Thursday, January 7, 2016

Lacto-fermenting Dill Pickles, Part 1

A dill pickle (Thanks Wikipedia!)

Lacto-fermenting Dill Pickles... it's on everybodies to do list, right?  Eh, maybe not so much... but after diving into Sauerkraut for a few months now, we have begun to broaden our horizons!  But let me first start off by stating what may be obvious... pickles are pickled cucumbers.   The pickling process can either be done using vinegar to provide the acid, OR, in our case, letting Lactobacillus, which lives on the surface of a lot of veggies, digest the veggies and produce lactic acid... while living in a salty environment, which prevents the growth of some nasty bacteria until the acid levels come up.

The recipe we used came out of this book:

Available on Amazon here

25lb Pickling Cucumbers
112 cloves garlic
4 cups dill weed
1/2lb Salt (Not sure about this one, my memory is failing me after 2-1/2 weeks)
A couple gallons water... eh, you'll need to check the book out from the library or buy it...

That said, I've got some pictures... those are more fun that reading anyway!

Pack'em in there!

The first step for me was to pack a layer of cucumbers in the bottom as tight as I was able to... I didn't think everything was going to fit into our 5 gallon crock.

Adding the dill, and garlic in there...

I would pack in a layer, like the first pic, then thrown some garlic in there and half the dill, then do another layer of cucumbers and throw the rest of the spices in... I think there was only two layers before I got this thing about topped off.  Either way, the next step didn't go quite as it will next time...

This recipe was for a gallon crock and I scaled it up... only problem, I packed the pickles in a bit tighter than the recipe expected and I didn't have room for all the brine.  I can't recall what I did, but I eventually had to taste the brine in the crock and compare the taste to some brine from the book.  Next time I'll mix up the brine in a jar and pour it in until I top things off... oh well... it seems to be working so far!

I'll try to take some more pic's and show you what it looks like as it ferments!

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