Garden to Table: Homegrown Pickles

Someone on my Facebook page asked me to show a picture of my pickles when they were jarred– this after I’d posted the picture below with the caption ‘Time to make dillicious fermented pickles.’

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Here are a few pictures of the process I undertake to create my beautifully delicious, incredibly healthy, and quickly devoured fermented pickles.  While not a recipe per se, it’s obvious just how easy it is to ferment your own pickles with three ingredients, cucumbers, salt, and water, and I do give the ratio if you want to give this simplest combination a try.  

Following are some pictures of the homegrown ingredients with brief descriptions–from harvest to preparing, fermenting to eating.  Feel free to inquire in the comments if you’re interested in learning more.

I made two varieties of fermented pickles, garlic dill (using the ingredients pictured below)…

…and bread and butter.

While I’ve added in nasturtium seeds to the garlic dill batch, there’s great flexibility with add ins for either batch or any other fermented cucumbers/veg.  Carrots, yellow beans, hot or sweet peppers, tomatoes, seaweed, ginger, horseradish, and other roots, herbs, etc, all enhance flavour, colour, and texture to a mix as well as adding nutrients.  For pickles, I keep the ratio to around 90% cucumber, 10% other.  I always add in onion, yum, yum!

All that said, a simple brine of just 1 1/2 Tb fine grain or 2 Tb of coarse sea salt mixed with 4 cups warm filtered water and nothing but cucumbers would be just fine in an anaerobic environment (requiring an absence of free oxygen)  for a few days at room temperature.

I realize the food grade plastic 5 litre fermenting buckets with airlock on top aren’t all that beauteous and lack the aesthetic visual of glass Kilner or Ball jars, but they’re much more predictable and reliable which makes the finished ferments more consistent.

Here are some finished bread and butter pickles being jarred, soon to be eaten.  The pickles are transferred to glass jars that we store in the refrigerator to have on hand while the buckets have their own cool storage pantry.

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30 litres of pickles are done so far and the cucumber plants are probably good for another 10 to 15 litres more.  We like using them in homemade tartar sauce, in salads, on sandwiches, and on their own.  A bite of pickle with a bite of strong cheddar cheese is a very addictive combination and one of my favourite snacks for as long as I can remember.

Cheers to eating garden to table, cheers to full flavour foods, cheers to great gut health!

Cheers to you!  Melissa Xx

∗ Incidentally, since writing this I’ve pickled possibly the last of the cucumbers, another 14 litres for a grand total of 44 litres in all.  And I gave some cukes away.  Bumper crop cucumbers.

18 Comments

    • I work with a pair of lads, one from Ukraine, one from Poland, who I give my extra cucumbers to and they make their own pickles, recipes from their homeland. They share and they are soooo delicious, different from mine which I appreciate so much.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Yum! A pantry of pretty perfectly prepared pickles!! Have the kids say that 10 times really fast! Done with pickling for the season on this end, we have had a great cucumber and squash year, tomatoes too. great works as always, Melissa. Here the pantry is good and full as well now…. on to harvesting and preserving apples.By the way, watched a movie that was produced here and will try and get it over to you. A fellow Mainer ( Will Bonsell) was one of the farmers they filmed, a great documentary about seeds and seed saving. Perhaps I’ll see you in November…..I’ll let you know when I leave the farm and head your way! best to all of you!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi there Denise! It is hard to know when to stop preserving as the veg just keeps coming. I can compare it to the opposite end of the season relating to seedlings. There comes a point when we just have to give away or toss to the compost or chickens…either way, it’s very hard to part with the plant or it’s produce!

      I am travelling to America October 24th, returning on Nov 9th. Will you be there over that time? Visiting you is on my list! Please god it works out.

      That movie sounds very much like one I would enjoy. Tis the time of year for that very thing, seed saving, isn’t it?!

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      • Yes, I will be here and would love for you to visit!!!!! Always room here and it would most certainly be the highlight of October ( that and Noah’s 21st birthday, ha), Is everyone able to come along?…I’ll be heading for Ireland on November 4th. Whoo hoo!! So glad you’ll come to visit us here at Fernwood! keep me posted and send an email when you arrive state side. best to all! denise

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    • Ooh, pickled hot peppers sounds fab! Maybe some fermented hot sauce 😀 !! This is the first year I added the nasturtium seeds to a batch and they definitely add a unique flavour, but then how could they not being such a strong flavour to begin with? I hope you are enjoying yours.

      Liked by 1 person

    • A seriously big thank you for your appreciation of my fermenting paraphernalia! Nothing I love more after a night of working at the hotel then coming home to a quiet house and hearing it ‘blub blub’ as the gas gently escapes whilst germs and air are prevented from entering. That contraption has increased my fermenting enjoyment and success immensely. Cheers AJ!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You made this look so easy, I’m dying to try it. Fermented foods are so good for us. Next year we hope to have moved into the house we are renovating (which has a really long garden) and I can’t wait to get a veg patch sorted and get pickling. I love that you added nasturtium seeds, great idea.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ooh, your new house and garden plans sound like something to really look forward to! Nothing like your own veg, especially in the winter when there is nothing left to harvest but you have some in freezer and pantry. Best to you on the renovation journey!

      Liked by 1 person

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