Homemade Pickle Recipe


Homemade Pickles

Yesterday, I read a blog sent to me by Kelly the Kitchen Kop about Fermented Cranberries. I was enchanted by the idea, because my favorite part of a holiday meal is cranberry sauce, and I had never heard of fermenting them. In the comments on the post, I found this:

Right now on the counter I have 2 gallons of curried sauerkraut, 1 gallon of ginger carrots, 1/2 gallon of pickles, 1 quart of preserved lemons, and 1/2 quart of this cranberry relish (we ate the rest on Thanksgiving.) They look so pretty – guests often ask about them and it turns into a chance to share with others how nutritious and easy to make these are.–Avivah, Oceans of Joy blog

This was such an inspiring word picture, that I am now thinking about how all these colorful, preserved foods would look on my kitchen counter! Here is the link to the Ocean’s of Joy blogger’s recipe for curried carrot sauerkraut.

Today, I want to share Sally Fallon’s Pickled Cucumbers Recipe. I still am enjoying these pickles that I fermented last fall with fresh dill from my herb garden. The big jar is sitting prominently in our refrigerator, and I have a proud grin whenever I see them. It sits right next to a colorful jar of Amish made Kimchi, which we have been serving room temperature as a side dish for the pork roast I made this weekend.

By the way, my buddy Alex Lewin is a fermenting fan up in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and he is all pumped up about the Kimchi Festival there this weekend. He blogged about the Boston Globe article about the upcoming event, the other day, A Spicy Cabbage Patch.


Homemade Salsa

Fermented foods are making a big comeback! I think it is because they are so rewarding, and last so long. Here is my previous post about lacto-fermented salsa, Confetti in a Jar. I made this in the summer and ate it through December. Even when it turned a little frizzily toward the end, I added the last of it to a crockpot chuck roast and it gave a wonderful flavor to the stewed meat.

Sally Fallon’s Pickled Cucumbers

4-5 pickling cucumbers or 15-20 gherkins
1 TBL mustard seeds
2 TBL fresh dill, snipped
1 TBL sea salt
4 BL whey (or an additional 1 TBL salt)
1 cup filtered water

Wash cucumbers well and place in a quart-sized, wide-mouth mason jar. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over cucumbers, adding more water if necessary to cover the cucumbers. The top of the liquid should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 3 days before transferring to cold storage.

I have to tell you, when I served these pickles at a cook out with my friend Leslie and her children, the kids were a little leery of the dill weed in the jar. “What’s that stuff?” they asked suspiciously. When I explained that it was dill fresh from my garden, they relaxed and dove into the pickle jar. And, dove again. They loved the pickles, and I realized that store bought pickles don’t have herbs floating in them, so naturally a home brewed batch is going to seem a little weird, at first.

But the taste is so good, they soon forgot about their trepidation, and dove in for seconds!

And, I got the satisfaction.


Dill Pickles and Kimchi Flanked by Farm Fresh Milk


Nourishing Traditions is available in the books sections of our Resources page.

Kimberly Hartke is the publicist for Sally Fallon Morell, author of Nourishing Traditions.

This post is part of Real Food Wednesday blog carnival. See more tasty morsels on Kelly the Kitchen Kop!


  1. Seriously, your pickles from last summer haven’t gone soft yet? Maybe mine went soft and mushy because they were spears rather than the whole pickle? I’ve found a source for grape leaves, so this summer, I shall try again!
    .-= Paula´s last blog ..75/365 Bullfrog Closeup =-.

  2. These look really good! I’m looking forward to trying them once my garden pickles come in. I can’t justify making them when cukes in the store are .50 each!
    .-= Laryssa @ Heaven In The Home´s last blog ..Planning The Garden =-.

  3. Hi, Kimberly! I just bought a bunch of cucumbers last night with the intent to make some lacto fermented pickles, and I noticed your post for Real Food Wednesdays so I came to see how you were making yours! It was a nice surprise to see that something I said months ago was inspiring for you. πŸ™‚

    Paula, did you know you can also use oak leaves or strawberry leaves (from the plant) instead of grape leaves to keep your ferments from getting mushy? They may not be any more accessible for you than grape leaves right now, though! πŸ™‚
    .-= Avivah @ Oceans of Joy´s last blog ..Musings on bone structure and beef liver =-.

