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Old Fashioned Fermented Garlic Dill Pickles

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Old Fashioned Fermented Garlic Dill Pickles use no vinegar. The fermentation produces lactic acid, naturally. This process for pickle making requires maintaining the pickle barrel, crock, plastic bucket or food grade container of your choice at approximately 85° Fahrenheit for 6 weeks. I do this by putting the container in the oven and leaving the oven light on.

One of the most unusual aspects of this recipe is the ability to add more spices after the initial fermentation. My latest batch, originally had 2 heads of garlic. After 2 weeks in process, a sample taste lacked sufficient garlic and dill flavor. More was added and a week later another sample taste showed those flavors sufficient.

Most of the recipes for garlic dill pickles on the 'net use vinegar. While vinegar won't make bad pickles, in does change the flavor. I like my old fashioned fermented best so, I'm giving you my way.

If after the 6 weeks of aging (like fine wine, only much faster) you want to keep your pickles, strain the brine of all solids. Boil it up, allow it to cool to room temperature. Fill you pickle jars with pickles and top over with brine. Heat can those as for any pickle. Genuine dills do not keep well. That isn't to say the go bad. What does happen is they lose their flavor first, and then some texture (goes soft). I never can keep them once made, so for me, that has never been a problem.

I don't profess to have my spice profile perfected. It's still a work in progress because I only buy cucumbers when the price goes to 3 pound for $1.00 (US Dollar). I give you the spices and herbs I use in this recipe.

One last point: for every gallon of water use no more than 4 ounces of salt. I weigh this amount on a scale. Please don't try measuring by volume, using, for example: Morton's Kosher Salt and expect to get 4 ounces of salt. Not happening! For those interested this is about a 20° strength brine. I see a lot of dill pickle recipes that call for either fresh or dried ginger. It's not a flavor I like in dill, so I use horseradish. I believe that as the Germans, English and Scandinavians developed their pickle recipes over the years that horseradish would have been a readily available ingredient compared with fresh ginger. Anyway, I use horseradish, cutting the bulb on a mandolin to make thin rounds.

6-July-2014 - a small addition. If you are selecting cucumbers, or harvesting them from a garden or farm, leave the stem about ⅛" to ¼" long. Once pickled, those long-ish stems may be removed. For 4 gallons of water, 16 oz. of mixed, dried pickling spice is sufficient. This does not include the weight of the fresh dill. The dill (which I cannot buy at markets in Southern California), should have the seed heads in bloom, but the seeds not yet dropping. That is the best dill. I've added the source of this information as the last URL in the list below. I think that the given quantity of 1 oz. of pickling spice per gallon of water is too little. I use about 4 ozs. of spice per gallon of water. I like a highly flavored pickle. YMMV.


whole cinnamon sticks
mustard seeds - any color
coriander seeds - increasingly being denominated: cilantro seeds
allspice - whole
black pepper - whole
dill seeds - whole - optional, I use more fresh dill - sometimes called dill weed - at today's prices it's not priced like a weed
fennel seeds - whole
cloves - whole
mace - blades (same as whole)
celery seeds
bay leaves
hot chile pepper whole
horseradish - the secret ingredient
garlic - fresh
dill - in bunches

If you have an interest in how professional pickle makers made their pickles about 100 years ago, along with some spice profiles and other tips, you can read my technical post at

Old Fashioned Fermented Garlic Dill Pickles

There the science of pickle making is revealed.

For the very technically minded, you can read about Dill Pickle Making at these page:

https://docs.google.com/file/d/1h6rAvaMe8RKihQyAL...


https://docs.google.com/file/d/14LHJaHfcAYIy8lFIt...


https://docs.google.com/file/d/1-VhloMPH4byALiBtB...

https://archive.org/details/MakingFermentedPickles

 
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timbit19852 years ago
I learned how to pickle the "old fashioned way" by following the detailed instructions offered by two sources:

- Nourishing Traditions Cookbook (Avail on Amazon and your public library)
- the Pickl-it website (Expensive product. I made my own. The information remains informative and valid)

http://www.pickl-it.com/blog/515/kosher-dill-pickles-made-easy-short-version-recipe/

is a link to a blog post with a nice ratio of spices. I add horseradish to the mix and use small thai chillies instead.

