A slight variation on the standard naturally fermented garlic sour pickle, this time with parsley instead of dill. I do really like parsley, so I’m curious to see how these turn out.
Garlic and parsley pickles
- 5% brine (50 g kosher salt per liter of water)
- 8 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1 t black peppercorns
- 1 t whole coriander seed
- 1/2 t mustard seeds
- 1/2 t crushed red pepper
- handful flat-leaf parsley
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 oak or grape leaves, washed
- 6-7 pickling cukes, or however many you want to pickle
The easiest way to find out how much water you’ll need is to pack the cucumbers into the jar, then fill with cold water. Put a cold saucepan on your scale and zero it; empty the water from the pickle jar right into the saucepan, using that weight to calculate how much salt you’ll need (you know, slide that decimal to the left one place and half the number). This jar held 720 ml (g) of water, so I added 36 grams of salt. Add the garlic and spices, heat to dissolve, and let it cool completely. You can pickle cucumbers whole or cut, depending on your preference. I’ve read in a few places (Fermenter’s Club, Sandor Katz, and others) that grape or oak leaves help the pickles to stay crunchy because of the tannins in the leaf, so I washed and added a few oak leaves to the bottom of the jar. Pack the cucumbers and parsley into the jar, and cover completely with cooled brine. Weight the cucumbers down to keep them submerged. A small juice glass worked perfectly here for me.
Set in a cool place (cooler than 70 degrees) and let the lactic acid bacteria get to work. You can check the pH every few days to track their progress, or just smell and taste every so often. I’ll let these go about a week before sampling, and once they’re sour enough for your liking, you can then stow them in the fridge, which slows bacterial action down quite a bit.
For additional resources see:
- The things we’ve pickled
- Ruhlman on natural pickles (Tarragon Garlic Pickles) and vinegar ones (Michael Symon’s Pickled Chilis)
- Fermenter’s Club on the science of fermentation, dilly beans, and kimchi of all kinds
- Punk Domestics – full range of people pickling just about everything
- Sandor Katz – Wild Fermentation
- Also, Michael Pollan’s most recent book, “Cooked,” whose fourth section is all about fermentation, is a terrific read.
[updated 5/28 with active links]
[update 6/4/13: after 5 days in a cool basement I put a lid on and moved them into the fridge. These are some of my favorite pickles I've made so far. Plenty of garlic, good and sour, nice hint of parsley, still crunchy. So it's nice to know that this batch size and combination of flavors works for great pickles in about a week. Experiment away, and enjoy!]