- • 8 -10 pickling cucumbers (small to medium size)
- • 1 jar (volume approx 1 litre)
- • 2 tablespoons unrefined salt
- • 4 or 5 radish leaves
- • 4 tablespoons fresh dill (flowers or seed heads are best but seeds or greens are fine)
- • 2 tablespoons mustard seeds
- • 2 garlic cloves, halved in cross-sections
- • Chopped carrots (enough to fill the space in the jar that the cucumbers cannot)
- • Enough spring water to fill the jar (after all ingredients have been added)
- Sterilize the jar (boil a large saucepan of water and add the glass jar and lids for ten minutes - remove carefully!
- Soak the cucumbers in water for ten minutes.
- Remove cucumbers from water and place vertically in your sterilised jar.
- Add carrots (wedge them in).
- Add salt, garlic and mustard seeds.
- Add the water (about 2 fingers thickness from the top).
- Stuff the dill and radish leaves in (in the places the carrots haven’t filled!)
- Seal the jar.
- Leave at ambient temperatures for about 4 – 5 days then move to the fridge. After four days they will be ready to eat, but will continue to improve over the next few weeks as the fermentation continues. (Remember to keep them refrigerated).
- Moving the jar to the fridge slows down the fermentation process but will keep the healthy bacteria created alive. The pickles will last a few months in the fridge.
You can experiment with the brine solution strength (the salt and water mixture), depending on your palette. A general rule of thumb for salting is to use more salt to slow the microorganism action in summer heat, less salt in winter when microbial action slows. But don’t be too stressed – there will always be fermentation disasters, but perseverance will see you nail a recipe that is perfect for your conditions.
It is good practice to dissolve the salt in the water before you get started. Although I have never run into any trouble by just placing the salt, garlic and mustard seeds in the bottom of the jar I have heard it can make the brine weaker and perhaps run into a lower quality pickle. Another example of continuous learning and experimenting with ferments!
Cucumbers are extremely watery therefore subject to fast decomposition. To keep the pickles crunchy add grape leaves, radish leaves (as above) or a tea bag (tannin rich plant material).
Serve pickles with cold meats (prosciutto, salamis) and cheeses. I like to throw them sliced into homemade cheese and mustard hamburgers. Lisa slices them thinly and just adds them to the kids plate. Sometimes they go for it, other times not. Kids…