Real Pickles

I always look forward to August.   The tomatoes and melons and cucumbers are finally coming into season here when most of the country has been enjoying these summer foods for at least a month.   Beyond the serpentine Armenian cucumbers and the cute lemon cucumbers, I love the pickling cucumbers most and they are hard to find at the market and impossible to grow at this altitude without a greenhouse.

There is nothing quite like a good pickle.   Traditionally foods were pickled without vinegar and were pickled with brine instead.   The brine kept pathogens at bay while allowing good, beneficial bacteria to proliferate creating lactic acid that would preserve the food.   These cultured foods are treasures of bacteria that is beneficial to human health and the lack of good bacteria in our guts has been linked to obesity and other disease.   So it’s critical to eat foods rich in pro- and pre-biotics to keep ourselves healthy.

Yogurt and cultured milk products are a great source of these bacteria, but many people overlook the benefits and delicious flavor of cultured vegetables: real sauerkraut, sauerruben and real pickles.

For these pickles, like the pickles I made last August, I peeled plenty of garlic, washed plenty of pickling cucumbers and put them in 1/2-gallon ball mason jars to ferment along with a handful of horseradish leaves to keep them crisp and plenty of fresh, flowering dill.   I topped it all with brine and let it ferment on the counter until they were done.

And my little dude, he begs for them for breakfast.

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What people are saying

  1. Susan says

    If you make lacto fermented sauerkraut (or other veggie) can you store them in vacuum storage bags (like using a food saver) once the sauerkraut is finished in the crock? Once vacuumed bagged, would it be shelf stable, or would you need to store in the refrigerator or freezer? Just wondering as I thought this would be great way to store it w/o having to heat it like canning. Also, you can purchase the things for the food saver that vacuum seals jars, would this work to make it shelf stable? Just wondering as I saw on Cultures for Health that the are selling raw lacto-fermented veggies that are vacuum sealed in bags and wondered if this would work for the home kitchen. I have a lot more room to store it in cabinets than in my refrigerator.

  2. Kathy says

    My husband and I have been enjoying your recipe for lacto fermented veggies and I’m now waiting for the pickling cucumbers so that I can try making my own pickles too! I live in the Seattle area with no plants of my own except what is growing on my balcony. Do you have a recommendation for leaves to use that should be easy to find up here?

    Thanks!!!

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