Short-Term Pickle Recipe (vinegar-free, raw food)
Tara Carpenter, NC.
Originally published July 9, 2018
A lovely classic pickle you can feel good about ….
In Vermont, pickling cucumbers grow on the vine from July to mid-September; this rush of cucumbers is what inspired me to once and for all find a traditional pickle recipe that did not use vinegar or high heat to preserve one of Nature’s bounty.
I searched for this kind of recipe for many years until one hot summer day when my sister-in-law casually handed me a faded-as-your-favorite-blue-jeans pickle freshly pulled from her ceramic crock. With one bite, I felt memories unleash inside me from years past when my grandmother in Nova Scotia made such pickles with a crisp, clean classic deli taste.
Furthermore, I was pleased to learn these pickles are kept in a raw, live state without using vinegar or high heat to preserve. Winner all around!!
This recipe belongs to my sister-in-law, whose family hail from Czech Republic, where her grandparents made whole cucumber pickles, kvašáky fermented cucumbers. When she moved to America to raise her own family, she kept the traditional pickle alive with this recipe below.
Short-Term Pickle Recipe
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, peel
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 gentle boil, lower to 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 dill, cucumbers, garlic, cherry leaves, and horseradish in layered fashion.
- Pour cooled brine over layered cucumbers (if using crock, top with stone weights) then cover with a lid.
- Add water into rim of lid (if using crock) and keep eye on water level in coming days; replenish as needed. If use jars to pickle, be sure to burp them now and then to let any pressure out.
- Leave undisturbed at room temp 65-72 F (18–22 degrees C).
- Check on them at 7 day mark (I like mine personally at day 10 :), the length of time seems to depend most on home temperature.
Tips & Tricks
- If you don’t have grape leaves, use oak or horseradish leaves or 1 tsp. loose black tea leaves or 1 black teabag per half-gallon jar.
- Kept in fridge, pickles last for weeks when submerged under brine. You can preserve the jars further past this by adding more fresh grape leaves (or other tannin) into top of jar and give a good shake.
- The blossoming side of the cucumber end is where the enzymes are and what will eat away at the vegetable and potentially cause a softer pickle with an unappetizing texture. I use a knife to remove a thin slice from the ‘blossom end’ before pickling for a firm cucumber.
- If cucumbers are harvested in late summer, the skin may have become thick. If so, use skewer or sharp knife to prick couple small holes in each cucumber; this allows brine to penetrate so that that cucumbers culture more evenly.
- Oven Incubator Kit maintains temperatures during fermentation. If your home is too warm for fermenting, this article talks about keeping cultures cool in summer.
Note: on The Body Ecology Diet? I’d say the ingredients and preparation method can be safely enjoyed, even on stage 1, unless you are sensitive to histamines and then you may feel a reaction in your body, to note.
May all bellies be happy!