One of the easiest and most rewarding homemade food in my opinion is refrigerater pickles. What makes them refrigerater pickles is that a fermentation process takes place during the pickling, and in order to stop that process, they need to be cooled. So if you want to be able to store your homemade pickles for years in your bomb shelter, this method is not for you. But if you are looking to have some fun and create FREAKEN DELICIOUS pickles that you made yourself, try this out.
Sorry, I’m a pickle guy, so I get excited. Half sours might be my favorite, and that is also probably why I like the fridge pickles since they taste similar. The version I make doesn’t include vinegar, which surprised me, it is a mixture of salt, water, and spices. And apparently you want to use sea salt, because the iodine in table salt will have a negative affect on the fermentation process.
This is the original recipe I used, but have since adapted it. She mentions the fermentation process:
These pickles are lacto-fermented, which means they contain the really good, beneficial bacteria (probiotics!). So eating these will help heal our gut lining, provide anti-inflammatory benefits, give us better digestion, strengthen our immune system, and turn us into super heroes.
Last year I grew my own cucumbers and used my Mom’s home grown dill to make the pickles. I have some dill growing this year, but no cucumbers, so this time I am using cucumbers from the farm share. And actually I didn’t use any of my dill for this batch either… so they aren’t dill pickles. Basil pickles?
Ok here’s what I did: cut up a couple small cucumbers and put them in a smaller than average mason jar. They didn’t fill it, so I grabbed some onions (which I was calling leeks in my stuffed zucchini post) threw those in there along with some
anise (it was fennel all along), 3 segments of garlic, and an entire sprig of basil. Then I sprinkled some black pepper and red pepper in there (the original recipe also tells you to put mustard seeds and coriander. Well I didn’t have any around, so I skipped this, but most of the fun is seeing the flavor you come up with one your own).
Then I put 2 tablespoons of salt in… and I am expecting some salty pickles. Later I looked up the recipe I used originally, and it called for 1 tablespoon of salt for a normal sized mason jar. Oops! But I also seem to remember using only 1 tablespoon last year at one point, and ending up with sorta soggy funny tasting cucumbers. For a regular sized jar, I’d honestly probably stick with 2 tablespoons of salt. Or better yet, decide whether you want relatively salty pickles or not, and go somewhere in between 1 and 2 tablespoons.
Fill up the jar with water, close tightly, shake until the salt looks mostly dissolved, and place it somewhere that all your guests will see it and compliment you on your culinary skills. Taste them at 3 days, and if you like the taste, refrigerate it! Not strong enough? Keep ’em out. Like I said this is a fermentation process that pickles them (it doesn’t make them alcoholic FYI) so the longer they are out, the longer they will ferment.
And according to the recipe I linked to, you can also throw grape, oak, or raspberry leaves into the jar to keep the pickles crispy. I’ve had some crispy pickles even when I didn’t use those leaves though.
Pick your favorite spices, and use them in your pickles. The dill ones pickled using this method are wicked good though, so if you have access to fresh dill that is a good starting point. And don’t be afraid to put the dill flowers in with it, that’s where some of the best flavor comes from!
But why stop at pickling cucumbers?! Got some leftover celery? You can pickle that! OMG so many leftover green beans. You can pickle that! Got all these vegetables you don’t want to go bad, zucchini, tomatoes, mushrooms, artichoke, peppers, or asparagus? YOU CAN PICKLE THAT!
By the way I don’t really know if pickling all that stuff would end well… I’m just assuming. 🙂