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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.

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.