1.5 quarts non-halogenated water
1/4 cup non-iodinized salt (or, better: sea salt)
3 sprigs fennel
1 sprig dill
.2 oz orange peel
turmeric - either 1 oz root peelings or 1/2 teaspoon powder; or more
1 teaspoon whole corriander seeds
1 to 2 whole bay leaf
1 grape or witchhazel leaf for tannin
1 clove garlic or more
1 cabbage leaf (to go on top)
1 T to 1/4 cup pickle starter
kirbies or cucumbers, unwaxed
Fermented pickles do not contain vinegar.
If you do not already have a jar of fermented pickles in your refrigerator, or if you just want to start fresh, you will need to make your own pickle starter. If you have already made pickles, just adding a little liquid from the established fermented pickles to your new jar is sufficient.
Making pickle starter from scratch is a process that will take at least 3 days when room temperature is about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. There are many ways to make pickle starter, but here is one easy way: Juice a fresh cabbage and extract at least a quarter cup of cabbage juice. Put the juice with non-hallogenated water
in a clear jar. Add a little salt. It can be half the magic ratio. Slice up some cabbage in shreds and put the cabbage in the jar with the cabbage juice, water and salt. Note there are only 3 ingredients: cabbage, water, salt. Fold one whole cabbage leaf on top, to keep the cabbage shreds submerged. Put the lid on the jar and let it sit on the counter for several days. After 3 days taste it. If the cabbage is starting to turn into sauerkraut, then the liquid can be used as pickle starter.
Rinse the kirbies/cucumbers, dry them, and slice off the narrow ends (both sides). This step may not be necessary, but I've followed it because I saw it somewhere else.
Put water and salt in a clean glass jar with a lid. Put lid on jar and shake it to dissolve the salt. Add cucumbers or kirbies. Add remaining ingredients except for cabbage leaf. Use a cabbage leaf on top to keep the cucumbers submerged, if necessary.
Replace the cabbage leaf (if necessary) with a fresh one daily.
Let jar sit on counter for 3 days. Taste. Wait another day if necessary and taste again. Repeat as necessary. The colder the temperature around your pickle jars is, the longer it will take for them to complete. When a sample pickle tastes right to you, remove the cabbage leaf, if you have been using one; begin eating pickles and store remainder in the refrigerator.
It is possible to add new kirbies/cucumbers to a pickle jar in-process and to remove the pickles as they become ready; especially when you are growing and harvesting your own kirbies.
Eat 1/2 pickle first thing in the morning, and again before or with each meal.
Magic ratio is 2 teaspoons granulated salt per 1 cup water.
There are many ways to obtain non-halogenated water. If your tap water contains fluoride or chlorine, letting it stand for a day should allow enough halogen to dissipate out so that the water is usable.
Distilled water or spring water should work. If the water quality is good, artesian well water is another good choice.
A good room temperature for making pickles is between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Storing pickles in the refrigerator slows down the fermentation process. The more pickles ferment, the more sour they taste.
Avoid excessive heat (above 80 degrees Fahrenheit) if possible, which may select for slightly less desirable microbes. The pickles will be softer and less tasty, but should still be effective.
The season for whole turmeric root is mid-November through July. Either Asian specialty stores or health food stores might carry it.
Use organic or home-grown produce if possible. The process will not work with cucumbers that are waxed on the outside. The process will not work as well with cucumbers that are not fresh.
Live culture should be at least a little cloudy, bubbly, effervescent. Fermentation happens easily and naturally unless there is some agent or process that inhibits it. Always use glass jars; not metal, not plastic.
Can pickles go bad? If the juice turns pink and there is a white scum on top, then you will need to pour out your pickle brine, wash the container thoroughly and start over. If there are pickles still in the brine, they can be moved to a different container and eaten. Unless you have a particularly sensitive stomach or microbial allergies, the pickles are still edible. The high concentration of salt in the brine prevents pathogens from growing in it.