Make Pleasing Pickles

Embrace the art of fermentation with these easy-to-make pickles, adding a satisfying crunch to cold-weather snacks.

Photo by Getty Images/GMVozd

Enterprising individuals who prepare dozens of jars of tomatoes and strawberry jam are easy to spot. You’ve probably seen them at the farmers market, arms full of baskets of cucumbers, smug in the satisfaction that they won’t go hungry if the world’s food supply ends. They’ll have pickles.

For years, I thought I should pickle too, but somehow I convinced myself I didn’t have the time, energy, or expertise — that is, until the year I learned 52 homestead skills. That year, I became a real homesteader and buckled down on pickling. I can’t believe I hadn’t tried fermenting pickles before then! It’s so easy that my kids can do it.

All you really need to make fermented pickles is water, salt, and cucumbers. If you want to get fancy, you can add spices. Place the ingredients in jars, and then simply observe. It ferments all by itself! Just stand back and watch as your cucumbers turn into delightfully crunchy pickles.

Photo by Kimberlee Bastien

What Is Fermentation?

Fermentation is one version of the ancient art of pickling, a technique used long before canning existed. It promotes natural probiotics to form in foods, and the health benefits of probiotics are well proven. These beneficial bacteria have been shown to boost the immune system and aid in healthy digestion, among other positive effects. Plus, I think I feel better after I eat a fermented pickle, don’t you?

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