Friday, November 20, 2009

How to Make Lacto Fermented Pickles - Easy Recipe

My husband is the person in our family whose health I am most concerned about. He is twenty-nine, so he's not exactly getting old, but he's older than the rest of us. Also, he has lived his whole life on processed foods. My family ate processed grains, pasta and cereal, but not much else processed except sausage and lunch meat. His family had processed everything. His body is the most damaged.

He's on board with the diet reform we've been going through. He likes my cooking and has no problem as I figure out the healthier versions of our favorite meals. My soaking grains doesn't change much for him, and he prefers the higher proportions of meat I serve. Cutting out sugar has been hard for him, so I've put extra effort into making him stevia sweets, homemade soda and milkshakes.

Most recently, I've been adding lacto-fermented produce into our diets. This has been a health goal, as adding lacto-fermented fruits and vegetables is a huge benefit in digestion. A comprehensive article on the full health benefits can be found on the Weston A. Price Foundation's website.

My husband doesn't really get the lacto-fermenting fruits and vegetables. He's been good about everything else, and has become an advocate for some of the health issues that I am passionate about. But sometimes I think I might take on too much too fast and it gets overwhelming for him. So, how do we find a compromise?

Pickles!

I don't like store-bought pickles, but my husband does. So, I'm making him lacto-fermented pickles, which are the original way pickles were made. He loves pickles and agreed to try them. He knows from experience that my home made version of anything is better than the store-bought. It's really not a compromise at all.

Pickles are super easy. The recipe I stole can be found here or in the book Nourishing Traditions. I'm using an old peanut butter jar that held one pound of peanut butter. I cut two pickling cucumbers, $0.78, into spears and put them into the jar. Then I added

2 tablespoons whey - $0.02
1 1/2 teaspoons salt - $0.01
1 tablespoon dill - $0.10
1 1/2 teaspoons mustard seed - $0.10

I don't know the prices of the dill and mustard seed, as these were given to us as a wedding present as part of a spice rack, but I'm guessing $0.10 each. Also, if you don't have whey, you can double the salt instead.

I added enough water to fill the jar to 1/2 inch away from the top. I covered tightly, then shook vigorously. I let it sit on the counter at room temperature for three days. After the three days, it needs to be refrigerated or transferred into cold storage. The pickles were perfect, and Dan loves them. I am looking forward to some fun variations, like adding garlic, red pepper flakes, or even stevia for sweet pickles.

34 comments:

Simple in France said...

Wow! Pickles. I have to get this Nourishing Traditions book. I love anything salty. I also am more and more motivated to learn about lacto-fermented produce. Sounds cool! I may have to make pickles soon. . .

It made me laugh when you said you may go too far for your DH. I find that my DH is ok with anything as long as it tastes good, but he can freak out if he has too much information. I usually just spare him the experimental details until I have a good product and then feed it to him . . . and then slowly tell him how great it is that it was made in such and such a way.

Really, I run into trouble when I get overly excited about something new and give him too much info at once. I'm home mulling this stuff over all day and have had time to think it over, research it and discuss it with other people on blogs. DH comes home and just says, "Huh?" He can't catch up.

He's feeling a little hesitant with my long-time ambition to make our cheese, so, like I said, I'm going to spare him the details until I have a cheese I'm proud of. Then, I know he'll get excited about it too.

And THEN, that's when we'll get our own goats. (ok, ok, not while we live in an apartment) He doesn't need to know yet that that's where this is all headed.

Anonymous said...

You are aware Weston Price was a total quack, right? There's very little evidence for any of his theories.

Clisby said...

Refrigerator pickles are so, so easy to make. Cortido is my 2nd foray into lacto-fermented pickles (Korean pickled vegetables were the first), and it turned out great. My others were just standard bread-and-butter and jalapeno pickles, since I was overflowing with cucumbers and peppers this summer.

Rachel said...

Not over-doing the details is a big deal for my DH too! He'll eat and enjoy everything unless I explain too much too soon :) But the details are pretty helpful in weaning him off of the twinkies and potato chips he grew up on!

Simple in France- I'm totally trying to talk my husband into some goats in the future too! Milk, cheese, soap... the possibilities are endless!

Emily said...

Simple Life and Rachel, I agree that it would be easier to not give my husband too much info. I actually started this blog in part as an outlet so he wouldn't be so bombarded. It's just hard for me to shut up sometimes.

Anon, it's funny that you say there's little evidence for his theories when the link I gave in the post has TONS of evidence for his theories. Maybe you should check it out.

Patty said...

