Recipe: Lacto-Fermented Garlic-Dill Pickles

July 14, 2013 · 21 comments

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What to do with all those cucumbers coming in? Make pickles! Pickles are easy to do at home and everyone loves them! Made the traditional way, by lacto-fermentation, they are a healthful addition to any meal. Cultured pickles are much better than the store bought pickles made in vinegar. They provide important probiotics, enzymes and nutrients to help with digestion.

Before refrigeration was invented lacto-fermentation was the method used to preserve food. Humans reaped the benefits of this method by eating these foods and hosting the good bacteria. Lactic acid is a natural preservative that inhibits putrefying bacteria. Lactobacilli reside on the surface of vegetables and fruits and will convert the sugars and starches in these foods into lactic acid.

Eating these naturally preserved foods aids the human digestive system in many ways. First and foremost, we are able to maintain large populations of beneficial bacteria in our gut simply by eating cultured foods. Most people who do this, will not require a probiotic supplement.

Beneficial Bacteria Live Symbiotically With Us

These bacteria form the mucosal layer of the human digestive tract. Most of the bacteria reside in the colon. However, they do live in all the other parts of the digestive tract, although in lower numbers. There are literally trillions of cells of bacteria, fungi and yeast living in a balanced harmonic state in a healthy individual. There are actually more gut microflora in our intestines than there are cells in our bodies. That’s a lot! And they are very important to our health.

Read more about how the bacteria in your gut helps you.

Here are links to other cultured foods with videos!

Before refrigeration was invented lacto-fermentation was the method used to preserve food. Humans reaped the benefits of this method by eating these foods and hosting the good bacteria. Lactic acid is a natural preservative that inhibits putrefying bacteria. Lactobacilli reside on the surface of vegetables and fruits and will convert the sugars and starches in these foods into lactic acid. Eating these naturally preserved foods aids the human digestive system in many ways. First and foremost, we are able to maintain large populations of beneficial bacteria in our gut simply by eating cultured foods. Most people who do this, will not require a probiotic supplement.

Beneficial Bacteria Live Symbiotically With Us

These bacteria form the mucosal layer of the human digestive tract. Most of the bacteria reside in the colon, but they do live in all the other parts of the digestive tract, although in lower numbers. There are literally trillions of cells of bacteria, fungi and yeast living in a balanced harmonic state in a healthy individual. There are actually more gut microflora in our intestines than there are cells in our bodies. That’s a lot! And they are very important to our health.

– See more at: http://realfoodforager.com/8-reasons-to-add-fermented-foods-to-your-diet/#sthash.BozYhRFK.dpuf

Garlic-Dill Pickles

Ingredients

3 pounds of small pickling cucumbers (organic, home grown is best)
1 head garlic peeled and crushed
1 bunch fresh dill
5 medium oak leaves (this helps keep them crisp)
1 Tbsp mustard seed
2 Tbsp sea salt (where to buy salt and spices)
Several bay leaves
Red pepper flakes (optional)
1 cup water with 1 packet culture starter (where to buy)
Water to fill the jar leaving 1 -2 inches head space

Equipment

Instructions

  1. Wash all the fresh herbs, the cucumbers and the oak leaves
  2. Add half of the oak leaves, herbs and spices to the bottom of the jar
  3. Add the cucumbers setting them up vertically so that they fit tightly
  4. Add the rest of the herbs and spices
  5. Add the remaining cucumbers and again set them up vertically
  6. Add the salt and the culture starter to the water, mix and pour over cucumbers
  7. Add more water and pure over cucumbers
  8. Add enough water to cover everything and leave 1 -2 inches headspace
  9. Assemble the lid with the airlock if you have one
  10. Place a small plate or lid inside and fill with water to weigh down the cukes
  11. Cover with the lid
  12. Label and place in your fermenting cabinet for 5 – 14 days — some folks like them lightly fermented — others, like myself like them brewed longer so keep an eye on them and ferment to taste
  13. You may taste the cukes or just observe the color to see if they are finished to your liking
  14. When done, place in different jar in the refrigerator and use your fermenting jar again!

Tips for getting crispy pickles:

  • Soak the cucumbers in a bowl of water with ice cubes for 30 minutes before putting them in the culture medium
  • Use oak leaves or grape leaves in the fermenting jar — the tanins help keep them crisp

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 2 weeks to culture
Easy

Shared at: My Meatless Monday, Melt in Mouth Monday, Meatless Monday, Barnyard Hop, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tasteful Tuesday, Hearth & Soul Hop, Traditional Tuesday, Mommy Club, Real Food Wednesday, Allergy Free Wednesday, Healthy 2Day, Wildcrafting Wednesday, Cultured Palate, Thank Your Body Thursday, Foodie Friday, Foodie Friday

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 laura July 15, 2013 at 1:01 am

LOVE LOVE LOVE lacto fermentation! thanks for the link up!

Reply

2 Heather Mayfield July 16, 2013 at 12:33 am

How look do these keep once they are lacto fermented?

Reply

3 Jill July 16, 2013 at 9:51 am

Hi Heather,
They can keep for months in the refrigerator.

Reply

4 Chloe Chase July 16, 2013 at 11:28 am

I’m just beginning to get up to speed on the importance of fermented food for gut and overall health. This blog is a great resources. Thanks.

Reply

5 Leah G July 17, 2013 at 10:50 am

My issue is not making the pickles but where on earth do I store them. I have GALLONS and Gallons right now and out of space. has anyone left these on the shelf in say a root cellar and had them be ok. I know they will continue to ferment but isnt that how it used to be? big barrels of pickles at the store.

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6 Cindy (Vegetarian Mamma) July 18, 2013 at 10:32 pm

YUM YUM and YUM these look and sound seriously good! Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! :)

Hope your week is great!

Cindy from vegetarianmamma.com

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7 Diane Balch July 20, 2013 at 7:16 pm

Thank you so much for sharing these pickles on foodie friday. and your knowledge of good bacteria. I have been eating more fermented products and my digestion and overall health has improved greatly.

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8 Mav July 23, 2013 at 9:46 am

Sounds like the ones my grandpa made! Can’t wait to try them.

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9 jodi stewart July 24, 2013 at 6:55 am

Very cool post! I’ve always wondered what lacto-fermented meant and you did a great job explaining it. I’m pinning this for later. Thanks!

Reply

10 Shelley August 15, 2013 at 10:36 pm

I’ve been making fermented pickles lately and some of my jars have gotten moldy. Can you tell me why? Can I still eat the ones underneath, or should they be tossed?

Reply

11 Grace Filkins August 22, 2013 at 9:38 am

I have a jar very similar to this, however their is no rubber gasket and is just the plastic lid. Does this keep out enough oxygen or do I still need a special pickle jar?

Reply

12 Jill August 22, 2013 at 11:27 am

Hi Grace,
I know people who use ball jars with and without the rubber gasket so I would expect it to work.

Reply

13 gail September 12, 2013 at 9:51 pm

Re use of the oak leaf– I’ve read that it is because of the tannin in the leaves.. just wondering if tea leaves would do the same thing.. they contain significant amounts of tannin as well don’t they.

Reply

14 Jill September 12, 2013 at 10:03 pm

Hi Gail,
Yes, it is due to the tannins. I have not heard of using tea leaves but I’m sure you could try it.

Reply

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