rise and brine
“God loves fermentation just as dearly as he loves vegetation” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
My family loves pickles and brined pickles is what draws most people into the wild world of fermentation. They taste delicious, use only a few simple ingredients and are otherwise so low tech that your grandmother can make them! 😉 And really, for me, that’s kind of the point.
We usually don’t prepare our pickle ferments until July, but we went through our last jar, and so I grabbed a bunch of pickling cucumbers at this weeks market.
This recipe is for a more sour pickle and it’s not exactly a recipe. The main ingredient is the brine… Other than that, we use whatever is on hand, but it almost always includes plenty of dill, peppercorns, mustard seeds and lots of garlic… but use whatever your heart desires.
You’ll need clean mason jars and washed hands!
For this recipe we used:
3-4 pounds of pickling cucumbers, unwaxed.
2 heads garlic, peeled
1 large bunch dill or more
one bunch fresh spring onions
one bunch french radishes – just because we had them!
pinch black peppercorns
pinch yellow mustard seed
6 tablespoons sea salt
64 ounces filtered water
one grape leaf (this helps them keep their crunch!)
For the brine we use 64 ounces of filtered water combined with 6 tablespoons of salt. That translates to a 5% brine. Make that and set aside.
Wash your hands and rinse your vegetables well. The rest is really simple, pack your cucumbers, herbs and spices into the jar. It’s a good idea to pack them tight – really push them in so that they do not begin to float when you add the brine. Add the brine to above the level of the vegetables.
Place lids on loosely so that they can breathe. You’ll notice in a day or so that they start to bubble. This is the fermentation. Sometimes it will even over flow a little bit onto the counter so I place mine of a towel.
If it is warm weather and your kitchen temperatures are above 77F the fermentation will take just a few days, so you’ll want to check them daily and move to the fridge once they are to your liking.
The more I ferment the more I am inspired at the subtle interconnectedness of everything around us. Each fermentation is a unique manifestation of your hands and your kitchen and your vegetables and your environment. Even if we ferment with the same recipe yours and mine will be unique in their own subtle way…. and yes, we are just talking about pickles, but still…whether microbial or human, it’s all about community and harmony and relationships.