freshly fermented pickles

Fermented Probiotic Pickles (keto, paleo)

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These Fermented Probiotic Pickles are not only super crunchy, but also gut-healthy! Enjoy them on your paleo or low-carb lifestyle!

It’s cucumber season, which also means it’s pickling season! I love the crunchy and fresh taste of fresh cucumbers. I eat them with just a sprinkle of salt or use them for summer salads. When it comes to preserving cucumbers, I want to preserve the freshness and their crunchiness, which is possible with this lightly salted, fermented pickle recipe.

These pickles are also known as Malosol’nye cucumbers in the Russian kitchen (meaning lightly salted), and taste quite different from the heavily salted canned vinegar pickles. They have a tangy, and yet fresh taste, and are the only pickles my kids will eat!

What’s so special about fermented pickles!

Pickles are pickles are pickles are pickles, right? Wrong. Most pickles you find in the grocery store have no probiotics. Not only are they canned, which kills both bad and good bacteria, they are also preserved with the addition of vinegar. This is why those pickles taste like vinegar, unlike my fresh-tasting fermented pickles.

To make fermented pickles, you technically only need 3 ingredients: cucumbers, water, and salt. I also add garlic, dill, and some erythritol for more flavor, but these are actually optional ingredients! Submerging your crunchy cucumbers in a salty brine leads to a slow fermentation process, which kills the bad bacteria and supports the growth of gut-healthy probiotics.

To be more precise, this process is called lacto-fermentation. That’s because salt prohibits the growth of the bad bacteria, while encouraging the proliferation of Lactobacillus, which converts the sugars found in cucumbers into lactic acid! Yes, we are actually making cucumbers even more keto-friendly! Not to mention that Lactobacillus is a probiotic that helps your body to fight off illness-causing organisms, absorb nutrients, and break down food.

Through this process, you are creating your own superfood! And the pickle juice is a superfood drink!

Isn’t fermenting super complicated?

Not at all! Once you start fermenting your own cucumbers, you will wish you had start making them much earlier. Really, both the ingredients and the fermentation process itself is quite simple.

Step 1. Select and wash your fresh pickling cucumbers in cold water. Slice off the ends.

Step 2. Prepare flavor-giving ingredients, such as garlic and dill (or dill flowers).

Step 3. Make a salty brine by boiling water with salt (and some erythritol if you like).

Step 4. Fill jars with pickles, garlic, and dill. Pour in hot brine so that the cucumbers are fully submerged. Place the jar lid on loosely and let sit at room temperature for 2-3 days.

Step 5. Once you see bubbles and the cucumbers have your desired pickle taste, screw on lid tightly, and store pickles in the fridge.

Tips for fermenting pickles!

Cucumbers. Use small, fresh, and crunchy pickling cucumbers, like Boston pickling cucumbers, Kirby, Bush pickle, Calypso, National pickling cucumbers, etc. Wash your cucumbers in cold water, which helps with the crunchiness.

Salt. You need to use iodine-free salt. I prefer using pink Himalayan salt or sea salt. You can also go for Kosher pickling salt.

Brine. It’s important not to change the water-to-salt ratio for your pickling solution. Add 1/4 cup of salt per 2 quarts of water. To make 4 quart-jars of pickles, I use 2.5 quarts of water and 5 tablespoons of salt. Additionally, I add 2.5 tablespoons of erythritol for a hint of sweetness, but that is optional. Bring the brine to a boil before you pour it over your pickles.

Jars. I use quart-size Mason jars for my pickles. You could also half-gallon jars or other types of glass containers (as long as they are heat proof) or fermenting pots. Make sure all your tools and jars are clean!

Submerge pickles. It’s very important that the cucumbers are full submerged in the brine. I achieve that by simply pressing my cucumbers under the rim of the jar, so that they kind of get stuck. You could also achieve that my adding a weight on top. Any cucumber that’s not fully submerged will develop mold.

Jar cover. To allow the natural fermentation gases to escape, only place your jar lid on loosely. You could also simply cover the jars with a cheesecloth or clean dish towel. Once your pickles are ready to be refrigerated, replace the cloth with a lid and tightly screwed on band.

Storage. Here comes the big question, how long do these pickles last? They should last for at least 6 months and taste freshest when they are less than 6 months old. I’m actually still eating pickles that I fermented one year ago, and they are still crunchy and delicious!

As in all fermented foods, there is always the chance of mold development! Always check your cucumbers for mold and toss if you see any. This risk can be reduced by always using clean tools and jars, the proper salt-water ratio for the brine, and fully submerging the cucumbers in the brine.

Your new favorite probiotic snack – fermented pickles!

freshly fermented pickles

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freshly fermented pickles

Fermented Pickles (low-carb, paleo)

These Fermented Probiotic Pickles are not only super crunchy, but also gut-healthy! Enjoy them on your paleo or low-carb lifestyle!
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American, German, Russian
Servings 4 quart jars
Calories 63 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

  • 4 pounds pickling cucumbers 1.8 kg, choose fresh, small to medium size cucumbers
  • 8 cloves garlic peeled, optional
  • fresh dill or dill flowers about a handful, optional

Brine

  • 2.5 quarts filtered water 2.4 liters
  • 5 tbsp salt iodine-free, sea salt or pink salt
  • 2.5 tbsp granular erythritol optional

Instructions
 

  • Prepare your pickling cucumbers by rinsing them in cold water. Trim a thin slice off each end.
  • Make the brine. Heat water with salt and erythritol in a large saucepan until boiling.
  • Fill clean jars. Start by placing some dill at the bottom. Place in one layer of cucumbers, followed by garlic and more dill. Then press in more cucumbers, leaving 1 inch of headroom. Make sure everything is pressed in tightly. Carefully pour in hot brine (use a ladle) until all cucumbers are submerged. Use a small weight if necessary to keep cucumbers below brine. (I just press the cucumbers down tightly, so they can't float up anymore.)
  • Cover the jars loosely with a lid or with a clean towel, so that gas can escape. Let sit in cool, dark place for 2-3 days until you see bubbles and cucumbers have your desired pickle taste.
  • Place lid back on, screw on band tightly, and store in refrigerator for about 6 months. I'm eating mine even after a year in the fridge.

Video

Notes

If you need more brine, make sure to keep the correct ratio – 2 tablespoons of salt per quart (0.95 liters) of water. Bring the brine to a boil before you pour it over your pickles.
Jars. I use quart-size Mason jars for my pickles. You could also half-gallon jars or other types of glass containers (as long as they are heat proof) or fermenting pots. Make sure all your tools and jars are clean!
Cucumbers. Use small, fresh, and crunchy pickling cucumbers, like Boston pickling cucumbers, Kirby, Bush pickle, Calypso, National pickling cucumbers, etc. Wash your cucumbers in cold water, which helps with the crunchiness.

Nutrition

Serving: 1quart jarCalories: 63kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 3gFat: 1gFiber: 3gSugar: 6g
Keyword keto homesteading, keto preservation, keto side dish
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

2 Comments

    • No vinegar! These are fermented pickles. Just like sauerkraut doesn’t need any vinegar. They need to be stored in the fridge.

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