Traditionally, fermenting foods was done for food preparation and preservation. We know today that along with these benefits, the fermentation process allows for greater bioavailability of nutrients and provide probiotic benefits enhancing our digestive health. It’s a great time of year to take the plunge and begin fermenting at home. Fermented dill pickles are easy to prepare and a tasty way to introduce fermented foods in to your daily diet.
Thanks to Lorene Sauro for this recipe. You can find more great recipes on her site www.facebook.com/digestersdilemma.net
Lacto-Fermented Dill Pickles Using Apple Cider Vinegar As A Starter
1 litre Mason jar with lidCutting board and knife
Measuring cup and measuring spoons
Strainer or colander (for rinsing the cucumber)
Paper towel (for drying the cucumbers)
To Make the Pickles:
6-7 medium small cucumber (as many as will fit in the ajar standing)
2 cups spring water
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (with mother*)
1 tsp dill seeds
2 tbsp fresh dill
1-2 two large garlic cloves (cut into three pieces each) – optional
1/8-1/4 tsp black tea leaves
Chili flakes (optional)
Wash and dry the cucumbers. Cut off both ends of the cucumbers. Place the cucumbers into the Mason jar, standing them up. Wedge them in there. Mix the sea salt and spring water together to make the brine. Let the salt dissolve. Pour the brine in the jar and cover most of the pickles. Add the apple cider vinegar and if this does not cover the pickles then add more water until the pickles are covered. Leave one inch space at the top of the jar. Add the dill, garlic (if using), tea and chili flakes (if using). Place the lid on tightly and let the cucumber ferment for at least 5 days. Leaving it for two weeks will make it more flavourful. Try them at this point and decide if you want to ferment them longer. For the first three -five days, turn the jar upside down at least once a day to keep the cucumbers covered in brine if they have floated to the top. Once gas builds up inside, this is no longer necessary.
When the pickles have the taste and texture that you like, put them in the fridge to slow down the fermentation process and they will keep for several months.
Tip # 1: The tannins in the tea helps keep the pickles crunchy
Tip # 2: If leaving the cucumber whole, make 3-4 little cuts in the skin with a knife as this will help the flavours absorb into the pickle
*What does “with mother” mean? It refers to the residue of the fermented apple that real apple cider vinegar will have. It usually appears as a brown sludge at the bottom of the bottle. You may also see brown bit when as you use the vinegar.