Short-Term Traditional Pickle Recipe
by Tara Carpenter, NC.
In Vermont, pickling cucumbers grow on the vine from July to mid-September. This rush of cucumbers inspired me to find a recipe for a traditional made pickle; one that stood the test of time and worthy of being passed down from one generation to the next. Most of all, I was interested in a recipe that did not use vinegar or canning methods (pasteurization) to keep the natural integrity of cucumbers alive and crisp.
After playing with various recipes, my sister-in-law pulled a pickle from her crock one summer day; the taste had the classic deli pickle firmness and was raw!! With no vinegar or heat involved.
My sister-in-law hails from Czech Republic where her grandparents made whole cucumber pickles, called Kvasaky “fermented cucumbers”. When she moved to America to raise her own family, she kept up the tradition of making pickles with this tried ‘n true recipe.
At last!! I found a recipe to satisfy my needs and share here with you. Slice them up, flavor them with whatever your little heart desires, and take a crunch. In other words, play and make this recipe your own. Something to proudly pass along to your own friends and family 🙂
Short-Term Traditional Pickles
Makes: fills a 14-cup stoneware pickling pot or 2 half-gallon Mason jars.
12 cups water, pure
6-7 tsp sea salt, depending how salty you like
2 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
7 whole peppercorns
6 whole allspice pods
3 bay leaves
8 medium grape vine leaves or other tannin-containing agent (i.e., oak leaves, horseradish leaves, or black tea leaves – see below)
4 pounds pickling cucumbers, whole
4 dill heads
1 head of garlic, peeled
8 cherry or currant leaves (optional)
4-inch piece of horseradish root, fresh (optional)
- Bring water, sea salt, mustard seed, peppercorns, allspice, and bay leaves to a gentle boil, lower to a slow simmer for few minutes.
- Set aside brine liquid to cool until room temperature.
- Layer grape leaves on bottom of pickling pot (or jars). Top with the cucumbers, dill, garlic, cherry leaves, and horseradish in a layered fashion.
- Pour the cooled brine liquid over the layered cucumbers and top with stone weights (if using crock) and cover with a lid.
- Add water into rim of lid (if using crock) and keep an eye on the water level in the coming days. Replenish as needed. If you use jars to pickle, then burp them now and then to let the pressure out.
- Let sit undisturbed at room temperature, 65-72 degrees Fahrenheit (18–22 degrees Celsius).
- Check them in a week; will take up to 10 days depending on your home temperature.
Tips & Tricks
- Don’t have grape leaves? Oak leaves or horseradish leaves can be substituted or use a teaspoon of loose black tea leaves or 1 black teabag per half-gallon jar.
- In the fridge, these pickles last for weeks if submerged under brine. In warmer months preserve your jar even longer by adding more fresh grape leaves (or other tannin) into top of jar and give a shake.
- The end of each cucumber contains enzymes that soften pickles, use a knife to remove a thin slice from ‘blossom end’ to maintain firm texture.
- If you harvest cucumbers late in the summer, the skin may have thickened. In this case, use a skewer/sharp knife to prick a couple small holes in each cucumber to allow brine to penetrate,. Doing this, will help the cucumbers culture more evenly.
- Our Oven Incubator Kit maintains temperatures during fermentation. Is your house too warm for fermenting? This article talks about keeping cultures cool in summer.
Note: If you are on a gut healing protocol like The Body Ecology Diet, I would say that this pickle recipe can be enjoyed, even on stage 1.
May ALL bellies be happy!