Sour Pickles — 37 Comments

  1. By cutting off the blossom end of the cucumber you will have crisp pickles. Cutting the end off does something that stops the pickles from getting soft. I used to get mushy pickles till I started doing this.
    Happy pickling

    • Good advice, Bert. I’ve always done this and never had mushy pickles.
      The science behind it is that the mould that causes the mushiness is found on the rotting blossom, thus cutting a little bit off this end and gently washing the cukes should keep you safe.
      By the way, don’t ever try those pickle crisping powders (aluminum?) – gives the pickles a really weird taste!

  2. Supergod Pickles

    * Large Mason Jar and BPA Free Lid
    * 20 drops Ionic Magnesium Minerals
    * 1/2 tsp concentrated Living Silica
    * 1 Capsule Probiotic Bacteria 16 strain
    * 10 drops of Concentrated Fulvic Acid fortified with Boron/Zinc.
    * 2 tbs of Organic Liquid Aminos
    * 4 ounces of Braggs Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
    * 2 tbs of Sole Liquid Salt

    Added with the regular Basic Formula

  3. Just started a batch of these. I know things vary but about how long? I’m using an airlock so I’d rather not break it until they are close. Thanks.

    • A week to 10 days is pretty good, but if you’ve got a healthy airlock ferment going, then I’d give it a 3-4 weeks to get nice and sour. Let us know how it comes out. Thanks Lulu

      • OK, so that didn’t work.
        Colleagues said it’s because I used tap water, which I guess makes sense. So I’ve done a new 2L batch with purchased distilled water. Plus I put in a couple of tbsp of sauerkraut liquid.
        Fingers crossed, again, but if this doesn’t work then I’m not wasting any more good picking cucumbers!

          • They looked right but tasted horrible.

            But this 3rd batch is working! Day 3 and I tested one. Crisp and mildly tangy so I’ll leave them another few days and try again. And I was so bolstered by my success that I started another batch!

          • Hey Lulu, that’s great news. Your persistence seems to be paying off! I met a Korean woman at a fermentation festival who demonstrated actually pouring boiling water over her cucumber pieces before allowing them to ferment into Cucumber Kimchi. Everyone watching was a bit aghast, but it’s quite possible that the boiling water might kill a certain bacteria that causes problems in fermenting cucumbers while not killing the necessary ones. I can’t say for certain, but that approach might help in stubborn situations with making sour pickles.

  4. I started a batch today. I do I have to tightly seal the container? I loosely covered it to avoid any spill- overs and to avoid”burping” the pickles. What do you recommend?

    • I wouldn’t tightly seal unless you have some sort of an airlock involved to allow gasses to escape. You can place a lid on top like a plate but one which again allows gasses to escape.

  5. Upon transferring my pickles to smaller mason jars and into the refrigerator all my pickles floated to the top. A few are a bit above the brine. Is this going to cause problems over the next few months. If so, do you have any suggestions on how to keep them subnurged, I will have way too many jars to purchase weights for all of them. Thank you!!

    • You probably won’t have problems if they are refrigerated. If you are concerned about keeping them submerged without buying a bunch of weights, you can fill small ziplock bags with some water and place on top. Good luck!

    • Bread and Butter pickles are sweeter as far as I know and there is an addition of sugar to the recipe. Those aren’t my expertise as I prefer the old fashioned sour pickle more. Not sure if those are fermented, or simply pickled in vinegar with added sugar. You of course could slice these in whatever manner you wish. Adding larger quantities of sugar to a fermented pickle recipe could really create an active ferment. Not sure what would happen with that. Good luck and thanks for writing!

  6. Made kosher garlic green tomato style, lined crock with grape leaves, heel of dark rye bread on top, covered with more grape leaves… Best i’ve ever had.

    • They’ll keep better in the fridge. The longer you keep them out, the more chance that yeast will begin to grow on the surface of the water. If out of the brine, then mold might set in if left out of the fridge.

    • In the old days people would store fermented things such as pickles or sauerkraut in the room. The difference though is with wood heat and possibly drafty houses there were cool/cold corners in the kitchen or dining room and those corners are where they would put them. Todays modern houses, even older ones with space heaters do not have that so things should be either canned (don’t know how it would work with these pickles) or stored in the fridge.

