Fermentation Goodness


For the past few months I have been enjoying these fermented pickles with anything that sounds remotely good.  On a hamburger (of course), with meatloaf, on a peanut butter sandwich, etc.  They have a bit of a different flavor than dill pickles made with vinegar, but after you are accustomed to them it really grows on you.  Plus, if you eat them with a meat it helps in your digestion of said food.  I’m always amazed when I have them with a burger because I don’t get that ‘lead in the stomach’ feeling after eating.

I made these back at the end of the summer and they are still tasty, I wasn’t sure how long they would keep (because you store them in the fridge), so I only made four jars worth, but I think this may be the only kind I make this next year.  🙂

Here is the recipe from Nourishing Traditions:

Pickled Cucumbers

  • 4-5 pickling cucumbers or 15-20 gherkins
  • 1 Tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh dill, snipped
  • 1 Tablespoon sea salt
  • 4 Tablespoons whey (or an additional 1 Tablespoon salt)
  • 1 cup filtered water

Wash cucumbers well and place in a quart-sized, wide-mouth mason jar.  Combine remaining ingredients and pour over cucumbers, adding more water if necessary to cover the cucumbers.  The top of the liquid should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar.  Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 3 days before transferring to cold storage.

Variation: Pickled Cucumber Slices

Wash cucumbers well and slice at 1/4 inch intervals.  Proceed with recipe.  Pickles will be ready for cold storage after about 2 days at room temperature.

Do you have any fermented foods that you make and enjoy?





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About Erin Phelan

Born and raised in western Michigan, Erin came to Polyface first as an intern in the summer of 2009. While here she met and got to know Grady Phelan, an apprentice at the time. The next spring they were married and after a couple years in Oklahoma they are back, working as sub-contractors for Polyface. Erin keeps herself busy with the jobs of a wife and mother, as well as helping with the animals, gardening, sewing, cooking, baking, knitting and reading.
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16 Responses to Fermentation Goodness

  1. I have really become a fan of fermented foods! Outside of cucumber pickles (and I WILL try this recipe, thank you!), I recently made a quick kimchi from bok choi (thanks to cHow Divine blog) and sriracha as way of using all the leftover hot peppers from last year. I failed at sauerkraut, but will try again this year and likely will make more and different kimchi this year. And your cucumber pickles! Thank you!

  2. kerry says:

    this is my fav recipe, i love my kraut but these pickles are amazing

  3. Malenita says:

    Her fermented salsa and sauerkraut recipes have lasted in the fridge as long as a year and still tasted absolutely delicious. The pickles start to soften after awhile, but if you add three or four grape leaves to each jar, they stay crisp longer.

    • Erin Phelan says:

      Thanks for the grape leaf tip. I noticed the softness and even though they still taste good I would like them to stay crispy longer.

  4. Diana says:

    I tried fermented pickles last year using whey obtained by pouring off the top liquid of organic, store-bought yogurt. They liquid stayed cloudy and some gunky slimy stuff came on top. And they tasted “off.” So sad, because I love me some fermented pickles! Not sure what went wrong there, care to enlighten me? Also, about the filtered water. We have nice, clean well water. Is the filtering part for city folk who have chlorine in their water? Do I have to filter mine to make delicious pickles? Thank you.

    • Erin Phelan says:

      Hmm, well, you might try straining the yogurt through cheese cloth(this is how I make whey and cream cheese), although mine is somewhat cloudy too. I wasn’t sure about the taste at first, but read somewhere that if fermented products “go bad” you will “know”, so I just tried them and realized they were fine. On the filtered water, I’m quite sure it applies to those in the city with chlorinated water. I used our well water and haven’t noticed any problems. Hope this helps!

  5. Heather B says:

    Do you think adding garlic to the pickle recipe would be ok, I love garlic dill pickles, I have never fermented anything before, but I want to try this year.

    • Erin Phelan says:

      I think adding garlic would be fine. I really wanted to add it to mine, but have learned to test recipes following the directions first, to get the idea, and then go back later and add/tweak to my preferences.

  6. Heather Donald says:

    I have some fermented pickles in my fridge from October that are still delicious!! I’m from NY (where that type of pickle is common) and I now live in WA (where it is uncommon) so I call them NYstyle pickles. I just put up a batch of yogurt and I have a couple of jars of kraut on the counter (cabbage, kale, carrots, radishes, onions, garlic and Hawaiian salt). Fermenting is fun!!

  7. It’s so great to see a good pickle recipe without sugar! These look wonderful, and I can’t wait to try them.

  8. I have been thinking about expanding my fermented foods repitoire, so thank you! I did the NT sauerkraut and I think I must have done it wrong (I think it didn’t have enough liquid to work well), so hopefully I will have better luck with pickles (which I will try!). Did you use whey? Did you use homemade whey from making cheese or something else? Thanks for the recipe!

    • Erin Phelan says:

      I also tried the sauerkraut recipe and didn’t use enough liquid, hoping to try again soon. Yes, I used whey from straining yogurt. This gives you cream cheese and whey, so good!

    • Hi Daisyglitters. With regard to your “not enough water comment: I’ve made a fair amount of kraut in my day, and have never had a problem with not enough water. I always massage my cabbage with the salt. I do this by putting the bowl of cabbage on the floor, or some other firm surface (a countertop), then pushing down with both fists as well as taking the cabbage into my hands and squeezing it. Having the bowl on the floor allows me to put my bodyweight into the pushing down motion, really squeezing the cabbage. The massaging action (along with the salt) draws loads of water out of the cabbage. My problem is almost always too much water! I hope this helps : )

  9. Sheri says:

    Any ideas for how to keep the cucumbers under the water in the jar? My trouble is that the cucumbers always float up after a while and then don’t ferment properly and end up yucky on top and I think moldy… I can’t seem to keep them down no matter how tight I mash them in

    • Erin Phelan says:

      Hmm, I think I had the same problem, I haven’t made any lately, and just took the top ones off or pushed them down into the brine after they sat in the fridge. They shouldn’t be moldy although they may look like they are. It also might work better not to put as many in the jar and then they have room to expand. Hope these ideas help.