Summer brings a bounty of garden-fresh produce, and one of the best ways to enjoy and preserve it is by pickling some of it.
Here are four easy pickle recipes that, if made with vinegar, can be ready to eat almost right after making them—speed pickles!
Or, for probiotic bounty and digestive health, you can leave out the vinegar and make these pickles traditionally by fermenting them in brine—in which case they will be ready in a week or two.
You will need one 32-ounce (1 quart) canning jar and three 16 ounce canning jars for these recipes, or you can adjust the recipes for larger or smaller jars.
If you are going to ferment these pickles in brine, a special airlock lid for your wide-mouth canning jar is extremely helpful.
An airlock lid releases excess carbon dioxide from the jar automatically without needing to regularly “burp” the lid by hand. It keeps all oxygen out which helps create the highest amount of healthy gut bacteria (probiotics) possible in your ferment, and prevents mold. (where to airlock jar lids online)
Small Footprint Sour Pickles
Two ways to make crisp, delicious cucumber pickles.
- 1-2 lbs. cucumbers either sliced into 1/4" rounds, or use small, whole gherkin type (I like to use huge, sliced Armenian cucumbers for this one)
- 2 cups purified water
- 1 Tbsp. mustard seed
- 2 Tbsp. herbes de Provence
- 1 tsp. black peppercorns
- 1 tsp. bay leaves shredded
- 1 Tbsp. coriander seed
- 1/2 tsp. dried crushed red pepper
- 1/2 tsp. whole cloves
- 2 Tbsp. sea salt
- 1 head fresh dill or 2 Tbsp. dried dill
- 1 full bulb garlic peeled
- 2 fresh grape leaves (or cherry, oak or horseradish leaves, if available)
- 1 cup raw apple cider vinegar (optional for speed pickles. Do not use if fermenting.)
- Rinse cucumbers, and if large, slice them into 1/4" thick slices. If small, leave them whole.
- Dissolve sea salt in water to create a brine solution. Stir until salt is dissolved. Add vinegar, only if making speed pickles.
- In a clean, sterile 1 quart jar, place all spices, dill and garlic.
- Add cucumber slices or whole, small cucumbers.
- Pour brine over the cucumbers until jar is almost full. Add more water if necessary. Leave about an inch of room at the top.
- Lay grape (or oak, cherry, etc.) leaves over the top of the mixture to keep the cucumbers submerged under the liquid. The tannins in the leaves help keep the cucumbers crisp.
- Close the jar and leave on your counter for 3-7 days (or longer if you prefer) until naturally pickled by fermentation. Unless you are using an airlock lid, loosen the jar lid a little every two days to let built-up carbon dioxide out.
- Or, if using vinegar for speed pickles, refrigerate for about an hour until chilled.
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Photo credit: Howard Lee Puckett – Herb Companion