Pickled Cucumbers - The Fermented Foody

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Pickled Cucumbers

This recipe is one of my all time favourites and a staple in the Fermented Foody fridge.

In the meantime, here’s how you make the most delicious cucumber pickles, wallies, gherkins (or whatever you call them) without using vinegar. This way, you’ll also be eating a probiotic snack every time you open that jar and reach for a bite. Good, huh? 😉

Pickled Cucumbers

Gather Your Goodies

Vegetable Culture Starter (You will need to search for one on the internet. You will need one for this recipe, because cucumbers have high water content and go to mush easily in ferments. I use 1/3 packet for this ferment. Check the instructions on the brand you choose, for how much powder to use for a particular size jar.)

550 g Cucumbers

1 1/2 Tablespoons Sea Salt (I use more salt in this recipe than any other, again because of the high water content of cucumbers. They don’t taste very salty though, so don’t worry. Much of the salt remains in the water.)

2 Teaspoons Coriander Seeds

1 Teaspoon Dried Dill

1/2 Teaspoon Juniper Berries

1/2 Teaspoon Mixed or Black Peppercorns

1/2 Garlic Clove (Small – Unless you like strong garlic!)

It’s Action Time!






Chop your cucumber into several longish chunks. Chop each chunk lengthways into quarters.














Place all the cucumber sticks into a jar.












Prepare your culture starter by pouring it into a jar with a little filtered/mineral water. (Water filtered in a jug isn’t sufficient – it needs to be a filtered system if you’re using that type of water.)

Stir the two together and leave for a few minutes, to allow the culture to wake up.












Mix the rest of your ingredients together in a dry bowl.












Use any of the following:

Grape, oak, raspberry, blackberry, black tea, mesquite or horseradish leaves. Don’t use cherry leaves. They have poisonous qualities that are not fit for human consumption. You’re basically looking for a leaf containing tannin, that’s safe to eat. You don’t want to use much because it creates a bitter flavour. I use enough to comfortably cover the ferment and that works perfectly.

If you use blackberry leaves you will need to remove every thorn, including those along the stem. It’s a prickly job and I wear gloves for it! I’ve recently used vine leaves and they are much simpler, although not always easy to source.

I find if I make several jars of pickles at the end of the blackberry season, those leaves will transfer okay across to new ferments throughout the winter and will still help the cucumber pickles to stay crunchy. You’ll need to experiment with this one, if you’re using different leaves and don’t have access to them throughout the year.







Pour both your wet and then dry ingredients on top of the pickles, top with the leaves and shut the lid. Leave for around 3 days. Keep testing. You will know when they have changed texture and are crunchy pickles. They’re delicious!!















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About the Author Sarah Jackson

I love to experiment with food, write poetry, read, walk in nature, take iphone photographs, sing, cycle, watch good movies, documentaries, dramas and comedy.

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Leave a Comment:

Carol Tomlin says

Can’t wait to try this! Maybe add a little jalapeño instead of the juniper berries 🙂
Can I pickle eggs this way?

    Sarah Jackson says

    Yes, Carol, if you enjoy ‘hot’ tastes, then throw in some jalapeños! I prefer less spice, so I play cautious with hot additions myself!

    Regarding eggs, I haven’t tried it this way. To be honest, even though it’s very rare, eggs can produce botulism when handled the wrong way and I don’t want to take any risks myself or promote something that could go wrong for others.

    I’m perfectly happy with fresh eggs. I did pickle some once in homemade apple cider vinegar and they all went rather grey. They went in the bin! I’m sure a pasteurised vinegar could be different. However, see the link below.

    I like experimenting. After reading more about pickling eggs, I made a decision not to bother.

    This is a link to a case of botulism:


Corinne Rodrigues says

Lovely! I made this today, Sarah minus the juniper berries (have to figure out an equivalent) and the leaves. Also, I cut the cucumbers round as they were a little curly! 🙂

    Sarah Jackson says

    Hi Corinne, I’ve adjusted the suggestions for which leaves to use. It should give you a guide as to how to go looking for an alternative. Leaves are necessary to create the crunch in the pickle. With them, they’ll last months in the fridge and still be crunchy. They will tend to go softer without. I hope this helps. 🙂

Wendy Tomlinson says

They look so fresh and summery in the mason jars.

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