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Lacto fermenting pickles?

Discussion in 'The Harvest: Recipes, Canning, Preserving' started by Rosalind, Aug 8, 2009.

  1. Aug 8, 2009
    Rosalind

    Rosalind Deeply Rooted

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    I would like to have pickles and sauerkraut that are actually crisp this year, so I'm researching various pickling methods. I have lots of cukes at the moment. If I screw up a bit, that's OK. I still have pickles from last year, because by December all the pickles have turned into dill-flavored mush and no one wants to eat them unless they are cut up in egg salad.

    I want to try lacto-fermentation, except I am a bit nervous about the concept. My kitchen has quite a lot of centuries-old dust, for all I know there's anthrax floating around, waiting for a pickle to land on and kill us all. I'd feel a bit better about it if there were starter cultures involved, and I read that you can put whey leftover from cheesemaking in there to get started. I make mozzarella, so whey starter is not a problem. Would yogurt or cultured buttermilk work too? They've got lactobacilli in them for sure.

    I tried to do sauerkraut last year with a bit of lacto-fermented sauerkraut from Whole Paycheck as a starter culture, but it didn't work too well. Never got very sour. Will try it again this year if I can keep the groundhog out of the cabbages, I think maybe my brine recipe was too strong or had the word "tbsp" where they meant "tsp".

    My grandmother the germophobe is no help. I asked her how she kept pickles crisp, and she said she didn't, she just let them go mushy and yelled at anyone who complained.

    Has anyone tried lacto-fermentation? How did it work out? Can you pack the stuff into jars when you're done and just sort of loosely cover it? I kinda need my bowls and crocks and whatnot for other stuff...
  2. Aug 8, 2009
    big brown horse

    big brown horse Garden Ornament

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    I love to lacto ferment! I learned how on the sister forum Sufficientself.com anyhoo...

    So far I have made pickles, sauerkraut, asperagus, cauliflower & carrots. I am also making kombucha tea at the moment.

    Quick summary: ETA: (USE NON IODIZED SALT, SEA SALT IS FINE AS LONG AS IT IS NON IODIZED)

    This is how I prepared my asperagus and dill pickles: small washed cucumbers pickle size, garlic cloves, dried dill and crushed pepper flakes. Pack the cukes or asperagus in a container, either glass or plastic and fill with a brine of salt and water. About 3 tbs of salt per quart. Add the herbs and spices mentioned above. Cover with a dish towel and put in a dark cabnit. (You can use whey from yogurt to speed the process, but I didn't.) It took about a week to two weeks for my pickles. They are delicious!! And crispy!! Put them into the fridge when they are done. Oh, they must remain submerged under the brine. You can use a baggie filled with water to hold them down if you don't pack them down.

    Sauerkraut the same way. Shread it up, mash it a bit to release some liquids and sprinkle salt all over it, one head = 3 tbsp of salt. I add enough water to just cover it and then add a plate over the top with a baggie filled with water to weigh it down. (I also add caraway seeds and a few garlic cloves.) It takes about 1-2 weeks. Dont worry, it will stink but that means it is working!
  3. Aug 8, 2009
    big brown horse

    big brown horse Garden Ornament

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    Come over to S.S. there is a whole thread dedicated to fermentation!

    Have fun!
  4. Aug 8, 2009
    Rosalind

    Rosalind Deeply Rooted

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    Did you poke holes in the cukes to get the brine into the middle? Or no?
  5. Aug 8, 2009
    big brown horse

    big brown horse Garden Ornament

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    No...nice and whole for me. Some folks slice their cukes, but I didn't. They are crispy and delicious! Best when chilled.
  6. Aug 9, 2009
    big brown horse

    big brown horse Garden Ornament

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    ONE IMPORTANT THING I FORGOT TO MENTION, USE NON IODIZED SALT!! (I USED SEA SALT TOO, OTHERS HAVE USED THAT SPECIAL SALT WITH MINERALS IN IT, JUST NOT IODIZED.)

    SORRY, I HOPE YOU READ THIS IN TIME!! :/

    REGULAR NON IODIZED SALT IS FINE.
  7. Aug 9, 2009
    big brown horse

    big brown horse Garden Ornament

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    BTW, DON'T WATER BATH CAN IT, IT WILL LAST UP TO 3 MONTHS IN THE FRIDGE. YOU CAN TRANSFER IT TO ANOTHER CONTAINER, AS LONG AS IT IS GLASS OR PLASTIC.

    WATER BATH CANNING KILLS THE HEALTHY BACTERIA.

    OK DONE PREACHING ABOUT SAUERKRAUT...I FORGOT I STARTED A GOOD THREAD HERE SOMEWHERE ON TEG ABOUT SAUERKRAUT. ONCE YOU DO IT, IT WILL BE SO EASY.

    I JUST BEGAN BEETS TODAY...I'LL LET YOU KNOW HOW THEY TURN OUT IN ABOUT A WEEK OR TWO. I JUST USED THE BRINE OF SALT AND WATER, NOTHING ELSE WITH THESE GUYS.

    ONCE YOU START, YOU WILL BEGIN TO LOOK AT PRODUCE IN A WHOLE DIFFERENT WAY!!!

    CAPS BUTTON ON FREEZE, SORRY...I'M NOT YELLING. :gig
  8. Aug 9, 2009
    Rosalind

    Rosalind Deeply Rooted

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    I didn't start yet, I was going to do it this afternoon. I have some fancy salt in different colors that I got as a Xmas gift, which I think is non-iodized, I have kosher pickling salt, I have pretzel salt. One of them ought to work, right?

    Definitely let me know how the beets turn out. I've got a bumper crop of those, too.
  9. Aug 9, 2009
    big brown horse

    big brown horse Garden Ornament

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    O.k. good!

    I just peeled my beets (pink fingers!!) and sliced them and they are currently dunked into a nice (non iodized) salt water brine. No other spices for them, I figured they have enough taste to stand on their own.

    Pickles' brine will get cloudy after the second day or so...don't worry. When they are done I put them in used yogurt containers in the fridge so I can re ferment another batch...so yummy!

    I am originally from the south whre we pickle everything. Fermenting makes everything taste like it was pickled, so why not? I am going to experiment with tons this summer. Next fermented jalapenos for my nachos...made with lacto fermented black beans! Then watermelon rinds...yep, they pickle them down there too!
  10. Aug 9, 2009
    Rosalind

    Rosalind Deeply Rooted

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    Oh boy!

    [​IMG]

    I can't wait to see what DH thinks about a cellar full of burping, stinky, fermenting jars and crocks...

    I put a couple teaspoons of whey from strained buttermilk in there for starter. My house is old, dusty, and full of dog sheddings at the moment, I was sorta worried about contamination.

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