5 from 1 vote
Dad’s Extra Crunchy Naturally Fermented Pickles

Recipe for the best homemade fermented pickles. Extra crunchy pickles made with a simple pickling brine.

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pickles
Servings: 12 servings
Author: Marina | Let the Baking Begin
Ingredients
  • 25 lbs pickling cucumbers 3-4 inch in length
  • 10 dry chili pods
  • 10-15 garlic cloves peeled, crushed or cut in pieces
  • 4-6 dill stalks (blooming dill)
  • 1 lbs horseradish root peeled, sliced in thin slices
  • 20 peppercorns
  • 10 grape leaves *optional
Brine:
  • Kosher/Pickling Salt + Water – 2 Tbsp salt for every 1 Qt water
Also:
  • Jars and lids sterilized
  • .
Instructions
  1. Wash the cucumbers, cover with cold iced water and leave for 30 minutes. Measure how much water is being added, to know how many quarts you need for the brine later. While the cucumbers are in icy water, peel and crush the garlic, peel and slice into thin slices the horseradish root. Wash the dill stalks. If you wish, you can trim the ends of the cucumbers. {leaving the cucumbers in icy water is the secret to maximizing the crunch. Just think about it this way – your pickles will be as crunchy in the end, as you make them before adding the brine.}
  2. You can allow the cucumbers to ferment in a bucket, or do this in individual jars.
To ferment in the jars,
  1. split the amount of garlic, horseradish root, chili peppers, peppercorns and dill between jars instead of putting everything in the bucket.
To ferment in a bucket:
  1. Put half the chili peppers, horseradish root, garlic, peppercorns and dill to the bottom of a thoroughly cleaned bucket. Remove cucumbers from the iced water and add on top. Add the remaining half of chilies, horseradish root, garlic, peppercorns and dill to the top.
  2. In a large pot boil the water for the brine. Add 2 tablespoons kosher or pickling salt for every quart (example: 5 quarts of water would need 10 tablespoons salt) water. Pour the brine into the bucket with cucumbers and dill. Place a clean flat plate on top. Put some kind of heavy object on top to weight it down submerging everything under the brine. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and leave in a dark place at room temperature for about 1 –2 weeks. It will take more or less time, depending on how warm your house is. You will want to start trying them around 1 week from the time you made them, to check if they’ve fermented enough. The water will turn cloudy and the pickles should taste sour and well fermented.
  3. If not planning to eat the pickles within couple weeks of making them, make sure to sterilize the jars and lids before you fill them.
To sterilize the jars:
  1. Put jars and lids through the washing cycle in the dish washer or wash thoroughly by hand. Put jars into the oven and turn it to 350F. Leave jars in the oven for 30 minutes. Put lids into a pot with water and boil for 15 minutes.
Fill jars with the pickles evenly distributing garlic, chili peppers and the horseradish root among the jars. Discard the dill. Putting chili peppers in the jars will make them very spicy over time. If you do not want them spicy, do not put them in the jars. Leave 1 inch head space in the jars, we need the space for the brine to cover the pickles.
  1. Bring the remaining brine to a boil and simmer for 1-2 minutes. Now fill the jars with the boiling hot brine. (if you plan to eat the pickles within couple weeks, stop with this step, put the lids and tighten them. Keep the jars refrigerated. If you want the pickles for long storage, continue with the instructions)
  2. Let the pickles sit with the brine for 10 minutes, then drain the brine back into the pot and bring to boil again. {Pouring the hot brine over cold pickles once makes the brine just warm and it’s not enough to kill the enzyme activity. If you don’t pour the hot brine twice the enzymes will continue fermenting the cucumbers even after you seal the jar and thus making them too sour}
  3. Pour the brine over the pickles again covering by about 1/2-1 inches. Close with lid and allow to cool.
  4. Store in a dark place until ready to eat. Refrigerate the jar with pickles when ready eat, for best flavor and crunch