I adore my mum’s little garden; cute small trees with apples and plums, self-harvested cucumbers, zucchini, leek, berries, spices. I would love to have my own food garden. Every day we collect more cucumbers than we are able to eat. To not waste anything, we make jams, juices and pickles. Before my diagnosis, I wasn’t interested in homemade food jars. Now, I learn something new every day.
Two days ago, we made very popular, so called ‘law-salted’ pickled cucumbers.
Pickling is the process of preserving food by anaerobic fermentation in brine (or vinegar). This procedure gives the food a salty (or sour) taste. The most commonly consumed pickles are sauerkraut, pickled cucumbers and peppers.
Brine is a solution of salt (sodium chloride) in water.
Although the pickling process was initially invented to preserve foods, nowadays pickles are made as a delicacy. Pickling improves the nutritional value of food by B vitamins produced by bacteria. The flavor of the pickled vegetables is determined by the type of the dominating microorganisms developed. The latter depends on the acidity or salinity of the brine, the temperature of fermentation (pickling), and the lack of oxygen.
- To preserve/prepare vegetables
- Nutritious (rich in vitamins B)
- Contain good microflora
- It’s very easy
- Young cucumbers – about 10-15 small ones – the amount depends on the size of your glass pot
- Salt (without iodine)– one spoon
- Water – 1 liter
- Garlic – 5-7 gloves
- Dill – whole stems including roots and flower buds
- Horseradish – one root or a couple of leaves (horseradish greens)
- In the Netherlands, small cucumbers can be found in Eastern shops e.g. Turkish supermarkets
- It is better to mix dry and green stems of dill for the ultimate taste
- It is possible to replace the horseradish root with horseradish greens or add both
- Cold water can be used for brine instead of boiled water
- Instead of a glass pot you can use a stone pot
- Big glass pot (with a cup) to pickle cucumbers in it
- A kitchen pot to boil water
- A knife
- Boil one liter of water and dissolve one spoon of salt in it
- Wash cucumbers and cut off the ends
- Wash the horseradish and dill
- Peel garlic gloves
- Place greens and spices (horseradish, dill, garlic) on the bottom of the pot
- Place the cleaned cucumbers vertically in the glass pot
To make so called low-salt pickled cucumbers
- Pour the brine solution to the pot until all cucumbers are covered by the brine and let it stand overnight partly covered by the cap (but do not turn it). Make sure you have about one tea cup of the brine left.
- The next morning, pour the rest of the brine to the pot with cucumbers until all the cucumbers are covered and let it ferment for about 15-24 hours before consuming. It is important that all cucumbers are covered by the brine.
To make strongly fermented pickled cucumbers
- Pour the hot brine until all cucumbers are covered. Close the pot, turn the cap until sealed. Place the pot upside down and let it rest for 24 hours. Afterwards turn the pot upside up and let it rest for a couple of days longer (2-3). They can be stored even for a couple of months. The longer time of fermentation, the richer taste of your pickles.
Have fun making your own pickles :-)