Fermented Pickles Recipe

Use this pickle recipe when canning produce, to get extra nutrition and digestion benefits from your vegetables.

From "Fermented Vegetables"
November/December 2016

  • Fermented Pickles
    Fermented pickles offer complex flavor and nutritional value.
    Photo by Erin Kunkel
  • Fermented Pickles

Pickles have traditionally been made to extend the life of produce. The simplest pickles are made by pouring vinegar over sliced vegetables and refrigerating them. Fermented pickles take a bit more work, but also offer more complex flavor and a bigger nutritional return, as fermentation makes foods more digestible; makes some nutrients more available, particularly vitamin C; and generates additional nutrients, such as B vitamins and probiotic bacteria. 


• 1 gallon unchlorinated water
• 1/2 to 3/4 cup unrefined sea salt
• spices (garlic cloves, dill seeds, or pickling spice)


1. To make brine, mix 1 gallon unchlorinated water with 1⁄2 cup unrefined sea salt. If you’re using cucumbers, use 3⁄4 cup salt.

2. Rinse vegetables and chop into slices or chunks, according to recipe or preference.

3. In a bowl, mix vegetables and spices (garlic cloves, dill seeds or pickling spice).

4. Pack vegetables into a jar, and pour in brine to cover completely. This may be quite close to the rim. Leftover brine will keep for a week in the fridge.

5. Loosely cover jar with lid; don’t tighten the band so ferment can release CO2. Cover jar with a clean towel.

6. Set jar on baking sheet (to catch spills) out of direct light in an area between 55 and 75 degrees (the cooler the better). 

7. During fermentation, monitor and top with reserved brine, as needed, to cover. You may see scum on top; it’s generally harmless, but if you see mold, scoop it out. Veggies peeking out of the brine will spoil. If you see anything even a bit out of the brine, use a utensil to push it back under or, if it’s soft or pinkish, pluck it out. 

8. When vegetables begin to lose their vibrant color and the brine gets cloudy, you can test pickles. They’re ready when: 
• They’re pleasingly sour, without the strong acidity of vinegar.
• They’re softer than fresh but still a bit crisp.
• The colors are muted, even dull.

9. When pickles are ready to eat, skim off any scum on top, along with any bits of floating vegetables. Add brine to completely submerge vegetables, then screw on lids and refrigerate.

10. After about 1 day, check that pickles are still submerged, topping with more brine, if necessary.

Find more Winter recipes: Eating in Season for Winter.

 Adapted from Fermented Vegetables: Creative Recipes for Fermenting 64 Vegetables & Herbs in Krauts, Kimchis, Brined Pickles, Chutneys, Relishes & Pastes by Kirsten K. Shockey and Christopher Shockey, and published by Storey Publishing, 2014.

Subscribe today and save 58%

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living !

Mother Earth LivingWelcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $19.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $24.95.

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds

click me