Adding probiotics to your diet improves your health in a myriad of ways, but purchasing live, probiotic foods can get a lil’ spendy. Fortunately, pickling can be a super simple affair.
There’s even a special jar lid to turn any wide-mouth canning jar into your own personal pickling crock! This gadget is called the Perfect Pickler, and it is my new favorite kitchen toy. The Perfect Pickler is a screw-on plastic lid with an air lock, to let the good bacteria grow, without a bunch of complicated or expensive gear. Plus, a small batch lets you experiment without investing a whole day in the process of turning some extra cucumbers into amazing pickles. This recipe is super-speedy and exceedingly simple, so you can start growing your own probiotics in no time flat.
You will need a quart jar, enough fairly small cucumbers to fill the jar, some pickling spices, salt, and water. Having the Perfect Pickler lid makes it really a breeze, but I’ll include instructions for making Super Simple Pickles without the gadget, too.
- 6-8 thin cucumbers (or enough to fill a quart jar, without having to cut ’em)
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
- 1 Tablespoon pickling spices
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 stem fresh dill (or teaspoon dried)
- Pickling brine: 2 cups water plus 2 Tablespoons sea salt
To keep the pickles firm, presoak cucumbers in a mixture of 1/3 cup salt dissolved in 1 quart tap water for 30 minutes. Place a saucer over the cukes to keep submerged if needed. Rinse well.
To a (scrupulously) clean quart jar, add the rinsed cucumbers, garlic, spices, and herbs. Smoosh it all in there tight; that helps in the pickling process. Pour pickling brine over, to within 1 inch of jar rim, making sure all the veggies are covered.
Screw on the airlock lid and let it sit on your counter for 4-5 days. Then stick it in the fridge, and let it go for another few days. Ta-da! You’re done; that’s it, woo-hoo! You just made probiotic pickles for NOT ten dollars a jar!
If you don’t have a Perfect Pickler, you can loosely cover the jar with plastic wrap, secured around rim with a rubber band. (The idea here is to make it operate like a balloon, so no stretchy-tighty over the jar!) To allow fermenting gasses to escape, you may use a pin to poke a tiny hole in the center of the plastic wrap. You’ll want to check it often, and release excess air as needed until you replace wrap with a regular lid after fermentation.