Brining is one of the easiest ways to persevere vegetables, so give this simple recipe a go. These cucumber pickles aren’t too salty, creating crunchy “long life” vegetables you can keep in your fridge for months. Cucumber (and other vegetable) pickles (technically a ferment) make a healthy snack and a tangy addition to salads.
Pickled baby cucumbers
(adapted from Cornersmith Salads & Pickles)
500 g baby cucumbers, whole or halved (or use any vegetables you like e.g. radishes, green chillies, silverbeet stalks)
1 tsp fennel seeds, bruised in a mortar and pestle (optional)
Brine (per 500 g vegetables, make larger batches as required)
1 tab sea salt (not iodized table salt)
500 ml water (preferably filtered)
In a non-reactive saucepan stir the water and salt together over a medium heat, until dissolved. Once it has come to the boil, immediately turn off the heat. Allow the brine to cool to room temperature.
Snugly pack the cucumbers into a sterilized jar with a well-fitting lid (or a couple of smaller jars). Add fennel seeds or other herbs, if desired. Pour over the brine, so it comes to a couple of millimetres above the vegetables. Gently tap the jar to disperse any air bubbles. Seal with a sterilized lid.
Store cucumber pickles out of direct sun (a pantry or cupboard is ideal), opening every two days while fermenting to expel any gas (carbon dioxide) that may build up. Fermentation usually takes two days to three weeks, so taste every couple of days until you’ve reached the desired amount of tang. When you’re happy with how your pickles taste, store in the fridge (to stop further fermentation) and use within six months.
Make sure that the vegetables remain covered with brine at all times. Don’t eat if they develop an odd smell or flavour, or mould appears.
Tip: cucumber pickles are great in Buddha bowls.
This recipe was first published in Gill’s monthly newsletter. Free sign up for thoughtful health information and healthful recipes. Pickles are vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free and dairy-free. More easy recipes in the archives.