Probiotic Rich Dill Pickles




Introduction: Probiotic Rich Dill Pickles

About: Local Food. Global Flavor. Food for roots, health, peace and community. A food oriented DIY culture.

Lacto-fermentation is a traditional method of making pickles without using vinegar. Pickles made in this manner are alive and rich in probiotics. In this age of antibiotics we all need whatever extra help we can get in making sure the balance of the flora growing in our intestines is as helpful to our absorption and production of nutrients as possible.

Fermentation with lactic acid is also a very safe way to preserve your foods. Please enjoy this recipe, if you would like more information on lactic-acid fermentation and the health benefits of such foods please visit my site


Step 1: Wash Cucumbers

For 8-10 small cucumbers use about two jars and 1 quart (litre) of brine. Wash your cucumbers to help clean off any unwanted extra ingredients.

Step 2: Prepare Brine

Using an old olive oil bottle (any bottle that is about 1 litre or 1 quart will do, make sure it has a good lid).

For one quart (litre) of water add about 1 1/2 Tablespoons of salt. I prefer to use Himalayan crystal salt or sea salt. Shake the bottle of water well to make sure all of the salt is dissolved.

It is best to use filtered water or water that is un-chlorinated, if you don't have a filter, let the water stand overnight, the chlorine will evaporate.

Step 3: Prepare Spices

There are quite a few spices you can use which add a nice taste. Dill is traditional, I like to add fennel seeds and sometimes chili peppers. The mustard seeds and horseradish root help to keep the pickles more crispy. I have also heard grape leaves help with this. Feel free to experiment. This is one of my favorite combinations of spices.
  • small handful fennel seeds
  • 6-10 black peppercorns
  • 1 T mustard seeds
  • 5-7 cloves
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • dill flower heads and leaves
  • small handful of coriander seeds
  • 1 horseradish root, sliced
  • cinnamon bark
Put the spices into the prepared (quart size is good) jars.

Step 4: Poke Cucumbers

Poke the cucumbers with a fork about three times on various sides. This will help the brine to penetrate the cucumber more quickly.

Step 5: Stuff Jars

Squeeze as many cucumbers as you can into each jar. Pack them in tightly. If they are poking too much out of the jar, you can also cut them in half. They will need to be in far enough to have the brine fully covering them.

Step 6: Add Brine

Pour the brine in over the cucumbers and spices. Make sure that the brine covers the ends of the cucumbers by at least 1/2 an inch (1 1/2 cm).

Step 7: Allow to Ferment

Close the jar tightly with a lid and set in a warm place (out of direct sunlight) in your kitchen for about 3 days or until the bubbles subside.

Place the jars into a cool place or a cellar for at least 6 weeks before eating. Once you have opened the jar, keep it in the fridge.

Easy and delicious! Other vegetables can also be made in this manner, like asparagus, cauliflower, pearl onions....

This is a much more affordable, practical and delicious method to use to make sure you have healthy bacterial growing in your intestinal garden than buying expensive and often useless supplements!

More information on lacto-fermentation and other recipes can be found here.



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    36 Discussions

    Also... is it necessary to poke the pickles? Is it possible to not puncture them and just allow for a longer time for the fermentation process to complete?

    I tried this type of pickle for the first time and after a couple of days the liquid turned cloudy. Does this mean the pickles are spoiled? I think I mistakenly put in some dill flowers (already opened) instead of just flower heads. This might be the problem. Wondering if I should throw the batch out. Any suggestions?

    2 replies

    Agreed, the cloudy water means that you have good bacteria. And, you can empty that brine out and add fresh water if you want. But, save the brine! Those good bacteria will speed up the process in your next batch.

    It typically means you have good live cultures growing in your jar so it should be fine. Use common sense though; if your pickles smell bad or look off then throw them out.

    The intellectuals here are trying to 'solve' a problem...they are missing one thing: EXPERIENCE.

    2 replies

    Probiotics in food are the best!!! Don't you just get tired of people believing the science lab over actually seeing people healed with healed!

    oops...FOOD! healing comes from eating clean, real food!

    Will it matter that I used 1-1/2 tsp instead of 1-1/2 tablespoons of salt?? I have 8 jars on my cupboard and they have not bubbled yet. :(

    1 reply

    Perhaps there is something in/with those few surviving bacteria that makes them more bioavailable, that we do not yet Know about, and therefore all the traditional ("anecdotal") evidence about the efficacy is not all lies and "snake oil." Being a Real scientist means you should have an open mind-- you might Discover something. Oh, and I trust my granny (and friends) more than Any degreed bashers.

    1 reply

    You know, that is a great point. how do we measure the bioavailabilty of each source of probiotics?

    I forgot to add to my last comment,

    The flower end of cucumbers (the end opposite the stem) contains enzymes that can cause the pickles to go soft.  Many people remove this end to prevent this; it really can help make for crisper pickles.  I'm lazy, so I cut both ends off instead figuring out which end is the flower end (plus they pickle faster this way).  This method works for both this (fermentation) as well as traditional (heat) pickling.

    2 replies

    This is a great tip. Also adding in things with high tannings helps like the grape leaves. I have also found that adding chili peppers helps a bit too. I don't personally mind if the pickles are so crispy or a little softer.

    other things high in tannins are black tea leaves. i use sour cherry leaves because we happen to have a sour cherry tree in the yard. they do a great job. thanks warthog for the tip about cutting the flowering end.

    I wonder where you work? for NIH? Do you do studies on probiotics? sounds as if you do.

    i believe any vegetable will do. yes, the texture will be like that marinated zucchini you get with roasted red peppers (in fancy salads).