How to Make Fermented Pickles at Home

An easy step-by-step guide to making delicious, crunchy, probiotic-rich pickles! The pickle brine can also be enjoyed as a “tonic” – simply drink a tablespoon of it daily to help boost immunity! 

As a child, I hated pickles.

Anytime I went to McDonalds and ordered their classic cheeseburger, I’d hand pick the pickles off my burger with as much sass as I could muster, trying to indicate to the staff that whoever thought pickles on burgers was a good idea, was sadly mistaken.

Fast forward to my teenage years, my taste buds had matured and pickles became an absolute love in my life (that and avocado and olives, which I also avoided like the plaque as a child).

The gherkin is the most popular brined pickle on earth. Before it was mass produced, our ancestors would brine pickles and other vegetables in a solution that promoted natural fermentation, which is what originally gave the pickled vegetable its acidity. Now, vinegar is used most commonly to add sourness, so the beneficial bacteria (known as probiotics) aren’t produced during the pickling stage.

However, you can achieve fermentation when making your own pickles at home!

By using a simple homemade brine, you can encourage natural fermentation with the result of delicious, probiotic-rich pickles to enjoy on sandwiches, burgers, in omelettes… however you like. I love to eat them just on their own.

If you’re looking for a quick homemade pickle recipe using vinegar instead of fermenting (so they’ll be ready within 48 hours rather than a few weeks), see here.

Before we get started in learning how to make homemade fermented pickles – if you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my email newsletter at the bottom of the page to keep up to date on the latest recipes, DIYs, gardening and health tips I share!!

Homemade dill pickles.

Homemade Fermented Dill Pickles

I’ve used a higher salt content in this brine recipe as here in Australia, the climate is a lot warmer. However, in colder climates, it’s okay to use a low-salt brine. The salt just helps to control the fermentation. This brine can be used to pickle any vegetable you like, not only cucumbers.

You’ll need a 1 litre mason jar or two 500 mL-sized jars that have been cleaned and sterilised.

Note before we begin: If you need more brine, make sure to keep to the ratio; 1 heaping teaspoon of sea salt for every 1 cup of water.

Ingredients:

  • 500g cucumbers (or any other vegetables you wish to pickle – beets, onions, cauliflower, carrots, garlic, chillies, etc.)
  • 3-4 tbsp sea salt
  • 4-5 cups filtered water
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon or one cinnamon stick (optional)
  • 1 tbsp each:  fennel seeds, coriander seeds, black peppercorns, dill seeds, allspice, yellow mustard seeds
  • small handful of fresh dill (optional)
  • 3 bay leaves (optional – it will help keep the veggies crisp)

To make:

  1. Clean the cucumbers or other veggies of choice in fresh water and set aside to dry. Remove the stalk at the end of the cucumber, then leave them whole.
  2. In a small saucepan, bring the water, salt and spices to the boil, then remove from heat and allow to cool.
  3. Pack the cucumbers (or vegetables of choice) as tightly as possible into the sterilised jar(s) and cover with the brine. Place the bay leaves and fresh dill in (if using). Press everything down, making sure the cucumbers are submerged under the brine. Leave an inch of space at the top. Cover the jar loosely with a cloth or nut milk bag to allow air to escape. Leave at room temperature for 3-5 days. You may start to notice bubbles and clouding appear in the jar(s), which are good signs that fermentation is taking place.
  4. You may need to weigh the cucumbers down with another jar in the beginning to keep them submerged, but once fermentation starts, they will begin to sink.
  5. After 3 weeks your pickles should be ready to eat! Once fermenting has finished, you can cap the jar and store the pickles in the fridge. They will continue to ferment but very slowly. The pickles will keep for up to 3 months in the fridge.
I love eating pickles on their own, how about you?

As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor before trying or using any new products. I am not a doctor. All opinions expressed are my own personal thoughts and feelings of the products mentioned. Check with your doctor or health practitioner if you are uncertain about trying out any of the products, recipes or tips mentioned in this post. 

Have you pickled any vegetables before? How did it go? Share in the comments below

Lots of love,

🖤 Vanessa