Real Recipes From Real Home Cooks ®

cucumber essentials: way better fermented pickles

Recipe by
Andy Anderson !
Wichita, KS

I have posted two or more recipes on the making of pickles, I have talked about hot brine pickles, refrigerator pickles; even bread-and-butter pickles. However, I have saved the best for last… At least in my opinion. Crispy, tangy, with the perfect amount of spice and heat. So, you ready… Let’s get into the kitchen.

yield serving(s)
prep time 30 Min
method No-Cook or Other

Ingredients For cucumber essentials: way better fermented pickles

  • small cucumbers, enough to fill your fermenting jar
  • 1 stalk
    lemon grass, halved lengthwise
  • 3 - 4
    grape leaves, more on this later
  • 1 qt
    water, filtered, if possible
  • 3 Tbsp
    sea salt, fine grind
  • 1 lg
    head garlic, cloves, peeled, and smashed
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp
    dill seeds
  • 1 Tbsp
    coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp
  • 1/2 tsp
    fennel seed
  • 1/2 tsp
    whole yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 pinch
    red pepper flakes

How To Make cucumber essentials: way better fermented pickles

  • 1
  • 2
    The cucumber bloom. Before doing any type of pickles, always cut off the “bloom.” That is where the cucumber was attached to the plant. It contains enzymes that can cause your pickles to soften. And we HATE it when we have a soft pickle.
  • 3
    What is up with the grape leaves? The grape leaves supply a very important element to pickle making. They are called tannins and they help to keep the pickles nice and crunchy.
  • 4
    How much brine do I need? The amount of brine will be determined by the size of your fermenting jar and the number of pickles it contains. If, for example, you are using a medium-sized mason jar, you could easily halve the brine recipe.
  • 5
    Over the days, as the pickles ferment, the clear brine liquid will begin to get cloudy. No worries, this is supposed to happen. If it did not occur, you would not have “fermented" pickles.
  • 6
    What is this white stuff on the surface of the brine? If you notice a film of white scum on the surface of the brine, just skim it off as often as you can. It is just yeast, and it does not affect the production process. However, it can alter the taste of the pickles if you do not remove it.
  • 7
    Sea Salt Sea salt contains minerals, like calcium and magnesium (that are missing in common table salt), and help to reinforce the cell walls during fermentation, keeping them crispy.
  • 8
    Gather your ingredients (mise en place).
  • 9
    Clean off the cucumbers and allow them to soak in a cold-water bath for 2 – 3 hours.
  • 10
    This helps to hydrate them; especially if they are store bought, and helps in the crisping process.
  • 11
    Completely clean your fermenting vessel. I usually stick it in some boiling water.
  • 12
    While the cucumbers are taking a bath, add the salt to the water and stir until completely dissolved.
  • 13
    To help in dissolving the salt, the water can be slightly warm, but it does not have to be hot. I usually use room temperature water.
  • 14
    Add the remaining ingredients (except the grape leaves and lemon grass) to the fermenting jar.
  • 15
    Throw in the pickles, and the lemon grass.
  • 16
    Add the brining water, and then place the grape leaves on top.
  • 17
    It is important that you keep all the elements below the surface of the brine, because exposed elements have a tendency to mold. I am using a glass weight designed for this purpose; however, I have used small stones that I have boiled and placed on top.
  • 18
    Cover with some cheesecloth, stick it somewhere out of the way, and wait... Tick, Tick, Tick.
  • 19
    It will probably take 1 – 3 weeks for them to ferment properly.
  • 20
    After about a week, uncover and take a taste; if they are ready, discard the grape leaves, cover with a real lid, then put in the fridge and enjoy. If they are not to your liking, cover, wait a day or two, and taste again. They are ready, when you say they are ready.
  • 21
  • So yummy
    They are pickles, use just like any other pickle… Except these are way better.
  • Stud Muffin
    Keep the faith, and keep cooking.