  7. Could you leave silicone airlocks, rings, and weights on mason jar pickles in fridge, or what do you recommend instead?

      • I’m not sure what happened. Although firm is good, they shouldn’t really smell bad. You’ll need to use your own judgment as to whether they are edible. If they’re sour enough, maybe you can stop the ferment by pouring out the brine, rinsing them off and then storing them in another brine. That might get rid of the odor. Again, your own best judgment is key.

  8. These were the best pickles i have made, I did make a mistake with the second batch using the liquid and not replacing the grape leaves or adding more salt. I only did 3 cucumbers each batch, this was not a good year for me with cucumbers. Any recommendation on starting the second batch and using the liquid from the first?

    • Congrats on the good batch of pickles. Well done! I honestly haven’t tried using liquid from a previous batch in starting a new batch. Often in ferments there are multiple stages of fermentation where different bacteria dominate at different phases. Not sure if that’s true in the case of sour pickles. So unfortunately I can’t advise. Safest to start over but if you try reusing the brine, please write back and let us all know how it turns out.

  9. It really is amazing how results can vary so much. A YouTube video indicated a 7% brine and my pickles were garlicky and just slightly sour after 3 weeks but 1 (of 2) jarful had to be thrown as the fermentation was in too warm an environment (which the video indicated was okay) plus some of the cukes floated above surface and got moldy. I am now on my 2nd batch. The recipe I used specifies a 5% brine. I put in less garlic, more pickling spices, bay leaves, and peppercorns, but forgot the dill. After 3 weeks the pickles are still crunchy but extremely garlicky and spicy and absolutely no sourness. Reading what the problem could be resulted in a gamut of possibilities. Some say the stronger the brine the more sour the pickles will be. But my pickles have 0 sourness. Could it be the lack of dill? The fermentation temperature? Not much choice on this living in the Philippines other than the air conditioned bedroom. The type of cuke? Again, not much choice living in a country that apparently believes one variety of anything is enough (not joking too much about this). I’d be very happy just buying sour pickles but I lived here a year before I found jarred dill pickles so getting sours just ain’t gonna happen. I’m bummed because we were finally able to get some smaller, younger cukes.

    • Hey Dave. I usualky recommend a 4% brine for sour pickles which is about 2TBSP salt per 4 cups water. Not sure why you didn’t get any sourness. The dill shouldn’t have affected the sourness at all. I suppose if the cubes were scrubbed too clean or irradiated or something that sterilized them then perhaps there wouldn’t be any bacteria to transform the pickles. The brine is really to protect the environment from other microorganism growth. Tooooo much salt and I imagine all bacterial growth would probably cease. Perhaps just give it more time and see what happens. The cooler the environment, the longer it will take.

  10. Your recipe ( not the artical) says to cut off the STEM end of the cuke. I thought it was the flower end tat needed to be trimmed.
    Might want to check the recipe here.

  11. Hi there! I just put some super nice cukes in a clear glass 1 gallon jar, it has a metal bail
    and a glass lid on it, so it would be quite difficult to use any type of fermentation lock that
    I have seen….it works just fine as long as I burp it a couple times per day, used it many times
    without any issues! Love the recipe, and the sour style pickles and the for many years!
    Thank you…..

    My message is to ask, why this time, I only had fermentation bubbles for aprx. one day, it’s
    a short period of time in comparison to several other batches that had a lot of bubbling
    action with. I remember from prior batches, bubbling usually continues for several days!
    Is this going to potentially cause some problems? If so, too early to check with just a taste,
    what would or could that cause to occur, and what would be a remedy for any anticipated
    problem. Thanks for a reply,…..Rick

  12. Love this recipe…just started my first batch in a sterilized flower vase that had a wide mouth. I put a plastic shower cap type thing which is sold for jars around the top…this allowed gasses to escape and spill over to drip into a bowl. Used a ziplock bag with water as a weight…they are looking good thus far. Time will tell. Only thing different was that I used Celtic Salt, which is technically mineral rich sea salt….

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