I have no commercial affiliation with that site. I personally wouldn't purchase their product, because it simply isn't necessary! Lots of tasty recipes though
timbit19852 years ago
Fantastic! Horseradish also acts as a "crispening" agent. It helps make the pickles crisp, just like oak leaves, grape leaves, mustard seeds etc.

Dill and garlic are anti-bacterial. I actually like to pack my pickles in brine and let the lactofermentation start. Once the lactofermentation has gained a foothold, I add the garlic and dill. I find I get a crispier pickle! Again, this is my process. Yours is equally as valid, and works. More than one way to pickle a veg...

Thanks for a great instructable. I am going to have to get a batch going soon!

fuddle2 years ago
The nay sayers, or should that be neigh-sayers as per braying asinines, Deutsche Welle aka DWTV published a pickling recipe exactly as detailed by this instructable prepared by a Munich restaurant.
It is called Lactobacillus acidic fermentation. The saltier the brine, the more sour the pickle.
The genus of Lactobacillus is most commonly "Leuconostoc" which is naturally occurring including on your skin.

No it does not need to be covered- the common traditional method is to weight the Salzgurke down with boiled stones (to wash off the dirt). The cloth is merely to keep the stupid insects away (who die).
It is also unnecessary to pasteurize the pickle jar unless you intend to store them- but most Europeans simply use clean food grade vats- also the brine kills the bad germs (germs are good for you and your immune system).

The Hungarians, North Germans and Czechs make a famous sweet "leavened pickled" where one piece stale bread is added at the base and on on top. http://www.chew.hu/kovaszos_uborka/

Lead paints in a crock (earthenware vessel) is nonsense- as firstly you have no idea how the crock was fired, and secondly the glaze acts as an insulator so good strongest concentration acids and toxic chemicals are stored in ceramic glazed containers- no problem- it is industrial best practice.

Lead paint was never used in enamel- enamelware is fused glass on metal which forms entirely non-toxic coating even if chipped.

The UN FAO has published a report on traditional pickling- which further buttresses this Instructable and exposes the ignorance and hypochondria of the nay-sayers.
Stop being little girls. Something must kill you- why not a pickle.
http://www.fao.org/docrep/x0560e/x0560e00.html
hornell3 years ago
Just some issues I would like to add related to this process:

1. Apparently using "grandma's crock" is a really bad idea. The crock is undoubtedly cracked meaning sanitation will be very difficult. There may also be the risk of lead based paints in the glazing. A food grade pail would probably be a good investment.

2. There are a lot of fermented pickle recipes on the net, and most of them involve open fermentation (covering the fermenter with a towel or cloth, thereby letting oxygen in). I believe that the lactic acid producing bacteria are anaerobic, and we should therefore ferment in containers with an air lock attached to exclude O2. This will likely also require us to fill up the container almost full to minimize headspace. Don't just add a lid (another instructable ferments the pickles in glass jars. Not sure if the CO2 production from these bacteria are as high as yeast but we may run the risk of jar explosion) it will likely fail. A food grade primary fermentation pail from a brewery supply store makes the most sense to me.

This link explains the need for anaerobic fermentation, which is mentioned in Mark's blog post as well: http://www.pickl-it.com/blog/513/open-crocks-are-a-crock/

3. Most of the other sites describe the ideal fermentation temperature as 70-75 degrees with higher temperatures potentially leading to softer pickles. I realize that Mark has gotten good results at 85 degrees. This may be an issue related to the preference of the maker.

