Cucumbers of all shapes and sizes are starting to come into the gardens around here and soon there will be an overabundance which begs the question: what do we do with all of these cucumbers? There are many ways to eat them fresh, from cucumber tomato salad—tossed in balsamic vinaigrette with fresh basil—to the classic cucumber and mayonnaise sandwich on white bread with salt and fresh cracked pepper.
With our remaining cucumbers, there comes a time when we ask the question... to pickle or not to pickle? Pickling can be a labor of love especially if you are doing a hot pickle that requires boiling vinegar, boiling jars, and a little sweat. While the results can be fantastic, I am sharing my favorite countertop pickle recipe that requires no heat and you get all the benefits of lactic fermentation, which is fantastic for gut health with no boiling or sweat. These pickles come out crispy crunchy—with no heat—and are good for you!
Whenever you are using vegetables for lactic fermentation, it is very important that you select organic or unsprayed vegetables. The spraying of the pesticides destroys the natural bacteria on the outside of the vegetables, which is absolutely critical for fermentation.
The base for these pickles is simple: good water, salt, and little vinegar. Let your imagination run wild with flavors from here. Think about the foods you like to eat and how you can take those herbs and spices and turn it into a pickle! I like to make several flavors, from ginger turmeric to five-spice, and from classic dill to chile lime.
Chef Rachael LaPorte & Farmer Ken