Fermented pickles recipe questions

(Bob M) #1

I made my first batch of fermented pickles, using some store-bought pickles and some from our plants.

This is an Alton Brown recipe that I used:


He recommends about 1 week for fermenting.

But this:

Recommends 3-4 weeks of fermentation.

What gives? 1 week or 3-4 weeks? Or just taste after a week or so, and take them out when they taste good?


start testing after a week - you want to make sure you slow or stop the fermentation when the pickles reach desired taste or they end up slimy and soft.

I ferment / can hundreds of jars - in high summer here fermentation takes about a week - in winter, about 4 weeks. Ambient temperature can play a huge role in how fast your pickles are ready!

(Bob M) #3

Thank you. Wow, hundreds of jars is impressive! I’m hoping these turn out good, then I might try others (green beans, maybe with some “heat”; sauerkraut; would love to make fermented and hot cauliflower; not sure what else).

So, to slow/stop the fermentation, is this just putting the pickles in the fridge?

What do you ferment?

(Butter Withaspoon) #4

I ferment in the winter which takes 3 or 4 weeks. I taste occasionally until it’s good and sour, then put in the fridge to slow the process right down until eaten. If it’s colder it takes longer


As Hallie mentioned, dropping temperature slows fermentation - so putting them in the fridge does the trick!

if you aren’t going for live cultures when you eat them you can water bath can them to make them shelf stable. Changes he texture a bit, but not greatly.

I’ve fermented sauerkraut, pickles, carrots, radishes, ginger - I’ve pickled peppers, cucumbers, cauliflower, carrots, green beans, ginger, radishes, onions, zucchini. Some things are harder to ferment than others - we have really warm summers here so it makes fermenting very time sensitive and I don’t always have time to pay as much attention to the crocks as I’d like.

Good luck with your pickles & more!

(Bob M) #6

Thank you both. I have these in a storage closet in our basement. I forgot to check the temperature in the closet, but will do so this weekend. (Though the heater in our clothes dryer burnt out, so that’s something else I’m doing this weekend.)

If these turn out well, I’m thinking these other recipes:


Now, I just have to start working on others in my household (wife, kids) to like pickled items. I’m the only one, and there are only so many pickled things I can eat.

(Joey) #7

@ctviggen Awesome! Congrats on your fermentation adventures.

I’ve been making home-ferment pickles, sauerkraut and kimchi now for some time and we absolutely love it - with several mason jars of each on hand at all times.

A fantastic book to explore recipes and essential info is “Fermented Vegetables” by a wife/husband team, the Shockeys. Their second book extends into hot/spicy variations, called “Fiery Ferments.” Both are highly recommended.

FWIW, I bought this: “E-Jen Premium Kimchi, Sauerkraut Container Probiotic Fermentation with Inner Vacuum Lid” on Amazon and it’s a fantastic crock - use it constantly. Pick your ideal size.

I also regularly use litmus paper (in a roll/ cutting off tiny strips) to test for acidity. Since temperature, water, salinity, individual veggies can all affect fermentation time, I take the guesswork out by testing for pH directly before moving a batch from counter-top to fridge (i.e., also from crock to jars).

We tend to like really sour/spicy, so for me I reach for 3.5 pH … but pickles can be great at around 4.0 ph (“half sour”).

These veggies are great for eating of course, but also healthy for your gut biome. Happy fermenting!

(Bob M) #8

Thank you. I like the idea of testing pH (I’m an engineer and like “testing” in general). Like your family, I like sour too. I just need to get my family to go that way. :wink:

(Butter Withaspoon) #9

Oh you are so sweet!
Here have a pickle to fix that :joy:

Now I am wanting litmus paper! Was going fine with the taste test and approximate time method. I only ferment sunchokes at this point, but would like to try cabbage/sauerkraut again (stuffed it up the first time)

(Bob M) #10

Litmus paper does make it more scientific. Something like this?

(Joey) #11

@ctviggen Actually, I’d suggest something more like this…

… because you want to focus on the acidity side of the pH scale, not the base side. What’s more, this package lets you snip off a tiny piece rather than use a whole strip - for cheaper testing. A roll lasts a very long time at this pace. We keep an extra on hand - but it’s remained extra for a couple of years despite regular fermenting. :nerd_face:

(Bob M) #12


(Jane) #13

Have you tasted your pickles yet?

(Bob M) #14

Sorry, I meant to respond, but forgot. I tested them and put them in the fridge. There was some white “stuff” on the top, which I took off. Is that good/bad? Not a lot of it.

I had cut some cucumbers just to get them in there and fill up the bottle. Those turned mushy, so much so that I threw them away.

The whole pickles have a nice texture, really good. I’m not sure about the flavor. I did not exactly replicate the ratios for the Alton Brown recipe, as I did not need a gallon of water. But I tried to ensure everything (particularly the salt, and I found actual pickling salt to use) was close.

The pickles are a bit too spicy for me. I think I would try for non-spicy pickles next time.

Does anyone have a recommendation for a different (non-spicy) pickle recipe?

I’ll update after I try a few more pickles.

(Jane) #15

Thanks for the update. I just started the pickles from some cukes my neighbor brought me and also some fermented onions from my own garden.

Last year the last few of my onions went bad before using them all up so I wanted to ferment some of them before that happened again this year.

(Joey) #16

White mold (found on top, i.e., exposed to air) is harmless. Scrape it off and enjoy.

As for recipes, the Shockeys’ books are filled with a wide range of great recipes, tips for fermenting, related anecdotes, and colorful photos of process and results. Well worth the cost.

(Bob M) #17

@Janie That’s the same for me: we’re eating cucumbers daily. I want to make more pickles because of that.

You might like the recipe, if you like spicy pickles. I DO like them, but I’m trying to get away from hot spices. A minor amount is okay, but this is fairly hot, and now have have a TON of hot pickles. I should have made the small bottle hot and the large bottle regular. That would’ve worked. Now, I have two bottles of hot.

@SomeGuy I’ll check out those books.

(Joey) #18

Aha, so, of the (two) husband/wife Shockey books, skip “Fiery Ferments” and focus on their first book, “Fermenting Vegetables,” instead. And season to taste. :yum:

(Bob M) #19

This one?

(Joey) #20

That’s it :+1: