Our Season's First Lacto-Fermented Garlic Dill Pickles

Holy crap I love pickles. I don't care if Portlandia made it funny and fashionable to bash the brine lovers of the world, I wear my pickle pride ... with pride. And so, when I saw that Cousin Lisa had crates of cucumbers for sale at the Dorset Farmers' Market last Sunday, I blurted out, "Holy crap I love pickles!"

She stopped and looked at me suspiciously, and rightly so. I was in a bit of a tail-spin pickle rage.

You see, I always knew pickling to be a Fall activity. To avoid late Spring frosts here in Vermont, we plant our garden on June 1st. And so, pickle-able vegetables (cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, beans, carrots, etc.) were never available until August or September. But...Cousin Lisa has greenhouses, a green thumb, and some Hogwarts-level organic wizardry skillz.

Needless to say, I took home a LOT of cucumbers and garlic scapes.

I decided to lacto-ferment this batch because it gave me an excuse to use my new pickling crock. (I love vinegar pickles as well, of course, but I find lacto-fermenting to be "way cooler" since that's how the REAL GUYS pickle.)

My favorite recipe for lacto-fermented garlic dill sour pickles is from Sandor Katz's book, Wild Fermentation. I recommend you buy two copies. Read one, share one. Pickle the other. The recipe I use is on Sandor's web site here: Making Sour Pickles.

Here's a quick gallery of how I do it in my chaotic kitchen.

Garlic Scapes

Chopped Garlic Scapes


Cucumbers in brine

Waiting for fermentation

Water, salt, pepper, garlic scapes, FRESH DILL, cucumbers, and time—that's all it takes. It's old school technology—which, as you know, we love here at Studio Hill.

In a week I will pop off the top of the crock and take a sample. The amount of time that the fermentation process requires will vary with the temperature of the room. Once they are perfectly garlicked, dilled, and salty, I will jar them up and put them into the refrigerator to slow the fermentation.

I recommend a pickle a day to keep your gut bacteria healthy. Or, if they're small pickles, 70.