As many people do this time of year, I’ve been canning up a storm in order to store all the currently available fresh produce for the winter. Ok, I’m lying. These pickles will be gone by October for sure (bloody mary anyone?) In reality, I just like to experiment in my kitchen with things I’ve never done before. Last year I dove into the realm of pickle making with great success. I pickled cucumbers, green beans, okra, and jalapenos. We had amazing bloody mary’s for months! (can you tell I love a bloody mary?) This year, I learned of fermented pickles after attending a blogger event hosted by Jenny of Vintage Sugar Cube. Austin from the San Diego Fermenters Club did a demonstration on how to make fermented pickles. In all honesty, I never heard of fermented pickles before. After tasting one, I knew I had to try it at home.
After turning my kitchen into a pickling laboratory for a day, I ended up with a batch of regular “pickled” pickles and a batch of fermented garlic pickles. To make the regular pickles, you boil vinegar, salt, and sugar, then pour the hot liquid into jars filled with cucumbers, dill, pickling spice and whatever other seasonings you choose. You can then “can” these by processing them in a boiling water bath, but I just stuck mine straight in the fridge because I knew I’d be eating them sooner than later. These were ready in 24 hours. For the fermented pickles, I filled a jar with cucumbers, dill, garlic, and a grape leaf (to keep ’em crunchy) then covered the contents with a brine made up of 2tsp salt for every 1 cup of water. I weighed down the contents with a measuring cup, wrapped it in a towel to keep the bugs out, then sat it on my counter for a week. Every couple of days I scraped the mold off the top (gross I know, but perfectly safe) and by day 7, I had delicious, garlicky pickles that I then moved to the fridge.
- Although the fermented pickles were easier in terms of preparation (neither were difficult) it was kind of a pain to have counter space taken up for a week seeing as our kitchen in miniature.
- After extensive taste testing (I ate most of both jars in one sitting) I definitely prefer the taste of the fermented pickles the best. I think the regular pickles have too much vinegar “bite” to them, which you’d think would be the point of pickles, but the fermented ones still have a kick, only its more mellow and smooth in flavor
- Hands down the regular pickles look the best. That milky white look of the fermented pickles is kind of off putting. Plus, wiping out mold was kind of gross.
Survey says….. I think I’ll be switching exclusively to fermented pickles from now on unless i’m canning for gifts. This experiment has definitely converted me! Anyone else want to weigh in on this? Which type of pickles do you prefer?
To learn how to make traditional pickled pickles, read THIS
To learn how to make fermented pickles, read THIS
I had a TON of cucumbers, zucchini and yellow squash this summer in my CSA, so I tried pickling for the first time ever. It turned out GREAT and was shockingly easy. I actually preferred the zucchini/squash because they didn’t soak up quite so much vinegar, so they weren’t as sour. I think that means I should try the fermented pickles! It sounds like the flavor difference would solve my slight complaint. Did it matter if you used sliced cucumbers or whole cucumbers (looked like your fermented were whole pickling cukes)? I have MORE cucumbers from my CSA this week. 🙂
No, I started doing the fermented pickles whole, but when I went to make the other ones I thought “what if I don’t want a whole pickle?” so I sliced them. I’m sure you can do it either way. I’m kind of newly obsessed with them. Let me know how you like em!
Stephanie, The Recipe Renovator says
Thanks for sharing your entire process. I made a batch of garlic dill fermented pickles after our meeting and agree, they are great! I didn’t get much mold but you’re right the “look” is a little off-putting. When I make sauerkraut it’s in a my crockpot (off), so you don’t really see the look of the brine.
Maybe I need to get some not clear jars….does that even exist? I’m onto kombucha batch #2 now thanks to you!
Nice comparison. I just started fermenting and am thrilled with it!
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that can help me. Regards! My best wishes, Julio.
Do they have to be stored in the refridge? How long do they last fermented?
When you are making them, they just sit out on your counter at room temperature. Once they’re ready you can store them in the fridge. They will last for months!
Oksana Dashawetz says
I’ve been doing fermented pickles for years. I add a piece of horseradish root to the jar and use either cherry leaves or horseradish leaves on top for the extra crunchiness. We grow horseradish in our garden, so we have both. I agree these fermented pickles are awesome.
The fermentation got super cloudy on you because you used salt with anti-caking compounds. Use pickling salt, or simply sea salt.
Also, USE WEIGHTS. There’s no call to go through the process of setting up a ferment only to let the veggies bob above the water line, growing all sorts of kahm yeast and mold. It’s such an easily avoidable problem, and your product will be safer and more delicious for it.
Also, weigh your salt, don’t measure it. Tare your jar, fill it with ingredients and water, then pour it out into bowl. Separate out the liquid and dissolve into it 4% salt by weight, then repack. I lost a batch of watermelon rind because I followed a blog with measurements, instead of trusting the math. It was inedibly salty, to the point it locked out even the good lactobacillus bacteria.