You can make pickles from any fresh vegetable, although some hold up better than others. Cucumber pickles are classic, but my personal favorites are beets, carrots, green beans and yellow beans! I also like pickled purlsane and pickled garlic. I like to use young, tender vegetables (small carrots, small cucumbers, etc.) but you can use larger vegetables and cut them into a good size. These pickles are delicious and as easy to make. Once you have them made they are a great, healthy addition to any meal or picnic.
To Prepare a Brine:
2 cups of filtered water
1 Tbs. unrefined salt (this can be a mineral salt, sea salt or kosher salt, just don’t use iodized salt!)
1 Tbs. whey or brine from previously made pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi or raw apple cider vinegar (this step is optional – these ingredients serve as a culture starter, but fermentation will occur whether added or not – I usually only do this when I have left over brine from particularly delicious pickles or kraut!)
To Prepare/Make the Pickles:
1. collect the ingredients for your ferment
2. wash (and cut if necessary) all fresh ingredients
3. pack ingredients (vegetables and herbs) into a clean jar
1. make a brine
2. pour the brine into the jar or crock
3. make sure all ingredients are covered
Cover and Check:
1. cover opening with a clean towel or lid
2. let sit in a warm, temperature controlled environment
3. check often, add or remove brine as needed
One of the bi-products of fermentation is carbon dioxide, when you ferment something with the lid on the carbon dioxide will build up inside the jar as it does in a carbonated beverage. If you ferment your pickles in a jar with a lid you will have to open the jar lid every day or so for the first few days and release the carbonation that has build up. Some of the liquid brine may bubble over and spill out, so open it over the sink. Once vigorous fermentation has subsided (usually after the first week) you may need to add more brine to cover the vegetable material.
Depending on the temperature of the environment, lacto-fermented pickles will take anywhere from 1 – 4 weeks. When your pickles reach a flavor and texture that you like (they will become softer and more sour the longer they ferment) you can store them in the refrigerator. This will slow down the fermentation process and keep them stable. These pickles will last for 4 – 6 months in the refrigerator.