Is your garden overflowing with cucumbers? If you have time to slice them up and add them to salt water, you have time for fresh homemade fermented pickles. This is seriously the simplest recipe ever!
Super Simple to Make
This easy pickle recipe honestly seems like a pretty sorry excuse for a blog post.
I mean really. How could anything with so few steps and ingredients ever be considered revolutionary enough to be worthy of your time, dear reader?
Well, if your garden overfloweth with cucumbers and/or you want to start incorporating more fermented vegetables into your diet, I think you will love this super simple recipe. Honestly, it has been a game changer for me with my last few cucumber harvests.
I remember last year, we ate more vinegar cucumbers, cucumber cream cheese sandwiches on sourdough, and plain old salted cucumbers than we could stand. Soon I started making cucumber mint infused water by the gallon. But after all that, what else was a girl to do?
I mean making pickles is hard, right? Surely no mom of four has time for that!
Now I’m thinking, why the heck didn’t I just make more pickles?!
There are only three ingredients in this recipe: cucumbers, water and salt.
You may be thinking, “but fermenting vegetables is intimidating and scary, right?”
Isn’t there some recipe that doesn’t require fermenting?
There are. But, guess what? They are actually HARDER than this simple recipe, and no where near as beneficial for the gut!
Read more on the benefits of fermented vegetables HERE.
Homemade Pickles are Super Simple to Make
Before I started fermenting vegetables myself, I was overwhelmed by all the options that I saw all over Pinterest. “How to Ferment Vegetables with Whey”, “Best Starter for Homemade Fermented Vegetables”, “Why Lacto Fermentation is the Best”, “Best Air Locks for Home Fermeting”……Whaaaaaaa?
For a few years I decided, clearly fermenting vegetables is difficult. I’m going to go crawl in a hole now and avoid any article that resembles a fermenting tutorial.
Friends, I’ve been there. If you’re where I was, let me gently back you off that ledge and give a quick science lesson.
Salt is a special little mineral that prevents the growth of harmful bacteria. When ferments are submerged in a salty brine, the good bacteria present on the fresh vegetables, namely Lactobacillus, can proliferate and grow uninhibited by bad bacteria.
So, my point is…all you need for vegetable fermentation is salt, veggies and water. The process really couldn’t be any easier and less intimidating.
Think of fermentation as growing your own probiotics.
Now, on to the simple homemade cucumber pickle recipe.
The Easiest Way to Make Homemade Pickles Video
Homemade Pickles Ingredients
4 Tablespoons Salt
1/2 Gallon Water
4 Medium Cucumbers
Homemade Pickles Instructions
Next, bring a couple cups of filtered water to a simmer. This is going to be used to dissolve the salt.
Add sliced cucumbers to a half gallon mason jar.
I like to slice them in approximately half inch rounds. If they are too thin, they can get soggy, and who likes soggy pickles??
Now, this is the part where you could get creative and add parsley, dill, cloves of garlic or whole black peppercorns.
Emphasis on the COULD.
As in, you don’t have to.
My kiddos love these pickles, and I just don’t want to mess a good thing up. I’m afraid they would turn their noses up at garlic parsley pickles with peppercorns, and we wouldn’t that.
I added some parsley for the photo, but like I said, I just pulled that little sprig right back out and got on with my plain Jane pickle makin’.
After the salt water has cooled, add it to the jar.
Fill it the rest of the way with filtered water.
Add a Weight
Add a weight to keep the sliced cucumbers under the brine.
I keep a couple good sized rocks on hand for my fermenting weights.
I just slip the rock in a ziplock bag, so it doesn’t make contact with my ferment.
Screw on the Lid
After the cucumbers are weighted down in the salty brine, put the jar lid on loosely. Fermenting does create some natural gases that need to be released, so don’t screw the lid on too tightly, but do keep it covered so flies and varmints don’t decide to feast on your pickles.
You can also use these Pickle It fermenting lids, but you definitely don’t have to. The purpose of the lids is to allow gases to escape, while letting nothing else in. I use them all the time, but they were already in use in other ferments when I was making this tutorial. You can pretty much accomplish the same thing with a loose lid.
After five (or so) days, they will taste perfectly pickle-ish.
PLEASE NOTE: It is normal for the brine to get cloudy. This is a natural byproduct of vegetable fermentation and does not mean mold. For more fermented vegetables troubleshooting questions, check out THIS article.
Take one out and try it. If it is sour enough for you, put the lid on tightly, and throw the jar in the fridge. If you would like them to get a little more sour, leave them out at room temperature to ferment a little longer.
I included this photo to show you the color difference after fermentation. The garden fresh cucumber is on the right and the pickle, after a five day fermentation, on the left.
We Love these Homemade Pickles!
We love these pickles, and you can bet I will be making many many more this summer, as we are up to our ears in garden cucumbers.
For my next batch, I am going to just throw the freshly sliced cucumbers in the brine from a previous batch. Since it is already teeming with the beneficial bacteria, it will serve as a jump start for the process in the next batch.
Fermented vegetables can last six months or more in the refrigerator, that is IF you can go that long without eating them all up. 😉
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