Making fermented cucumber pickles

05 March 2018
My first attempt at fermenting cucumber pickles last summer was a taste revelation....and a textural failure! My second attempt was a success on both fronts - I was hooked. Unfortunately it was the end of the cucumber season so once the jar was empty I had to wait.....

The first step this year was to grow the cucumbers. The textural failure last year was the result of using large cucumbers and cutting them into spears like I normally do with the vinegar pickled variety. However, once the little fermenting microbes had their way with my cucumbers they were a little on the mushy side. You definitely need the small whole cucumbers. These are a little harder to come by so I wanted to grow my own.

Pickling cucumber vine growing nicely. Lots of flowers...yay!

Second step is to wait patiently until you have enough to fill a jar or two. Unless you have a lot of vines you are unlikely to have enough cucumbers at the right stage at the right time to fill too many jars. Feel free to buy some small cucumbers and skip the first two steps.

From here on in it's a pretty simple process. Give the cucumbers a wash and trim off the blossom and/or stem if needed. Stuff them in a clean jar with some garlic and herbs. In this batch I used a bay leaf, two cloves of garlic halved and some peppercorns. The limit here is your taste preference - dill, fennel, caraway, coriander or mustard seeds would all work well. You can find plenty of suggestions and recipes on the interwebs too.

Cucumbers and spices in the jar.

Next you cover them with a brine. For this batch I used 2 tablespoons of salt in 2 cups of water. First dissolve the salt in half a cup of boiling water and top up with cold. Then just add enough to your jar to cover. You may need to wedge your cucumbers together or under the neck of your jar so they stay submerged.

Cover your jar with some muslin or just balance the lid back on top loosely - you don't want any bugs or things to get in but you want the fermentation gases to release. Place somewhere out of direct sunlight where they wont be disturbed for 3-10 days. I generally leave mine for around 3 days but it depends on your taste preference - the longer you leave them the more fermentation will occur. Also, they will still ferment slowly once in the fridge.

After 3 days on the bench. You can see the bubbles and cloudiness of the brine.

Then you simply pop them in the fridge until you are ready to enjoy....after a sneaky sample of course.

Are you a pickle kind of person?
Have you been bitten by the fermenting bug (pun intended)?

1 comment

  1. I do like fermenting but my cucumbers last year also didn't work well. I've been saving the gherkins from my plant and am off to the farmers market this morning to buy more. I'm going to make bread and butter (vinegar) pickles but I'll try these too, thanks.

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