Love Pickles? Got cukes? When your cucumber harvest is coming in, you need to preserve this bounty quickly. And boy did we over plant cucumbers this year! So we rustled up some quick pickle recipes for easy fermented cucumbers to preserve our harvest without it taking a lot of time.
Fermented Cucumbers With Probiotics – the Eastern European Way
Contributed by GardensAll community member, Urszula Lewandowski
This is the way people in Eastern Europe prepare probiotics for long winters. This recipe is from my cousin Wanda.
- Per 1 Liter glass jar with good working cover
- Young and fresh pickling cucumbers
- 1 teaspoon dill seeds or 2 whole dill stalks with seeds
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 inches long piece of horseradish
- The secret ingredient: 2 oak leaves either dry or fresh
- 1 tablespoons of regular salt
- Hot water
- I prepare all ingredients before on the table
- Put all ingredients in the jar with cucumbers last
- Leave 2 inches space at the top of cucumbers
- Pour hot water over to completely cover the cucumbers
- Clean the jar top and the cover with clean towel
- Close carefully (it’s hot!)
- With towel around the jar turn it upside down and make sure no water is dripping from jar
- Should it drip open the jar and select new cover and try again
In few days it’s completely fermented and it will keep for many years. If you want to eat it sooner, omit the hot water.
OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS for VARIATIONS:
You can add other ingredients as well or instead, such as:
- Black currant leaves
- Sour cherries leaves
- Horseradish leaves
- Grapes leaves
The cucumbers are delicious with sandwiches, and I drink the water from the jar. Pickled cucumber juice is very refreshing and is also great for hangovers!
~Urszula Lewandowski, gardener, Eastern European heritage
Cucumbers pickled in this way with water instead of vinegar also provide probiotic benefits.
Cucumbers pickled in salty water and fermented, have good probiotic benefit and are low in calories and high in vitamin K. Pickling in vinegar destroys any probiotic benefits.
Another way to preserve your cucumbers when you don’t have time for canning is quick pickle recipes like refrigerator pickles.
If you don’t have your own garden harvest (or maybe it’s off season), you can still take advantage of sales and Farmer’s Market produce. We love to find tips, tricks and hacks that help us do more with less and in less time. So it’s great to discover a quicker way to pickle cucumbers into homemade dill pickles.
Pickles are fermented cucumbers. Low in calories and high in vitamin K, pickles made with water instead of vinegar have probiotic benefits.
We’re sharing two versions of refrigerator pickles recipes here. These are both simpler than canning but the second one is even quicker. Scan them both and see which you’d like to try first. Please let us know how it turns out if you try it.
Also, if you have a favorite fermented cucumber or dill pickle recipe, let us know and we’ll share it for others to enjoy too.
Refrigerator Pickle Recipe
Clean quart sized canning jars – depending on how many quarts you plan to make and adjust the ingredients accordingly. If you plan to make 4 quarts, you may prefer to use half gallon or gallon jars. We prefer sticking with quart sized containers as that’s easier to store and work use, versus lugging out a gallon jar of pickles when making things with them.
Ingredients – per 1 Quart Container:
Quantities are approximate. Feel free to add more or less herbs, spices and salt.
- Water, brought to boil
- 3/4 cup distilled vinegar
- 4 Tbsp. Kosher salt
- Fresh dill – fernleaf and flower heads if available
- 1 Tbsp. pickling spice
- Dash of crushed red pepper flakes
- cloves garlic, chopped or whole
- Small cucumbers, whole (or sliced if preferred)
- Other veggies, such as chopped carrots, cauliflower, okra
Prepare your brine: To each quart of water that has been boiled and brought to room temperature, add ¾ cup of distilled white vinegar and 4 Tablespoons Kosher salt
NOTE: Use stainless steel or glass equipment for cooking and pickling tasks.
- Add half of the seasoning to the jar
- Add cucumbers to jar
- Pour boiling water over the cucumbers
- Add the rest of the seasonings to the top of the jar
- Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for a couple days until soured
You may also enjoy this article on other ways to preserve food.
For another simple recipe for refrigerator pickles, we found this one from Rachel of CleanFoodCrush.com.
GARDEN TIP: Plant dill, peppers and garlic near your cucumbers for quick harvesting of dill pickle ingredients.
This next refrigerator pickles recipe is our favorite because you can eat the pickles in within just hours of making it!
What to do with all of those Garden Cukes? Make fermented cucumbers using this simple 15 minute refrigerator pickle recipe.
- 8 large, fresh cucumbers
- 2 Tbsps. green bell pepper diced very small
- 3 tsp coarse kosher, or pickling salt
- Large sprig of fresh dill
- 1/2 Tbsp. celery seed
- 1/2 cup white, or apple cider vinegar
- Slice your cucumbers very thin — I sliced mine a bit too thick here, slice thiner if you can.
- Combine everything well.
- If you are wanting these to keep for a longer length of time, I suggest using a large glass jar with a lid.
- Place jar in the refrigerator: shake it once or twice more over the next few hours to ensure everything is submerged. You can eat them as little as 1 to 2 hours later, but they are wonderful at 8 hours later. These keep in the fridge, submerged in their liquid, for up to 3 weeks.
What do you do with your dill pickles?
We use them on sandwiches, especially veggie burgers, and also in salads, soups and hors d'oeuvres, and eaten straight or as a side dish! Another favorite: cracker, dijon mustard topped with a dill pickle and a slice of cheese. YUMMY!
SOURCE: CleanFoodCrush By Rachel
By Urszula Lewandowski
The upside down jars are cucumbers for "fermented cucumbers soup", (recipe to follow).
Since I don't add water to the mixture and it's cold fermented I want to make sure the lids sit tight on the jars. I watch it for leakage. If it is not closed tightly there will be moisture on the table. All I do is replace the lid. But I make sure the jar and new lid are clean and dry.
During fermentation different gases are created. Once the cucumbers are fermented (it will change colors from bright green to darker green) I store it in the cellar, where the temperature is lower. When the jars cool, the gases get constrict and create a vacuum, and the jars remain locked indefinitely. No spoilage.
Polish Cucumber Soup Recipe
- Soup stock of choice
- Fresh dill, chopped
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Fermented cucumber
For the soup stock you can use any basic bones or vegetables broth of choice.
Editor's Note: For vegetarian soup stock our favorite has evolved over the years as we've needed to eliminate soy and minimize yeast, both of which are in most vegetarian broths. Our favorite is the organic private label brand at our local Lowe's Foods Store's, Full Circle.
The next best one we use is Organic Pacific Vegetable broth. Buying broth saves time and also the feeling of waste I get when I have to toss out the veggies from the stock. Of course, when we do make broth that refuse goes into the compost, so it's not all wasted.
Boil unpeeled potatoes separately till tender. When cooled, remove the skin* and whip half of the potatoes until creamy. and add to soup pot. Cut up the other half potatoes and add them to the pot as well.
Heat again if needed to serve, but don't boil. Season with fresh chopped dill salt and pepper and then add the fermented cucumbers. It's refreshing delicious and very healthy. Lots of probiotics and it can be made fast if you have stock ready.
I also add cream cheese and cream but it's not necessary if you have dairy restrictions or other restrictions.
*Editor's Note: We prefer to leave the skin on our potatoes for the added nutrition.
Thanks for this wonderful share, Urszula!
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