If you don't like bright green, vinegar-soaked pickles, then you should make lacto-fermented pickles. These are often called kosher or New York-style pickles. They are different than your regular supermarket pickles in that they are made with salt-water brine and undergo fermentation. They might sound odd, but they taste delicious and are easy to make.
What Is Meant by Lacto-Fermentation?
Kosher pickles get their famous taste due to a fermentation process that produces lactobacillus bacteria. This is good bacteria, in the same way that yogurt has good bacteria. The same lacto-fermentation process is used when making sauerkraut and kimchi. The salt brine kills off bad bacteria, but lactobacillus is not killed off in salt water. After a while, the lactobacillus converts into lactic acid that provides the wonderful flavor.
Here is the recipe.
- 4–5 small pickling cucumbers
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ bunch of dill
- 1 teaspoon mustard seed
- 1/3 cup of salt
- 1 teaspoon peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon coriander seed
- 2 quarts of distilled or mineral water
- Mason jars
- Large mixing bowl
- Cheese cloth and rubber bands
Bring the water to a boil. It is important that you do not use tap water. If you get water from a municipal supply, it is very likely treated with chlorine. This will prevent bacteria from forming. So choose bottled spring water or distilled water.
Add the salt to the water. You want the salt to completely dissolve. Take the water off the stove. Add the garlic and spices when the water has cooled down.
Slice the pickles any way you like. You can even leave them whole. Place them into the Mason jars.
Pour the brine mixture into the jars. You want to completely cover the pickles in brine. Any exposed pickles can grow bad bacteria.
Cover the mason jar with cheesecloth and secure it with a rubber band. The reason you don't place the metal lid on the jar is so that gas can escape. The fermentation process produces gas that will pop a metal lid.
Leave the canning jars on your kitchen table. Do not refrigerate them because it will slow down the fermentation process. Leave for at least two days.
The brine will turn cloudy. This does not mean that anything is wrong.
After 2 days, the pickles will be "half-sour." If you prefer "full-sour" then you should leave the jars out for a couple more days.
You can test the pickles by slicing a small piece off with a knife and tasting it.
When the pickles are to your satisfaction, place the jar in the refrigerator. They will last for a few weeks.
If you can't stand the wait for your delicious kosher pickles, find kosher pickle brands in your area to get a jar to tide you over until the pickling is complete.