Lacto-Fermented Pickles

Pickles are pretty awesome in my book.   They are the veggie version of flavored chips; no need for dip, the salty, tangy, sour flavor is already infused!

I’m also a big fan of lacto-fermentation, the process of fermenting with salt in order to preserve and create good bacteria to promote good health.  I’ve been making kimchi and sauerkraut for years and was ready to expand my cultured horizons.

Enter Lacto-Fermented Radishes, Carrots, & Jalapenos.

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Lacto-fermenting is easy.  Super easy.

You need:

  • Vegetables
  • Garlic (optional)
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Jars
  • Lids

The brine is 1.5 tablespoons sea salt:1 quart water.

Let’s say you are going to make 3 quarts of pickles, put 4.5 tablespoons of salt in the bottom of a quart jar.  Add about a half a cup hot water to the jar.  Wait for the salt to dissolve.  Help it along by swishing/stirring.

In the meantime fill three jars with your chosen veg.  I chose jalapenos, whole radishes, chunks of carrots, and a few cloves of peeled garlic.  One jar I filled with a mix of all three, the other jars I did just thinly sliced jalapenos, for which I used the food processor.

Pour the brine over the jars and make sure to leave about an inch of headspace at the top of each.  Screw the top on loosely.  Place jars in an out of the way location, like a pantry, for 3-7 days. 

Lacto-fermenting takes a little bit of time to work it’s magic and requires room temperature (I’ve read that 72 is the perfect lacto-fermenting temperature).  My house was in the mid-upper 60′s and my jars were perfect after 6 days.

How will you know when the pickles are ready?  You’ll have to taste them.  The first time I tasted a radish from the jar it was just kind of salty and not very interesting but a day or two later it had that familiar tang and sparkle of lacto-fermented goodness.

Once your pickles have reached a desirable level of fermentation you can move the jars to the fridge, which will slow down but not stop the process.  They will “keep” in the fridge for several months but I generally like to eat them within a month or two.

I ended up eating most of the radishes straight from the jar as an appetizer while cooking lunches.  The jalapenos were a super mild batch and I’ve enjoyed big forkfuls of the them tossed in scrambled eggs or on top of salads with black beans and avocado.

 

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