Fermenting cucumbers

Do you ferment cucumbers? I do! The cucumber season has started and we can eat them every day. Grandchildren love them as a snack. Now I have enough to ferment. When I finally put them in jars the liquid is cloudy, but an added oak leave makes it clear and the cucumbers are crispy. I keep the canned cucumbers for over a year in my cellar and they are always good.

my recipe per 2-3 kg fresh cucumbers: I collect a horseradish leave, 5 black currant leaves, 5 sour cherry leaves, a dill plant with stem and flower. I need 1 spoon stone salt per Liter water.

I wash the herbs and place them into a bucket, wash cucumbers and place on top of herbs, cover with salt liquid until everything is under liquid, place a plate over and weigh it with a stone, so that all herbs and cucumbers are under liquid. Keep for 2-3 days until foam appears. Strain the liquid and heat it to almost boiling. Prepare the jars. Distribute fermented herbs into jars, wash cucumbers and place them into jars, add a garlic clove and an oak leave into every jar, pour over hot fermented liquid and close for storing somewhere cool. I keep mine in cellar.

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Comments

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,537 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @jowitt.europe I will have to give this a try Thank you for sharing.

    Fresh cucumbers are one of my favorites and preserving them is a family tradition here.

  • annbeck62
    annbeck62 Posts: 1,024 ✭✭✭✭

    I will try again using oak leaves. I've tried in the past but they were mushy so I gave up.

  • Annie Kate
    Annie Kate Posts: 680 ✭✭✭✭

    @jowitt.europe That looks like a good recipe! Thank you. I would have to use a red current leaf. I have no horseradish. Do you think mustard leaf would work to replace it, or would dock be better?

  • jowitt.europe
    jowitt.europe Posts: 1,454 admin

    @Annie Kate I am sure you can use mustard leaves instead. Take a few to replace huge horseradish leaves.

  • jowitt.europe
    jowitt.europe Posts: 1,454 admin

    @annbeck62 they look cloudy at this stage, but after some time the liquid is clear.


  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,980 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Hmm, that idea hadn't occured to me. I am eagerly waiting for cucumbers so that I can make bread and butter pickles. The plants are healthy and have many blossoms, but it's too soon to actually get fruit. Next month!

  • Annie Kate
    Annie Kate Posts: 680 ✭✭✭✭

    @jowitt.europe thank you, with the horseradish I could do it.

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,461 admin

    I sure do - I LOVE pickles!

  • gardneto76
    gardneto76 Posts: 528 ✭✭✭✭

    My mother in law used to make sweet pickles in a crock but I don’t think she ever added leaves to hers. Might explain why hers get soft after a while. Of course they never lasted very long around me so she learned to ration how many jars I got right away. She would then re-supply me from her basement every few months.

  • nicksamanda11
    nicksamanda11 Posts: 742 ✭✭✭✭

    No one in my house will eat them😭

  • jowitt.europe
    jowitt.europe Posts: 1,454 admin

    @nicksamanda11 people are different. Some are experimental with trying unusual foods, some stick to what they are used to eat. There advantages and disadvantages in both ways. I am always for experimenting and trying out something new, but this recipe is an old an traditional. Funny, but people who looked very suspiciously at these cucumbers, after tasting, now come to me to learn how to make them. Yesterday I had another friend and we made them together!

  • jowitt.europe
    jowitt.europe Posts: 1,454 admin

    @gardneto76 I love freshly pickles cucumbers. Then I keep them in a jar for 2-3 days with herbs in salty water and eat them in one week. They are a sign of high summer.

  • soeasytocraft
    soeasytocraft Posts: 237 ✭✭✭

    I love fermenting everything! I must try this recipe once my cucumbers are ready. I will need to hunt down some dill tho! With this drought that is one of the things that just didn't grow. When I do up cucumbers I use raspberry or grape leaves. Good to know about the horseradish especially since my grape vines winter killed this past winter.

  • jowitt.europe
    jowitt.europe Posts: 1,454 admin

    @soeasytocraft and it is good to know that I can use raspberry and grape leaves. I do have these. But horseradish and black currant leaves add a specific flavour which I like. And dill, of course.

  • Tave
    Tave Posts: 952 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I love pickling cucumbers, too. Good ones are hard to find where I am. So when I see them, I usually buy enough to make a big jar full.

  • gardneto76
    gardneto76 Posts: 528 ✭✭✭✭

    I just finished eating a jar of what we called creamy cucumbers. If is basically sliced cucumbers, sliced onions, chopped dill, mixed into sour cream, tsp of sugar, and a little bit of vinegar. They can be stored for a few weeks in the fridge, but they don’t last very long around my family. We also make what my ma called refrigerator pickles which is very similar but more vinegar and water with no cream. My guess is those are closer to the fermented cucumbers you mentioned.

