Farmer Pete gave us a LOT of extra small cucumbers in this week’s CSA, and I wanted to make pickles!
I grew cornichons for this purpose this year, but had quite a bit of trouble in harvesting them. We had about six plants growing up a trellis, and I needed to check it every day. I confess I forgot a number of days, but even so, it was difficult to see the small cucumbers that were ready for picking. Then I would turn my back on them and they would turn into giant things that looked more like melons than baby gherkins. When I was able to harvest them, it was only about a dozen at a time, so never enough for a pickling project, unfortunately.
Tina came over to help me make pickles from Farmer Pete’s cucumbers. I knew I didn’t want to can these pickles; I had a lot, but not enough to warrant getting out the water bath canner. I was inspired by the local sauerkraut we’d had on my birthday, so I looked for some lacto-fermented pickle recipes, and found this one:
(You have to scroll down to see the recipe for sour pickles.) I had used this website before for other recipes, and decided to try it out.
Tina helped me jam the cucumbers in two half-gallon canning jars. We also added some pickling spices, including dill weed, celery seed, mustard seed, peppercorns, and garlic. Then I mad the brine (5-6 Tbsp salt per half gallon of water), poured it over them, covered the jars (not tightly so that they wouldn’t explode) and left them to sit on the counter.
I admit that I freaked out a few days later when the water turned cloudy, but the website reassured me that this was normal. A week later, we tried one.
It tastes like “regular” pickles, but even better. And lacto-fermentation is good for your gut, too.
After about a week, we moved them into the fridge, where they continue to ferment, but at a much slower rate. We like to eat them as an appetizer with a bit of delicious cheese or almonds.