I’ve never made pickles before, and I don’t really like pickles. That might be one of the reasons I’ve never made them, lol. I’m not too into really vinegar-y things.
But I’d been doing some reading about lacto-fermentation about a year ago, and decided I’d give it a try with this year’s produce.
Lacto-Fermentation is basically the process of cultivating lactic acid as a way of preserving food without refrigeration. Sauerkraut is one example of a lacto-fermented food with which most of us are familiar. Lacto-fermentation also not only preserves the nutritional profile of foods (unlike cooking or heat canning), it actually improves the nutritional value of foods by adding probiotics.
So, it’s one of those down-home type skills that I’m all about learning, it makes food better for you, and it also offered the promise of non-vinegar-y pickles. Can’t lose.
Last weekend, I made my first batch of pickles ever. I used cucumbers that had been in my fridge for 4 days at that point, and were beginning to soften a little, so I knew I wouldn’t end up with crispy crunchy pickles, but I wasn’t overly concerned about that for my first try.
I found a recipe that I liked online, at Kitchen Stewardship. I used grape leaves instead of oak leaves. We don’t have oak trees, a Facebook plea turned up friends with oak trees in Altoona but I didn’t have a chance to get out there, and I felt weird just canvassing the neighborhood and stealing leaves from neighbors. However, the place where my son takes Kung Fu has wild grape vines on the building.
Of course, getting whey wasn’t difficult. With all the cheese-making going on around here, there’s never a shortage of whey. Just ask the chickens, lol.
Anyway. The process of making the pickles wasn’t hard at all, and they’ve been sitting on my counter staring at me all week, daring me to screw up the courage to try one.
A few nights ago, we finally cracked open one of the jars and sampled a pickle. It was pretty good! Not crispy, but I wasn’t expecting them to be, since they weren’t crispy to start with. But they weren’t mushy at all, and actually had a pleasant texture, and they tasted AWESOME.
Even to me, the pickle hater.
I love having success with new things!!
Interested in learning more about lacto-fermentation?