Special Dish for the Week: Brine Fermented Dill Pickles

One of this week’s Special Dishes for the Week is the super healthy and super easy summer treat:

Brine Fermented Dill Pickles

Brine Fermented Dill Pickles

Brine Fermented Dill Pickles

Among the thrills of the downtown farmers market is the availability of fresh dill and small fresh cucumbers, perfectly sized for “pickling”—or to be more precise, for fermenting in brine.

The accolades of fermented foods are listed in the post on Fermented Beet Juice, praised primarily for their ability to boost immunity and aid in nutrient and mineral absorption.

Brine Fermented Dill Pickles Ingredients

Brine Fermented Dill Pickles Ingredients

The ingredients include:

  • 2L water, boiled and cooled
  • 1-1.5 tbsp sea salt or Himalayan salt
  • 1-2 bunches fresh dill
  • 2 cloves garlic per jar, peeled and halved
  • 3-4 lbs pickling pickles (small cucumbers), washed but not scrubbed or peeled—to maintain the needed starter bacteria

Also needed are several small or large glass jars (reused honey or peanut butter glass jars work great). I give the jars and their lids a bath in boiling water for a few minutes to reduce molds and other unwanted creatures that might compete with the desired lactic acid-forming bacteria that reside on the pickling pickles.

I layer about 2 halves of garlic cloves with about 2 springs of dill on the bottom of each jar. Then, I pack the small cucumbers vertically in the jars. (In taller jars, I lay horizontally a layer of 3 or so smaller cucumbers before packing the rest of the jar vertically.)

TIP: It is best if the pickles are packed rather tight (requiring some muscle power to fit them in), since they soften and give way a little as they ferment, possibly floating up above the brine level. While not desirable (the tip spoils this way), it is not a large problem, since the tips can be cut off before serving once they are sufficiently fermented.

I then pack another 2 halves of garlic and another spring or two of dill near the top of the jar, again preferably packing them tightly between the pickles, so that they also stay submerged below the brine level. Finally, I add the brine (water with dissolved salt) to each jar nearly to the top (entirely covering the pickles but allowing a small space for escaping gasses to collect).

I loosely cover the jars with their lids (to allow excess gasses from fermentation to escape), and let them stand on the counter for several days to begin the fermentation process.

Storage: After about a week or so, depending on how warm it is indoors and how quickly the brine begins to turn cloudy, I place the jars in the fridge, still keeping the lids loosely covering the jars.

Shelf life: The fermented pickles keep in the fridge for several months, possibly even years. The increasingly cloudy brine and growth layer on top of the brine are harmless even it possibly unsightly. The growth layer on top can be skimmed off, and more brine added, if needed, to keep the pickles entirely submerged.

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