the video I watched: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97GGCaHq6Zo . What she was saying started to make sense. I could see the potential, so I began watching more videos. Soon, I was on a pickle quest. In the past, my homemade pickles don’t fare well. They are never as crisp as those darn refrigerated kind I can buy at my big box store. The fermented pickle videos show people crunching down on this crisp pickles…NOW, I need to figure this out.

In the past, I’ve tried making pickles with lime, with Mrs. Wage’s, and with hundreds of “old family” recipes that I found on the internet. None have resulted in a super crisp pickle- well, I did make some refrigerated pickles that were crunchy, but they don’t last a year. So, I needed a recipe or method for me to take advantage of my cucumber harvest. The following is a compilation of all the videos. How did they turn out? Well, I see bubbling, and the color is starting to look pickle, but I haven’t tried one yet. I’ll let you know in a few more days…until then, my quest continues.

Whatcha need:

  • A gallon or ½ gallon sized jar
  • A dozen small cucumbers
  • A head of garlic
  • A handful of dill ferns and heads
  • Sea or Kosher salt
  • Spring/rain/well/nonchlorinated water
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Bay leaves
  • Pickling spices

pickles 1

Whatcha do:

Make a brine; 12 tablespoons of sea or kosher salt to one gallon of water- Bring water to a boil, dissolve salt in it, and cool to room temp. I threw in a tablespoon of pickling spice into the hot brine to help open the flavors up. Taste the brine; it should taste like ocean water.

brine2

See, this wasn’t enough! This is why I say make a gallon of brine! Don’t make my mistakes; learn from them.

brine      brine3

Next wash the cucumbers and dill- I fill up the sink half way and throw in a big splash of vinegar. I let them sit in there a few minutes and then rinse with cool water. Now cut the blossom end off of the cucumbers- this is supposed to help with crunch.

pickles 2

In the jar, toss in peeled garlic (I like garlic, so I used the whole close), 2 tablespoons of pickling spice, 3 bay leaves (use these because of the tannins- helps with crunch), an extra teaspoon of red pepper flakes, and the cucumbers.

pickles 3    pickles 4   pickles 5

pickles 6   pickles 8   pickle 7

Now, fill the jar with the brine and leave an 1” of head space. I used a ½ gallon jar- but if you use a gallon sized jar- you just need to cover the cumbers by an inch.

brine3

The cucumbers will float, so stick a clean rock, small weight, or a plastic bag filled with water on top of them to hold them under the brine. Put the lid on.

 

From the bottom looking up

From the bottom looking up

Place the jar inside a container- for overflow and store in a cool area. Every day, you need to burp the pickles to offset the gasses. If you don’t do this, your jar can explode. I keep my jar in my room, so I will remember to do it every day. Wait about 4 days. The actual time it takes for the pickles to ferment will depend on your room temperature. The cooler the better- 70 degrees is optimum.

After four days, you can sample them. If you want them more fermented- leave them a few more days. If you leave them at room temperature, they will continue to ferment. I am going to refrigerate my jar to stop the fermentation. In theory, you can store them at room temperature. I’ll experiment with this and let you know.