5 Tips to Ensure Crunchy Probiotic Pickles

Mushy pickles. The bane of the home-fermenters existence. No one likes slimy, mushy pickles. No one. 

So what's a fermenter to do? I get asked this pretty regularly in my local fermentation classes or just through people messaging me on my LittleOwlCrunchyMomma Facebook page.  

No need to worry! If Bubbies can make a fermented crunchy pickle every time, you can too!

Here are my:

5 Simple Tips to Ensure Crunchy Pickles

  1. Use small cucumbers. Make sure that the pickles you are using are specifically pickling cucumbers. The larger, fresh eating ones simply won't cut it if you want to ensure a crunchy pickle.
  2. Use SUPER fresh cucumbers. As fresh as you can possibly find.
  3. Add tannins. This step is extremely important for ensuring crunchy pickles. You can find tannins in lots of different plants, but typically for making pickles I use use either a few fresh grape leaves or a 1/4-1/2 tsp black tea leaves for a quart-size jar. 
  4. Use cold cucumbers. I've heard of people soaking their cucumbers in an ice bath before they ferment them. Even if you don't go that far, just make sure that your pickles aren't limp from being warm before you ferment them. 
  5. Trim off the blossom ends of the cucumbers. You don't need to trim off much, just the very tip. Why? On the blossom end of pickles there is an enzyme that can make the cucumbers slimy. I actually trim off both ends just for good measure. 

Those are my tips. I've found that if I do all five, I always end up with crunchy pickles. Sometimes I get away with only a few, and still get crunchy pickles. But that's a gamble...

If I've learned anything in my (almost) ten years being around fermentation fanatics, it's that everybody swears by their own tricks. So what's yours?

Wanting to learn more about FERMENTATION? 

Check out these books I use and love!

Wanting to have on hand a simple guide to all things fermented? This is THE book for your kitchen. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Fermenting Foods covers the basics of everything from simples cheeses, meats, vegetables, fruits, sourdough, simple beer, kombucha and much more. The recipes are very easy to follow, and most contain variations to give you room to play end experiment. I reference this book ALL the time for both information as well as recipes. I cannot recommend it highly enough. If you could only have one book on fermentation, this is the one I would suggest. 
This book, The Art of Fermentation: An In-Depth Exploration of Essential Concepts and Processes from around the Worldby Sandor Katz (author of Wild Fermentation) will take your grasp of fermentation to the next level and beyond. It is a veritable tome of fermentation knowledge. This is not the book to have if you are looking for recipes. It is however the book to have if you want to know a little more about all things fermentation. It contains history, lore, science, and a cultural overview as well as tips for making and selling ferments. I love this book. I use this book both as a reference for information and for kitchen inspiration.

True Brews: How to Craft Fermented Cider, Beer, Wine, Sake, Soda, Mead, Kefir, and Kombucha at Homeis your go-to book for learning about beverage ferments. It covers everything from homemade ciders to beer, wine, kombucha, soda pop and much more. As the cover shows, it has absolutely gorgeous images that will inspire you! The recipes are laid out in a straightforward manner, and there are trouble-shooting sections that are very helpful when you have questions or when something doesn't go quite the way you thought it would in your fermentation kitchen.

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Photo sources for collage: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 

Natural Family Friday- 9/19/14

Natural Family Friday - weekly linkup and blog hop for natural and real food bloggers


Welcome to Natural Family Friday where we feature information, how-to articles, and recipes that help our families live a bit more intentionally. Our goal is to help every family take steps toward creating a natural, Eco friendly home, utilizing natural remedies, eating healthy foods, and practicing positive, attachment based parenting. If you're a blogger, we invite you to share one of your articles or recipes that will help readers and fellow bloggers.

Your Hosts

The following blogs host Natural Family Friday every week. You are welcome to linkup at any of these blogs each week. If you linkup at one blog, your link will be displayed on all blogs!

This Week's Featured Articles:

Every week we feature the top 3 posts from the previous week's linkup. Make sure you vote for your favorites this week! 1. Cranberry Applesauce by Purposeful Nutrition
Cranberry Applesauce by Purposeful Nutrition - featured at Natural Family Friday
  2. DIY Baby Wash by Timber Creek Farm
DIY Baby Wash by Timber Creek Farm - featured at Natural Family Friday
  3. Planting the Fall Garden by Chickadee Homestead
Planting the Fall Garden by Chickadee Homestead - featured at Natural Family Friday

Natural Family Friday Linkup

Here's what to link to...
  • Healthy Recipes
  • Natural / Green Living Tips
  • Attachment Parenting Info
  • Organic Gardening Tips
  • Natural Health and Remedies

Natural Family Friday Rules:

  1. Please only link to posts that are relevant to natural living. No giveaways, product promotions, diets, religious posts, etc! These will be automatically deleted.
  2. Recipes must contain only real food ingredients. No†artificial sweeteners, food additives, etc.
  3. Please update your post with a link back to this post†(not our homepage). Something like ìThis post is featured at Natural Family Fridayî will suffice.
  4. Please link to a blog post, not your blogís homepage.
One more thingFollow us on Pinterest where we will pin our favorite submissions to the Natural Family Friday pin board.
Don't forget to spread the word :)

Pin it:

Natural Family Friday - weekly linkup and blog hop for natural and real food bloggers

Now for the Links!

The Resilient Gardener by Carol Deppe

The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times by Carol Deppe is one of the best gardening "how-to" books that I have ever read. Along with Steve Soloman's Gardening West of the Cascades, Deppe's book is a must have for any gardener in the Pacific Northwest

But while Soloman's book is only of passing interest to those gardening outside of this bio-region, Deppe's work has much to recommend it to a wider audienceShe combines philosophical insight with the taste of a gourmet chef and a dash of prepper paranoia for good measure. Deppe has her Ph.D. in biology from Harvard and she knows her plants. 

The book focuses what she believes are the three plants (plus eggs) that will get us through hard times (whether they be from a job loss or a societal collapse). For each of the three (potatoes, beans, and corn) she gives detailed instructions and general principles about all aspects of growing, storing, consuming and propagating. Deppe includes recipes that take into account the intrinsic qualities of the produce and bring out the best flavors. She has totally revolutionized my relationship with duck eggs and I am excited to try more of her ideas out in the kitchen.

The most interesting sections of The Resilient Gardener come in the form of Deppe's meditations on diet, climate change, gardener-plant relations and personal anecdotes. She has much to offer the casual gardener on a general level and her writing is engaging, if at times a bit acid and strongly opinionated.

I strongly recommend this book to all gardeners, whether novice or expert, and if you garden in the Pacific Northwest and don't read this book I don't know what your doing with your life. If your at all interested in personal resilience or anarchy this book is also well worth your time.

Deppe has a personal website where she sells seed specifically adapted to our bio-region, blogs and curates Taoist parables, you should check it out at www.caroldeppe.com. I am looking forward to her next book coming out this fall titled The Tao of Gardening.

or, if your feeling lucky, enter the giveaway below!

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