These garlic pickles are a great introduction to fermentation. They’re a familiar flavor, and you can use the brine to marinate chicken breasts for my fan-favorite Gluten, Grain, and Garbage-Free Chick-fil-A Nuggets recipe (which is nearly seven years old – yowza!).
But really, this recipe is just the start of a beautiful relationship with fermented foods. In addition to those you can find in my books, I have a few on the blog. Here are some other fermented or pickled recipes if you’re ready to try out something new:
One last note – it’s important to seek out organic (or fresh from the farmer’s market) cucumbers for this recipe, because you want that natural Lactobacillus bacteria that forms on its skin to kickstart the fermentation process. Don’t have access to organic cucumbers? Just add a spoonful of that liquid that forms at the top of yogurt (aka whey) to your brine during step #1.
Garlic Dill Pickles (Gluten-free, Primal, Paleo, Keto, Vegetarian, Vegan)
1 quart filtered water
2 ½ tbsp salt
3 stalks fresh dill
6 cloves garlic, crushed
¼ tsp mustard seeds
¼ tsp black peppercorns
2 or 3 grape leaves
2 lbs fresh organic kirby cucumbers, rinsed and sliced in half or wedges lengthwise
1 large scrubbed, boiled rock for weight (or fermentation weights)
1. Combine the water and salt; stir to combine. Line the bottom of a large jar with the dill, garlic, mustard seeds, peppercorns, and grape leaves. Pack the cucumbers into the jar then pour in the brine until nearly full. Cover the cucumbers with a plate and weigh it down with a rock to keep them submerged under liquid.
2. Ferment at room temperature for 4 to 10 days, skimming any accumulated scum from the surface of the liquid; as long as the vegetables stays under the brine, you don’t need to worry about contamination. Letting the pickles ferment for 4 days creates a “half-sour” pickle (pictured); “full-sour” pickles can ferment for up to 10 days. Alternatively, ferment in a very cool location, like a cellar, for up to 3 weeks. Be sure to spoon out any scum that forms on the top layer of the brine. Cloudiness is a good sign, as it indicates fermentation is happening.
3. Transfer to a jar and refrigerate for up to two months; for the best crunch, refrigerate for at least a day before eating.