  4. Paula,
    I do think you would have better luck if you pickled whole pickles rather than spears.
    Something you could try is an old German way of keeping the pickles crisp –
    putting a small chunk of raw horseradish root into the jar just before you start fermenting the pickles. This has worked very well for me.
    .-= Stanley A Fishman´s last blog ..Who Was Weston A. Price? =-.

  5. Thanks Avivah & Stanley for the tips! I tried the oak tree leaves last summer and I didn’t find it made a difference. I didn’t know about the strawberry leaves or horseradish though.
    .-= Paula´s last blog ..75/365 Bullfrog Closeup =-.

  6. From what I heard from Roberta Flack, of Flack Family Farms in Vermont, is that pickles go mushy when the salt amount is not right. She also said that vegetables wont pickle if they are “not well mineralized.” They do a lot of fermentation of cabbage, etc. for sale in Vermont. I think their website is interesting. http://www.flackfamilyfarms.com

  7. I wanted to comment about the leaves for lacto fermenting. In Poland they use cherry leaves too. The leaves provide tannins. I notice our local Russian store, which sells pickles and cabbage lacto fermented, put cranberries in the cabbage which keeps it really nicer and crisp.

  8. Interesting that you don’t use vinegar? Do the pickles still have the same tang. Guesss I’ll just have to try!

  9. Kimberly Hartke says:

    Yes they do! The lactic acid makes the tang.

  10. Wow, thanks for all that interesting information about fermented vegies. I’m going to use all those handy hints when making mine.

  11. Is there any way to make sweet fermented pickles?

  12. Mmm, dill pickles!

    Come share your post in our Grow Your Own roundup this month. Full details at

    .-= Nate @House of Annie´s last blog ..Belacan Fried Chicken =-.

  13. Hi!
    I’m rather new to lacto-fermenting and had a question – I see in the recipe (and many in NT) that you can substitute salt for the whey. How does this affect the taste and nutrition of the pickles (or whatever else you are fermenting ;)?
    Thanks so much!

  14. Kimberly Hartke says:

    Ok, I am not an expert either, but I but some of my readers might have a response for you. Anyone?

  15. What can I do with the leftover brine? It’s not possible to stick fresh cucumbers in old brine and hope they pickle up, is it? Do I just pour it down the sink? I know it’s not a big loss – just wanting to know … I made a small jar of these pickles – five in all, wanted to be sure it was good before going out and buying giant pickling jars. Great success!

  16. Sophie, I don’t know the answer. I am throwing mine away.

    This is what Monica Corrado of Simply Being Well says, “Drink it! Pickle juice is a wonderful digestive aid like sauerkraut juice. Take small sips (a couple of ounces) rather than drinking down a whole glass, though. You can also use the juice as a starter culture. Add two inches or so to the bottom of your pickling jar, then proceed with the recipe, add your water, salt and whey. Then make your next batch of pickles! Finally, you can add the juice as a condiment to soups right before serving (and after the soup has cooled down a bit). The pickle juice adds wonderful pro-biotic enzymes to your soup, much like creme fraiche would.”

    Great info, Monica! Thanks for helping me answer this question!


  17. Since Bragg’s apple cider vinegar is pre-fermented and living, I use a traditional Scandinavian recipe to make ‘Cucumber Salad’ – Score the cucumbers and slice them very thin, and dress with ACV, raw honey and some pure water and season with good salt and white pepper. Best after a day or so in the frig. No, I didn’t measure, so just wing it! They are really tasty! Not sure how long they last (always a problem with my fermented pickles), but I have the remains of a salad in the frig from some weeks ago so I can check.


  1. […] today, my cooking style is less is more. I have learned how to make my own homemade pickles. They are so easy to do! And, my husband and I still go to the market together, though these days […]

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