I love pickles!
Vinegar or fermented I will eat them ALL! At farmers market I saw some short squat pickling cucumbers that were definitely fresh so I thought lets do this! I have read A LOT about pickling and fermenting. There are many tricks of the trade or passed down secrets from great grandmothers. I love these hints or ticks but with fermenting things have a way of not turning out how you think they will. I will get back to that thought in a minute.
I have a neighbor with a grapevine so I grabbed a few fresh leaves and rinsed them. They will go at the bottom of the jar. Their purpose is to help the pickles turnout crispy due to their tannin properties.
Trimming the pickles is important. Make sure to trim the blossom end off. If any of the blossom end is left on they can turn mushy.
You will need:
fresh pickling cucumbers
spices: I chose red chili peppers, dill, and whole garlic cloves
BRINE: I know some folks choose to be exact and prefer specific ratios. I am not the best at being detailed oriented. I more often make a brine that tastes salty to taste but not overpoweringly.
Great Resource and Brine Calculator from Pickl-it
I layer the grape leaves and spices on the bottom of a wide mouth mason jar. I gently pack the pickles in without squishing them. I pour my brine over the pickles and make sure to cover them all. You do not want them poking out above the water! I always weight my ferments down to help insure that there are no floaters. Place a lid on your jar and put into a dark and warm place.
Truth be told not all ferments turn out. I have been fermenting for years and I often have to throw things out. I don’t take chances when it comes to mold. ANYTHING dry looking growing at the top and it goes straight to the compost or garbage. In fact this batch was washed well but the weights that I have are not ideal. I bought regular mouth mason jar weights made of glass. I always use wide mouth jars and the weights just don’t have enough surface area to keep the spices down and I hypothesize that this is what is starting the mold. Anything on the surface other than the brine gives way to mold. These pickles were not consumed and sadly thrown out. On to another day and another ferment! The process here I use regularly and I highly recommend trying it!