Tuesday, July 15, 2008

pickled cucumber slices

While I love the tangy crunch of the traditional vinegar pickles, I also love the mellow flavor of lacto-fermented cucumbers. They have far less acid than those pickled in vinegar, and go well with all types of dishes and cool salads.

pickled cucumber slices

1 large hot house cucumber, or more if cucumbers are small
1/2 Tbsp mustard seeds
2-3 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
3 garlic scapes, chopped - optional
1 Tbsp sea salt
4 Tbsp whey (if you don't have whey, use 1 additional Tbsp sea salt)
1-2 cups filtered water
Clean quart sized wide mouth mason jar with lid

Wash your cucumber and slice into 1/4 inch slices. Put the slices into a mason jar - arrange so they are pretty tight. Add a bit of the dill and garlic scapes as you put in each layer of the cucumbers.

Combine the remaining ingredients and pour over the cucumbers - add more water if you need, to cover. The top of the liquid should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar. Press down your cucumbers if they have a lot of space or are popping out of the top of the liquid.

Screw on the lid tightly, and keep at room temperature for 2 days (not in direct sun, not extremely hot). Transfer to the refrigerator and chill before eating. Should keep in the fridge for a month.

more on lacto-fermentation::

"A traditional method of food preservation is lacto-fermentation. The best part about lacto-fermentation is two-fold. First, it is the easiest and most low-tech way to preserve food. No canning equipment or freezers are needed. Secondly, lacto-fermented foods are believed to be extremely healthy for a number of reasons. The proliferation of beneficial bacteria from the fermentation aids digestion and contributes to thriving intestinal flora.

Fresh healthy vegetables naturally bear lactic-acid-producing bacteria (lactobacilli) on their surfaces. When the produce is washed and mixed with non-iodized salt, the salt draws out the juices, inhibits spoilage organisms, and regulated the fermentation process. Sealed and sitting at room temperature (65-80) gets this process going.

Over the next several days, the lactobacilli begin breaking down sugars in the vegetables and producing lactic acid, along with small amounts of carbon dioxide, benzoic acid, and other substances. Lactic acid is an excellent preservative, and it gives traditionally pickled vegetables their characteristic aroma and taste.

When the pickles are done fermenting, they are placed in cold storage to stop the fermentation. In cold storage, raw, lacto-fermented pickles will last for many months."

The French traditionally make lacto-termented cucumbers - called cornichons.


Dawn said...

I think I could do this! I've never canned anything in my life but my daughter has been asking to make pickles-this looks a little less intimidating to me. Thanks for the recipe.

denise said...

It is really easy - and they are tasty! A bit more mild than the stronger dill in vinegar flavor. :)

Lisa Anne said...

We love fermenting stuff around here, one quick thing we do is use a Japanese pickle press. Very quick and easy. We pickle everything!

Arp said...

Mmm - that looks really good. Do you know if it would work for beets?