Summer Is The Best Time To Ferment & Can Dill Pickles
We are experiencing the rebirth of fermented foods because they are powerfully good for us. Fermentation process intensifies foods’ nutrient value by nurturing healthful bacteria, which then colonize the gut. You will maintain optimal health and nutrition, if you consume a small amount of fermented food (table spoon size) with every meal.
The fermented pickles are prepared with just a few ingredients (the combination of acid, spices and, in some cases, sugar). They require a few weeks of curing process during which time good bacteria (probiotics) are created.
You may purchase whole cucumber dill pickles, cucumber slices and bread-and-butter pickles at the grocery store, but these type of pickles are NOT FERMENTED and don’t have the same probiotic benefits without the fermentation process. That’s why fermented pickles are perhaps the best pickle option out there.
Let’s see what benefits fermented pickles provide, according to Dr. Axe:
Aid Weight Loss
Support the Central Nervous System
May Help Reduce the Risk of Parkinson’s
May Help Prevent Colorectal Cancer
Treat Candida Symptoms
Can Help Reduce Anxiety and Depression
The Ingredients For Perfect Fermentation:
Please use the below listed quantities for each gallon capacity of your container.
4 lbs of 4-inch pickling cucumbers
2 tbsp dill seed or 4 to 5 heads fresh or dry dill weed
1/2 cup of Himalayan pink salt
1/4 cup vinegar (5 percent)
8 cups of water (ideally structured water which is reverse osmosis filtered)
2 cloves garlic
2 dried red peppers
2 tsp whole mixed pickling spices
Step By Step Fermenting Process
Cut 1/16-inch slice off blossom end of the cucumbers and discard. Leave 1/4-inch of stem attached on each cucumber.
Place half of dill and spices on bottom of your clean container of suitable size.
Note: Use a 1-gallon container (1-gallon stone crock container) for each 4-5 pounds of vegetables. Glass containers are excellent substitutes for stone crocks. We do not recommend plastic containers -- even if they may be food-grade.
Add cucumbers, remaining dill, and spices on top.
Mix water and vinegar. Dissolve the Himalayan pink salt in the mix. Pour the mix over the cucumbers.
After adding the cucumbers and brine, insert a suitably sized plate inside the fermentation container to act as weight to keep the cucumbers under the surface of the brine -- no contact with air.
Note: During fermenting process, the cucumbers must be kept 1-2 inches under brine.
Store the fermentation container for about 3-4 weeks at a location where temperature is between 70ºF and 75ºF while fermenting.
Note: At 55º to 65ºF, the fermentation will take 5 to 6 weeks.
Caution: The pickles will become soft at temperatures above 80ºF.
Caution: If the pickles become soft, slimy, or develop a disagreeable odor, discard them.
Fermenting pickles cure slowly. Check the fermentation container several times every week. Promptly remove surface scum or mold.
Storage of Fermented Pickles
Fully fermented pickles may be stored in the original container for about 4 to 6 months, provided you refrigerate the fermentation container and remove the surface scum and molds regularly, twice a week.
The better way of storing the fully fermented pickles is through "Canning."
To can the fully fermented pickles:
Pour the brine into a pan, heat slowly to a boil, and simmer 5 minutes.
if you desire to have a clear fluid, you can filter the brine through a paper coffee filter.
Fill your mason jars with pickles and hot brine, leaving 1/2-inch head space.
Adjust lids and process as recommended on the table illustrated below.
Note: Place a small face towel on the jar rack before placing your jars on the rack (this will protect your jars from breaking and prevent them from rattling). Place your jars in the Water Bath Canner.
Low-temperature Pasteurization Treatment
Low-temperature Pasteurization treatment results in a better product texture but you must manage the process carefully to avoid possible spoilage.
Place a small face towel on the jar rack before placing your jars (this will protect your jars from breaking and prevent them from rattling).
Place your jars in a Water Bath Canner filled half way with warm water (120º-140ºF).
Then, add hot water to a level 1 inch above jars.
Heat the water enough to maintain 180º-185º F water temperature for 30 minutes.
Check with a thermometer to be certain that the water temperature is at least 180ºF during the entire 30 minutes.
Temperatures higher than 185º F may cause unnecessary softening of pickles.