Raw Pickled Vegetables

Before the refrigerator was invented, Ancient man used the process of pickling to preserve foods including fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs and fish. Today, there are as many types of pickles in the world as there are cultures, and many of them can be easily made in a home kitchen.

The reason for it’s popularity is that the process of pickling foods produce heaps of good gut-nourishing bacteria, antioxidants and additional healthy minerals and vitamins. Anyone looking to increase their digestive, cardiovascular, and immune health would benefit from pickled vegetables, since these traditionally lacto fermented foods are some of the oldest and healthiest on the planet.

Many store bought brands use vinegar to pickle vegetables as it guarantees a sour flavour and acts as a preservative. However this method prevents natural fermentation from occurring, which means the live bacteria culture, that turn the pickles into a healthy probiotic, are absent. Using a salt water brine, like in the recipe below, allows natural fermentation to occur.

Making naturally fermented pickles at home is cost effective and easy to do (and a lot more fun than you might think!). Try this simple pickled cucumber recipe and experiment with different variations of herbs and spices and even vegetables. Carrots, cabbage and cauliflower work well too!

Naturally Fermented Dill Pickles

Ingredients

  • 6-8 small (3-4 inches long) lebanese cucumbers which are an ideal size
  • 1 1/2 cups filtered water
  • 2tbsp sea salt
  • 4-8 sprigs fresh dill
  • 2 garlic cloves, peel, cut in half and smash with knife
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • 1 500ml size glass canning jar
  • optional seasonings: red pepper flakes, hot chillies, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, celery leaves, bay leaves, fresh herbs, onion, cinnamon stick, cloves

Instructions

  • Combine salt and water and let sit until salt dissolves
  • Wash cucumbers, cut off tips on both ends. Leave cucumbers whole or cut them in half depending on your preference
  • In jar, put 4 sprigs of dill, garlic cloves and pepper corns
  • Tightly pack the cucumbers in the jar. Add remaining dill.
  • Cut one cucumber in half and set it horizontally on top of the other cucumbers to prevent the cucumbers from floating up above the water in the jar when they shrink a little during the pickling process.
  • Pour salt water into the jar completely covering the cucumbers
  • Set the lid loosely on top of the jar, don’t seal it. Let the jar sit undisturbed at room temp. When you see bubbles rising to the top of the jar and the water becomes cloudy, you will know fermentation has started. if you see a thin layer of white scum forming on the surface of the water , just scoop it away with a clean spoon – this is harmless. However, trust your nose. If the pickles smell bad while fermenting, throw them out.
  • It will probably take 3-10 days before the pickles are done. Taste the pickles during this timeframe to see if the texture and flavour are to your liking. Once you’ve decided they’re done, tighten the lid and store the pickles in the refrigerator. As there is no vinegar to preserve the pickles, they will only keep about 7 days. If the flavour of the pickles is not vinegary enough for you, try drizzling a little vinegar on the spears right before eating.