It's cucumber time here in Austin and my sweet neighbor who grows hundreds of pounds has been gifting part of his harvest to the neighborhood, needless to say, I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. And this can only mean one thing, bring out the gallon-sized fermentation crock! Really any glass jar will do, but since in this recipe I'm leaving the cucumbers whole you might want at least a quart-sized container.
I kept the ingredients super simple, mostly because I didn't have much in my pantry when I started it, just had lots of garlic and red pepper flakes, and it came out so good! That's the coolest thing about fermenting, all the lactic acid being produced does most of the job in turning a mostly flavorless pickling cucumber into a crunchy sour and umami bite from heaven, in about 7 days.
For this kind of fermentation I make a saltier brine than usual for 2 reasons:
First, the saltier the brine the slower the fermentation, but it's the summer and heat
For this kind of fermentation I make a saltier brine than usual for 2 reasons: First, the saltier the brine the slower the fermentation, but it's the summer and heat speeds up fermentation, so a little extra salt balances things out. Second, I wanted a very sour bite and the salt will help in doing this. I'm using a 5.4% brine, in volume that is around 6 tablespoons salt to 2 quarts of water.
4 pounds pickling cucumber, washed
1 cup whole garlic
2 tbsp red pepper flakes
6 tablespoons sea salt
2 qt water
Prepare your brine by dissolving the salt in the water. Place the garlic in the the fermentation container first and then the cucumbers and the red pepper flakes, this will help keep the garlic submerged. Pour the brine over the cucumbers, the red pepper flakes will float, don't worry about this.
Place some type of weight over the cucumber to keep them under the brine, a small plate that can fit inside the mouth of the jar does a good job here. Cover the crock with a cloth or a lid and let time do its thing. After about 3 days start checking your ferment with washed hands, open the crock and skim if there is any visible mold. After about 5 days start tasting, my pickles where done in 7 days, but its fairly warm in my kitchen, yours might take 2 or more weeks.
When your desired sourness has been achieved move to the refrigerator where it will keep fermenting but a much slower rate.
If you make this recipe, I would love to see it - tag #themightyspoon on Instagram