4. I think the addition of vinegar in other recipes is meant to give the lactic producing fermenters a "helping hand" by making the brine more acidic. I believe these bacteria like a slightly acidic environment and this should speed up the process which would occur naturally but at a slower rate. This will likely prevent yeast from outcompeting the lactic acid bacteria for substrate.


Mark_in_Hollywood (author)  hornell2 years ago
1. Apparently using "grandma's crock" is a really bad idea. The crock is undoubtedly cracked meaning sanitation will be very difficult. There may also be the risk of lead based paints in the glazing. A food grade pail would probably be a good investment.

RESPONSE TO 1. - I don't understand how this gets into my Instructable. I don't talk about gradma's crock. I know of no crocks that I have ever seen where there is a question of lead in the glaze. Unless there is some paint or artwork on the inside of the crock, that's not an issue. As for sanitation, crazing, etc. You are probably confusing pickle making with beer, wine and cheese fermentations. Those 3 require sanitation. I am a clean person. If someone following this recipe isn't clean, then no amount of warning from you will help.

2. There are a lot of fermented pickle recipes on the net, and most of them involve open fermentation (covering the fermenter with a towel or cloth, thereby letting oxygen in). I believe that the lactic acid producing bacteria are anaerobic, and we should therefore ferment in containers with an air lock attached to exclude O2. This will likely also require us to fill up the container almost full to minimize headspace. Don't just add a lid (another instructable ferments the pickles in glass jars. Not sure if the CO2 production from these bacteria are as high as yeast but we may run the risk of jar explosion) it will likely fail. A food grade primary fermentation pail from a brewery supply store makes the most sense to me.

RESPONSE TO 2. - You should read the words at my link. They are from a professional in the food canning business. His instructions are in complete contradistinction to your version. In any even "lot of fermented pickle recipes on the net" - my recipe will never be a part of your version of democracy, where, whoever can find the most pickle recipes "wins".

3. Most of the other sites describe the ideal fermentation temperature as 70-75 degrees with higher temperatures potentially leading to softer pickles. I realize that Mark has gotten good results at 85 degrees. This may be an issue related to the preference of the maker.

RESPONSE TO 3. - AGAIN, recipes aren't about quantities, votes, etc. Recipes are not part of democracy. The temperature's given are standard for more then pickles. All sourdough breads prefer the nearly 90 degree temperature for lactic fermentation.

4. I think the addition of vinegar in other recipes is meant to give the lactic producing fermenters a "helping hand" by making the brine more acidic. I believe these bacteria like a slightly acidic environment and this should speed up the process which would occur naturally but at a slower rate. This will likely prevent yeast from outcompeting the lactic acid bacteria for substrate.

RESPONSE TO 4. - Even sourdough bakers sometimes use a little vinegar and there is some science to show that a minimal amount of vinegar can boost lactic acid production. But it would not be my way. That's the only personal preference there is here.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I would suggest the complainant read

http://www.amazon.com/Fearing-Food-Risk-Health-Environment/dp/075064222X

a book titled: Fearing Food. Your comments would then be more welcome. As for the hornell's comments: they all seem more based on what is on the 'net rather than scientific literature. In any event, my recipe isn't part of democracy or a debate. hornell seems to reason that is is 'debatable'.
t.rohner3 years ago
I just stumbled over this instructable, because it's related to my Sauerkraut instructable.
We made over 200lb of it this year, then some 100lb turnips and for the first time some pumpkin. I don't know yet, how it will turn out...

I will definitely try the fermented pickles next summer.

Nice job.
gandlof53 years ago
drop alittle of the dill seed some where and you will have all the dill you need.
Mark_in_Hollywood (author)  gandlof53 years ago
I have not found that to be much help. Fresh dill has been my friend. Thanks for the comment.
rollandb3 years ago
Looks like a good pickle, My mom used to make a great "Crock Pickle"

But Now that I have the Gas, Oil, and Water, How do I drive the Car??????