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Pickled cucumbers, or simply “pickles,” are a quintessential fermented food. The ﬁrst record of pickles comes from
ancient Mesopotamia. Such diverse historical ﬁgures as Aristotle, Julius Caesar, Shakespeare, Amerigo Vespucci, and
Thomas Jefferson are reported to have been fond of pickles. Indeed, Amerigo Vespucci, after whom America was named, was
a pickle vendor before he became a world explorer. Pickles play a signiﬁcant role in the food culture of many countries,
from North America through Europe and into the Middle East.
1. ) If your cucumbers are at all soft, if you bought them at the store, and/or if you suspect that they might have
been picked a while ago, you can perk them up by soaking them in ice water. 2. ) Trim the blossom ends off your
cucumbers. These ends contain enzymes that can contribute to “hollow pickle syndrome. ” 3. ) Combine the chlorine-free
water and salt in the pitcher, and add any starter or vinegar, if using. 4. ) Place the seasonings and tannin providers
at the bottom of the jar or crock, followed by the cucumbers. 5. ) Pour the brine into the crock. 6. ) Weight everything
down in such a way that it stays submerged. 7. ) If needed, cover the top of the jar or crock with the cloth, and affix
the cloth with the rubber band. 8. ) Store at cool room temperature. Every day after the second or third, pull out a
pickle, cut off a piece with a clean knife, and taste it. When the pickles are pleasantly sour but still crunchy, they
are done. Move them to a cool place (like the refrigerator) immediately. Yield: 3–4 pounds (1.5–2 kg), Prep time: 10
minutes, Total time: 3 days–2 weeks
Knife; Cutting board (wood is ideal); 1-gallon (4-L) pitcher; ½-gallon (2-L) mason jar, a Pickl-It, a Harsch crock,
or a plain glazed (lead-free) ceramic crock; Something to hold the cucumbers under the brine, like a small clean plate
or saucer that ﬁts inside the jar or crock (if needed); Clean dishtowel or cloth to cover the top of the jar or crock
along with a rubber band (if needed).
* 3 or 4 pounds (1.5 or 2 kg) small, thick-skinned cucumbers
* 2 quarts (2 L) chlorine-free water
* 1⁄2 cup (115 g) sea salt
* Up to 1 cup (250 ml) whey or 1 pint (475 ml) sauerkraut juice, or starter powder from an envelope (optional)
* Seasonings: generous amounts of whole garlic, bay leaf, etc. (optional)
* A few fresh grape or oak leaves, or a couple of black tea bags, for their tannins (optional)
* Red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar, boiled and cooled to replace up to half of the water (optional)