REAL FOOD 101: How to Make Lacto-Fermented Pickles

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Lacto-Fermented Pickles | OUR NOURISHING ROOTS #pickles #cultured #ferments #realfoodSalty, savory, crunchy, cool.  I have loved pickles since I was a child.  Always.  We always bought the store pickles made with vinegar and yellow #5, and they tasted like the best thing evar! In fact, when my mom The Birthday Fairy would come every fall to my room to leave a trail of goodies, zesty dills were always in the mix.  I would eat several that day, and then one or two every day subsequent until the jar was gone and I would drink all the pickle juice.Does it sound like someone’s body was craving real pickles?  The kind we ate for thousands of years, traditionally?  Beautiful lacto-fermented cucumbers brined with whey and real salt and teeming with probiotics?  I think so, too.Our bodies are smart.  Do I know for sure what my body was craving for all those childhood years as I consumed jar after jar of zesty dills?  Not really.  But I do know that the more I listen to and trust my body, the better I tend to feel. So looking back now, and knowing what I do about nutrition, here is my best guess as to what was happening as I craved the commercial version of real pickles:
  1. Sea salt: Salt is a vital part of traditional food preparation.  It was used in curing meats, vegetables, fruits, and other foods in season.  When I craved jars of pickles, I was probably craving real sea salt because I grew up not only with iodized salt but not enough salt.  Did you know that a low salt diet is actually bad for your health? . And that when you read Diet Recovery and start following it, one of the major points is on our cells and our salt intake?  After all, at the cellular level, we are water, salt, and sugar.  So drinking water isn’t necessarily the best idea unless you’re thirsty.  Instead, try drinking watered down juice with a pinch of salt.  That will keep your cells happy and balanced! .
  2. Lacto-fermentation: Lacto-fermentation is a process that uses whey and salt to keep “bad” bacteria at bay while good bacteria can flourish.  This process is what I use in many recipes in Real Food 101, from sauerkraut to water kefir.  Lacto-fermentation is also thoroughly explored in Jenny’s Get Cultured!online class.  Both are worth your time.  Especially since this lost art is something our bodies are crying out for. .
  3. Vitamin content: When a lacto-fermentation process takes place, it is said that the vitamin content increases.  For example, I have heard that sailors used to take sauerkraut (fermented cabbage and salt) on long journeys to avoid scurvy from too little vitamin C in their diets. . And I have also read that lacto-fermented foods are rich in vitamin K2.  They don’t have as much as say, butter oil or natto, but they are still a good source.  And we can use all the vitamin K2 we can get!  You can find out more information on lacto-fermenting and the nutritional aspects in this class.

Equipment Needed:

  • good quality knife
  • quart or half-gallon glass mason jars (if you are doubling the recipe and/or have really tall cucumbers and need to double the recipe!)
  • storage, screw-top lids
  • time!

Simple Dill Pickles

4-5 cucumbers, or several gherkins, preferably organic
1 tablespoon whey (how to make whey)
1 tablespoon sea salt (get unrefined sea salt here)
1 teaspoon mustard seeds (get organic spices here)
1-2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped (OR 1 teaspoon dried dill)
filtered water (get water filters here)

  1. In a clean jar (you can boil your jar first if you want to), pack the cucumbers or gherkins in until filled but with an inch remaining at the top of the jar.  These cucumbers were taller than usual, so I used a half gallon jar.
  2. Spoon the whey, sea salt, and mustard seeds over the top of the cucumbers, and cram the dill down the sides of the jar.
  3. Pour the filtered water over the cucumbers until it fills the jar with a half and inch to spare on top.  Screw on the lid tightly and gently shake to combine the salt and the water.
  4. Set on the counter at room temperature for 3-7 days, tasting as the time goes by until your brine and pickles taste just as you’d like them.
  5. When you want to stop the fermentation process, put the jars in the fridge.

Garlic Dill Pickles

4-5 cucumbers, or several gherkins, preferably organic
1 tablespoon whey (get to make whey)
1 tablespoon sea salt (get unrefined sea salt here)
1 teaspoon mustard seeds (get organic spices here)
1-2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped (OR 1 teaspoon dried dill)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and whole filtered water (get water filters here)

  1. In a clean jar (you can boil your jar first if you want to), pack the cucumbers or gherkins in until filled but with an inch remaining at the top of the jar.
  2. Spoon the whey, sea salt, and mustard seeds over the top of the cucumbers, and cram the dill and garlic cloves down the sides of the jar.
  3. Pour the filtered water over the cucumbers until it fills the jar with a half and inch to spare on top.  Screw on the lid tightly and gently shake to combine the salt and the water.
  4. Set on the counter at room temperature for 3-7 days, tasting as the time goes by until your brine and pickles taste just as you’d like them.
  5. When you want to stop the fermentation process, put the jars in the fridge.

When they are done, then look a little something like this.  And they taste less like cucumbers and more like yummy yummy pickles!

Lacto-Fermented Pickles | OUR NOURISHING ROOTS #lactofermented #ferments #cultured #diy #fourthofjuly

 

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