fresh veggies to pickle
spices or seeds
‘Tis the month of gut-health here at Fair Food HQ, which means buckets of fresh fibre and plenty of natural probiotics to eat and drink. This week we’re sharing a very simple method to make your own lacto-fermented stash of dill cucumbers, or peppery radishes, or carrots, chillies, daikon, turnips, zucchini, beans, beetroot … gosh what can’t be made sour and satisfying with a little time under the brine. Beetroot and daikon is a current fav for pink falafel pickles, but whatever you try they’re sure to become oh so snack-able and delicious. And good for you, too. Grab a wide mouth jar, some quality salt and we’re off.
Crunchy salt brined pickles
Slice your veggies up evenly, in any shape that tickles your fancy. Long wedges of cucumbers, even mandolin slices of daikon, sticks of carrots or turnips, whole beans or baby cucumbers… you get to pick, they’re your pickles.
Next make a simple brine by calculating the weight or volume of the water needed to cover your veggies. A good basic ratio for most fermented veg is a 2% brine, which you can deduce by weighing (or guessing) the water you need and adding 2% salt. So to make a litre of brine (1000g/mL) you’d dissolve 20g salt in it!
Even easier, or if accurate kitchen scales aren’t your thing, a good rule of thumb is mixing 4 cups of water to 2 tablespoons of salt. This is easy to remember and really couldn’t be simpler so there’s no excuses now. If you make too much or too little of the brine, you can stir up another cup or two in a flash.
Get a few sterilised jars, any extra spices or garlic or vine leaves (*see below) and pack in your goodies really well. They just need to hold each other in place so they don’t float up above the surface. Leave an inch free at the top, then pour the brine over. If your little goodies are loose and floating up then keep them submerged like you would with a sauerkraut, by weighing them down with a smaller clean jar filled with water, a glass tumbler that fits under the lid, or a heavy pestle. Even a clean stone will work.
Cover lightly with a lid or if the lid won’t close then cover it with a cloth and a rubber band to keep out any insects. Leave somewhere at a cool room temperature for about a week before you taste taste them, and when they are as sour and delicious as you like, try not to eat them all and secure a lid on the jar. They’ll keep well in the fridge until you finish them off.
** Spices! Throw in seeds like fennel or dill, coriander or mustard. Garlic cloves are always great in things like this, so chuck a few of those in as well. And if you’re wanting deliciously crunchy cucumbers then adding a vine leaf or two to the bottom of the jar will add tannins to help avoid ending up with soggy pickles. Crunchy all the way!!