First jar this season of lacto-fermented pickles. We've been enjoying our cucumbers for a week or so, now, but it's time to start putting them up for the winter.
Why lacto-fermentation? Here are the reasons—not in order of importance.
1. Easy. Instead of collecting quarts of cucumbers and filling my kitchen with all that canning equipment, I can do it with one day's picking and a jar with a screw on lid—and no need for a stove.
2. Fast. No need for hours of preparing multiple jars by sterilizing, filling, and boiling water bathing them. I just make sure the jar or jars are clean (I wash them with Shaklee's Basic-H because that rinses well and leaves no detergent residue), fill them with the herbs and cucumbers, pour on brine of cold water and salt (no need to boil it), and screw on the lid or lids. I can do a jar or two every other day in maybe 15 minutes, including picking.
3. Safe. Rarely does a jar go bad, but if it does, it's easy to tell. Safety doesn't depend on sterilization. It depends on the natural action of beneficial bacteria.
4. Healthy. Lacto-fermented foods are still raw—full of their natural nutrients. No heat applied. They are easy to digest and help balance your system.
5. Cheap. No special equipment. No electricity. Reuse pickle or olive jars with screw on lids.
6. Delicious. Often the pickles will tingle on your tongue because of the natural fizz from the process.
This jar holds large cucumbers. Usually I like to use 3- or 4-inch fruits. This jar contains two varieties of cucumbers. I normally use only a table variety, but this year one gherkin vine grew on a hill that was supposed to be cantaloup. (The other vine there is a cantaloup.) Fresh table cucumbers are sweeter and crisper than gherkins. This will be a good test to see which makes better pickles.