Making pickles from scratch sounds like a hard thing to do, doesn’t it? Wrong! Fermenting is one of the easiest of all food preservation techniques. The summer flavor of these fermented garlic dill pickles recipe will blow your mind–and, they are ready inside a week!
Dill pickles have been a favorite of mine ever since I was a little girl. I could eat a whole jar of Del Monte dill halves in one sitting! I haven’t seen those pickles in the stores for a long time, and no brand has ever compared to my beloved Del Monte dill halves. It was going to be up to me to figure out how to duplicate the lovely pickle that I had grown so attached to.
I tried plenty of different recipes over the years, but there just wasn’t a pickle that could compare until I learned how to ferment my own cucumbers with this fermented pickles recipe. I use pickling cucumbers for this recipe, but you could use regular cucumbers if that’s what you have. This year I’m using National Pickling cucumbers, which turn out perfect when used in this recipe.
Oh, and did I mention that these pickles don’t come out soft, like home-canned pickles tend to be. (If you’d like to try it, though, here’s a safe recipe you can try!)
Fermented Garlic Dill Pickles Recipe
The first thing to do when planning to make these fermented pickles is to gather the needed items. If you have done any home canning, you likely have all that you need right in your kitchen.
What you need:
quart mason jars, as many as you think you will need
lids and bands, or plastic mason jar lids
glass fermenting weights, or you can use regular mouth lids
3-5 good sized fresh pickling cucumbers
2 cloves garlic, or 2 tsp. minced
1 Tb dill seed, or 2-3 fresh dill heads*
3 Tbsp. fine sea salt (I actually use pink himalayan salt)
1 quart water (filtered is a better choice, but tap will work)
Making fermented pickles:
The directions to ferment pickles is so easy, even your kids could do this (if you allow them to use a knife, that is). This is the method I use:
Make salt brine. Add 3T fine sea salt to a quart of warm water. Stir until dissolved. You can make this a few hours or the day before with cold water, just make sure your salt dissolves before you use it. I often will make a quart and save what I don’t use in the fridge for next time I make pickles.
Slice cucumbers. You can slice them lengthwise into halves or quarters, or into rounds to use on hamburgers or sandwiches. You can also leave them whole, but I find that I can fit more if I slice them.
Fill the jar with cucumbers, leaving 1″ headspace. Leaving the headspace is important especially if you use a glass weight, but it is best practice to have space for the water to cover the cucumbers completely, and have room to add a glass weight to keep them under the water.
Add the dill seed and garlic. I usually use 1T dill seed and 2 crushed garlic cloves (or 2 tsp minced) per pint jar, but you can experiment with these amounts according to your family’s personal preferences.
Add the salt brine. How much you actually use really depends on how much space is left in the jar. Add enough to cover the vegetables, then set the regular mouth lid on top of the vegetables. Check every day to make sure the vegetables aren’t poking out of the water, because mold could form and ruin your whole jar of pickles. This is where using a glass weight is super convenient.
Cover with a tight-fitting lid. Leave the jar on your kitchen counter for 3-7 days. Don’t be concerned if bubbles form, and if your cucumbers do not remain that beautiful vibrant green that they are on the first day. They will change into a more dull green, which is normal. Since it’s summer, it only takes 3 days to ferment my pickles, but depending on your climate and the temperature you keep your home, it could take up to a week. It should not take much longer than that.
Store in the Fridge. I store these for a long time in my fridge, but to be safe, assume they will be good for two weeks. It is likely they will last longer, but my guess is that it depends on the temperature of the fridge, where you keep them in the fridge, and how quickly you eat them. (They might be gone before the two weeks is up!)
Enjoy as a snack or with this super awesome sandwich!