This recipe is my favorite way to use up the abundant squash and zucchinis at this time of year. And, you can even reuse the brine and spices for another batch once the pickles are gone.
Fermented Bread and Butter Pickles
Makes 1 quart
- 3-4 medium cucumbers (OR zucchinis or summer squash*)
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- ~20 celery leaves, a stalk of celery, OR a 1/4 tsp of dried celery seed
- 1/2 cup raw mild honey
- 1/2 cup raw apple cider vinegar
- 1.5 Tb celtic sea salt
- 2 Tb whey
- 1 Tb pickling spice**
- Equipment needed: quart mason jar or Fido jar, rock for weighing down the cucumbers (boil the rock in water for several minutes to make sure it is very clean), cloth tea bag (optional)
- In a medium bowl, combine mustard powder, honey, vinegar, salt, and whey. Stir well to dissolve the honey and salt. You may need to leave this sitting for an hour or two to get everything to dissolve and combine well.
- Wash the cucumbers and celery well.
- Remove and discard the ends from the cucumbers. Slice the cucumbers evenly; I've used my favorite knife, a mandoline, or the food processor and they all worked wonderfully.
- Add the celery leaves/stalk (if using) to the bottom of the jar.
- Put the pickling spice and celery seed into a cloth tea bag. This makes it so that you won't have spices stuck to the pickles when it is time to eat them. If you don't have a cloth tea bag, you could just put the spices in the bottom of your jar.
- Add the cucumber slices to the jar, packing them down tightly. Put in the cloth bag of spices around the middle of the jar and then keep packing in the cukes.
- Pour the honey/vinegar mixture over the cucumber slices.
- Pack down the cucumbers so that they are covered by the liquid. If your cucumbers keep floating up to the top, try weighing them down. I use a rock from my yard to hold the cukes down (I originally boiled the rock in water for a few minutes to make sure it was nice and clean, and then cooled it down before putting it on top of the cucumbers.) There should be at least 1-inch of head space at the top of the jar.
- Scrape any spices or cucumber bits that are stuck to the jar back down into the liquid. Then use a clean cloth or paper towel to wipe the inside of the jar above the liquid. (This will help in making sure that the ferment works well and no funky stuff grows at the top of the jar.)
- Put a lid on the jar and leave at room temperature for 2 days; then transfer to the refrigerator. You can taste-test a pickle slice to make sure they are ready before moving them to the fridge. If you'd like them a little more pickled, leave them out for another day.
- Enjoy! Once your pickles are all gone, don't throw out that brine and the remaining spices. Rather, chop some more cucumbers, pack 'em into a clean jar, pour the brine/spices over them, and ferment again! The flavor of the second batch will be a little muted, but still totally tasty!
**I buy Frontier brand mild pickling spice from the bulk section at the natural foods store. The pickling spice is a mixture of organic yellow mustard, organic cinnamon chips, organic allspice, organic dill seed, organic celery seed, organic bay leaf, organic mild chilies, organic cloves, organic caraway, and organic ginger root.
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