Want to liven up your summer table? Look no further than sour pickles. Naturally fermented, sour pickles are rich in beneficial bacteria and food enzymes, offering a dairy-free source of probiotics .
Vinegar pickles lack the beneficial bacteria found in traditional, sour pickles. To ferment real pickles they must go through lactic acid fermentation – a process that encourages the proliferation of beneficial bacteria.
For the Sour Pickles
- 8 pounds pickling cucumbers unwaxed
- 2 heads flowering dill
- 10 cloves garlic
- 3 tablespoons pickling spice
- 1 horseradish leaf
- 6 tablespoons finely ground sea salt
- 3 quarts filtered water
- Rinse the cucumbers well to remove any dirt or debris, and then trim away any small stems of vine or flowers that might still adhere to them.
- Dump the cucumbers into the basin of your sink, and fill the sink with cold water. Allow the cucumbers to soak in the cold water for 20 minutes, long enough to perk them up a bit before they ferment
- Peel the garlic, and drop it into your fermentation crock. Then, add the pickling cucumbers, dill, horseradish leaf and pickling spice.
- Create a brine by spooning the salt into the water, and whisking them together until the salt dissolves completely. Pour the brine into the crock, weighing the cucumbers down, and completely submerging all the ingredients. Make sure your crock is completely full of brine, adding more as necessary. If using a traditional crock, place the lid on the jar and fill the crock’s well with water, checking every few days to make sure the water hasn’t evaporated and the seal remains intact.
- Allow the cucumbers to ferment for at least 1 week and up to 1 month at room temperature. Taste them every few days, and when they achieve the flavor and sourness you like, transfer the pickles and brine to mason jars, storing them in the fridge up to 6 months.