Making sour fermented pickles is easier than it seems. Pickles ferment in a simple brine for about a week until they are half or full sour to your preference. Fermenting pickles is a great way to preserve the summer harvest!
If you’ve ever eaten a pickle in a Jewish deli, you know the wonder of a full-sour or half-sour pickle. These are fermented pickles, and they are easy to make at home. Simply put pickling cucumbers in a large jar with dill, garlic, and coriander. Add enough salted water to submerge the cucumbers. Let the jars sit on the counter for 4-10 days, and you will have a batch of fermented pickles.
The story of pickles in our home is very complex. I grew up eating your basic dill pickles out of the jar. It was a major revelation when I discovered bread and butter pickles at a friend’s house. I never gave pickles or pickle recipes much thought.
My husband was raised on Long Island in New York. His family is Jewish. He grew up eating half-sour and full sour pickles from the kosher deli, probably made right on the premises.
When we got married, our pickle histories collided. Seriously. Pickles (or the lack of them) are a BIG DEAL around here! I refer to my husband as a “pickle snob” because he will not anything other than a full sour pickle.
Full and Half Sour Fermented Pickles Recipe
Full sours are hard to come by in our grocery stores; even if I can find them, they are expensive. It turns out that making fermented pickles is really easy and we’ve been making them ourselves for years.
What are Fermented Sour Pickles?
If you grew up around a Jewish deli, you probably have eaten fermented pickles. The delis call them full-sour or half-sour pickles, depending on how long the cucumbers ferment. If you are more used to the jars of pickles in the grocery store, or ones called dill pickles, those are seasoned pickles.
Fermented Pickles RecipePin For Later
Fermented Sour Pickle Ingredients:
- Pickling cucumbers – these are smaller than your normal grocery store cucumbers. We’ve used some from Costco but find that getting them at a farmer’s market is the best option for great pickles.
- Salt – we used sea salt.
- Water – tap water is fine.
- Fresh dill
- Coriander – whole works best, but you can use ground in a pinch.
- Garlic – use as much garlic as you can handle.
- Whole Black Peppercorns
How to Make Fermented Pickles
Start by cleaning the cucumbers, especially if you got them from a farm. The last thing you want is dirt in your pickle jar.
Layer the clean cucumbers, dill, garlic, pepper, and coriander into a glass jar. You’ll want to fill the jar about half full and then add half the spices. Put all of the dills on top of the first layer. Add the rest of the cucumbers until the jar is stuffed full.
In a bowl or a large measuring cup with a spout, dissolve 1/4 cup of salt into every 6 cups of water. You may need to make more salt water depending on how big your jar is or how many jars of pickles you are making. Just keep the ratio of 1/4 cup salt to every 6 cups of water.
Carefully pour the water into the jar with the cucumbers. You will want to go to the very top of the jar so that all the cucumbers are submerged in the brine.
If you don’t have enough cucumbers to fill your jar, you can use a plastic storage bag full of water to submerge the cucumbers fully. Fill the bag with water and seal it.
Carefully put it in the jar on top of the cucumbers. Put the lid on the jar and close it very lightly. You want to leave enough space for the fermenters to get in. Set the jars aside on your counter.
After a few days, check the top of the jars. You will notice a briny scum on top. Use a spoon to remove it carefully. After about 4 days, the scum will stop appearing.
When are Fermented Pickles ready to eat?
The pickles will take about 4-10 days to ferment. If you like half-sour, then start checking at about the 4-day mark. We let this batch sit for about a week, and they were still half-sour. Ten days is better for full sour, depending on the heat of your kitchen.
- Pickling cucumbers, as many as you have, at least 2 pounds
- 6 cups water
- 1/4 cup sea salt
- 5 garlic cloves per every 2 lbs of cucumbers, sliced
- 1 teaspoon coriander per every 2 lbs cucumbers
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorn per every 2 lbs cucumbers
- 3 fronds dill per every 2 pounds cucumbers
- Place cucumber,s garlic, coriander, peppercorn, and dill in a large food-safe container.
- In a bowl dissolve salt in water. Pour salty water over the pickles and spices.
- Fill a quart or gallon-sized freezer bag about half full of water. Place on top of the pickles to keep them covered with salt water.
- Cover lightly and set aside.
- In a few days, scum will start to form at the top of the water. Use a slotted spoon to remove.
- Pickles will be half-sour in about 4-7 days and full-sour in about 7-10 days. Remove the water bag and any additional scum. Refrigerate, and pickles will keep for a few months.