  • jowitt.europe
    jowitt.europe Posts: 1,454 admin

    @gardneto76 the creamy cucumbers sound delicious. I guess one uses fresh cucumbers, not sour or pickled. In my childhood we always had cucumbers or tomatoes with sour cream. My favourite was sliced tomatoes with sliced onions and sour cream and a little bit of salt. Next favourite was cucumbers with chopped onions and sour cream.

  • water2world
    water2world Posts: 1,156 ✭✭✭✭

    @jowitt.europe Thanks for the recipe---I will have to try this!

  • jowitt.europe
    jowitt.europe Posts: 1,454 admin

    @water2world welcome! I like your chosen name “water2world”!

  • gardneto76
    gardneto76 Posts: 528 ✭✭✭✭

    @jowitt.europe yes start with fresh cucumbers. You favorite with cucumbers is just missing the splash of vinegar and tsp of sugar. They do tend to get better with age in the fridge.

  • water2world
    water2world Posts: 1,156 ✭✭✭✭

    @jowitt.europe Thank you! It started out many years ago when I was coaching swimmers. No longer coach, but the name has taken on a new meaning for me----how important it really is!

  • jowitt.europe
    jowitt.europe Posts: 1,454 admin

    @water2world yes! Now it has a very deep meaning with all the droughts, fires... I have recently red statistics that we use only 4% of drinking water for cooking and drinking. The rest 96% goes into toilet flushes, showers, watering or simply wasting... Sad, isn’t it!

  • Brindy
    Brindy Posts: 212 ✭✭✭

    @jowitt.europe , does heating the liquid kill the benefitial bacteria? I've never fermented cucumbers, but want to. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  • stephanie447
    stephanie447 Posts: 404 ✭✭✭

    OK this may be a stupid question, but what's the difference between fermenting a cucumber and pickling it?

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,980 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @stephanie447 Not stupid at all. They are completely different processes.

    Pickling involves putting the cucumber (or other vegetable) in an acid solution, usually vinegar-based. You boil the solution, and pour it hit over the pieces of cucumber in canning jars. Then you put the jars through the standard water-bath process used to make jam, letting the jars sit completely submerged in boiling water for a specified time. The resulting canned pickles are shelf-stable and should keep at least a year if not opened.

    Fermenting is done at room temperature, or possibly in the refrigerator. The vegetables to be pickled are chopped up, soaked in salt, and put in a large jar or crock and allowed to ferment. Sauerkraut and kimchi are examples of fermented veggies. The process takes days, but requires little human attention during the fermenting time. The bacteria that cause fermentation are naturally present, and the salt lets them grow while keeping the 'bad' bacteria that cause spoilage in check. Once complete, the fermented product should be kept refrigerated and eaten within a few weeks.

    Pickling kills most of the organisms that could cause mold or spoilage with heat, and adds enough acid to keep botulism from occuring. (The botulinum organism is not killed, but cannot reproduce in an acid environment, and it only produces the toxin when reproducing.)

    Fermenting naturally creates its own acid in the process of the friendly bacteria breaking down the vegetables. If you heated it, you would kill the beneficial bacteria and stop the process. Fermented veggies have probiotics in them.

    I make kimchi, which takes about 48 hours of fermentation on the countertop followed by refrigeration. Fermentation does not stop in the refrigerator, but slows down dramatically. The kimchi flavor will get a little stronger every day it is in the fridge.

    I also pickle cucumbers and onions, making bread and butter sweet pickles that I use on burgers.

    Happy food preserving!

  • jowitt.europe
    jowitt.europe Posts: 1,454 admin

    @Brindy it is a very good question. The heating stops fermentation and the cucumbers keep for a year or even more. The taste does not change, but the nutritional value? I do not heat cucumbers, only the liquid they were sitting in for fermentation. I do not know whether the good bacteria is killed. @VermontCathy do you know the answer?

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,980 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @jowitt.europe I think that heating anything to a boil is likely to kill off the beneficial bacteria. The fact that you report that "the heating stops fermentation" confirms this.

    That doesn't mean the food isn't good to eat, but you won't get the benefits of probiotics after the bacteria is killed.

  • jowitt.europe
    jowitt.europe Posts: 1,454 admin

    @VermontCathy thank you. That makes me wonder which is a healthier way to store cucumbers: pickling or fermenting and then heating...

  • Brindy
    Brindy Posts: 212 ✭✭✭
    edited August 2021

    I wonder how long they will keep if you refrigerate them instead of boiling? Thank you for your answers. I will most likely make your recipe because my kids love the flavor of fermented pickles and having them shelf stable makes them easier to keep around. And they sound really yummy.

  • jowitt.europe
    jowitt.europe Posts: 1,454 admin

    @Brindy well, they are yummy 😊