I agree we all need a bit of an outlet so as to not bombard our husbands with details, but keep communicating b/c you never know when his ideas will help you!
Ever pickled okra? Mmmm, my fav! Does your family eat olives? Would a similar recipe work? Wait, can one buy olives not already 'olived'?
When you eat all of the pickles can you re-use the juice for round two or does one need to start fresh? Probably can use the juice into soup or salad dressing so as not to waste.
It would be fun to see a picture of your fridge sometime. Peanut butter jars of picles and juice jar (?) of ketchup and who knows what else. Great job re-using! The earth thanks you. :-)

Dee said...

Oh man! I LOVE pickles. Even more so that I am pregnant! I must try this!

Anonymous said...

Em, there is a good chance that Anonymous read the link, like I did, but is just more scientifically discerning than some people. I didn't see any sources cited other than their own work, which is not the hallmark of trustworthiness when it comes to something as important as diet and health.

Here is a good site for reading some intelligent criticism of the WAPF's work: http://www.diseaseproof.com/archives/diet-myths-weston-a-price-foundation-stupid-traditions.html, although please note this doctor has an agenda to sell as well, although his comes with years of medical and scientific training and research.

We must be intelligent consumers of the health industry, so I implore you and your readers to not take a single cookbook as gospel in something so vital as our bodies.

~Annanamous

Emily said...

Annanamous, that's real funny because I looked through that site and there are no sources cited there. There is no real reference to science either. They are just name-calling and resting on the fact that Sally Fallon goes against what is commonly believed about health and nutrition. That's not particularly intelligent or discerning.

Emily said...

Patty, I think you could reuse the juice to flavor, like you would store-bought pickle juice, but the next batch would not be fermented. Hmmm, I wonder about the olives... you can get them fresh...

Anonymous said...

I can no longer support WAP foundation because of their refusal to remove all links to whale.to which is a racist, anti-semetic, holocaust denial site. They say whale.to is a excellent resource and use it to back up many of their vaccination claims. If they are okay using a resource that is known for making up lies, then I cannot trust the rest of their resources.

Marcy

Anonymous said...

I have been reading this blog for about a month now. While I disagree with you on many points, I've always thought that it isn't my place to say anything. But here I feel like I have to speak. I could point out that Fallon's logic is circular, depending on studies that she and her close collegues have done, ignoring the vast multitude of evidence saying that the principles argued in her book are wrong. But I'd rather stick to simple logic. This woman is not a nutritionist. She has an English degree. Nothing more. Yes, she may have done research, but in effect, you are taking advice from someone qualified to teach high school English. And while you may point out that the diet this book calls for returns us to a simplier time, the fact remains that since people have begun eating healthier, the average life span has risen dramatically.

I'm not saying that all the theories she proposes are bad. But I would really look carefully into both sides of the issue, with a truly discerning heart.

-Lea

Anonymous said...

Emily you are quite defensive and easy to jump all over others. It is always helpful to open up and just look at other people's POV.

Emily said...

Marcy, I would imagine it would be hard to find many sources you trust if you add the requirement that you have to agree with all of their sources as well.

Lea, Sally Fallon provides a lot of information, but she is not the source of it, so attacking her credibility is not productive. It is called the Weston A Price Foundation because it is Price's theories that they go on. As far as life span, I recommend this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHx1b5MFYkg

Anonymous said...

Emily, if WAP foundation is okay with using resources that LIE, then how can I trust the rest of their resources?! I'm not talking about disagreeing, I'm talking about places that are making up blatant lies and spreading hate. I have contacted them about this several times and they refuse to do anything about it. And no, I don't use any sources that link to hate sites.

Marcy

amulbunny said...

Why don't you pick up some fresh dill to throw in the jars with the cucumbers? It would really add some good flavor. Just a few sprigs and it will perk up the flavor. Be sure you get them in the fridge pronto. Salt doesn't kill all bacteria.

Wasabi said...

amulbunny- I'm pretty sure that fresh dill wouldn't fit into Emily's $1/lb produce guideline...

That being said, I'm pretty sure that 4 y/o dried dill (wedding gift, right?) is probably past it's prime.

Clisby said...

Dill is easy to grow (although I've never tried it inside, just in the garden.)

Atheist Mama said...

New layout, eh?

I've been tempted to change mine...but I'm scared! I think you should do the one with a bit of green...it was super pretty :)

I'm too lazy to dig up a bunch of "evidence"...but I too am on the Weston Price is a quack side of the fence. I've read things about him in the past...but the very distant past, and my memory is pretty much shot (I call it "mom brain" hah!).

But then again, being atheist, I tend to like proof above and beyond what a small group of people (or one person) is saying.

That being said...fermented foods are good for your health...assuming you can stomach them! I LOVE pickles...but anything else pickled? NO THANKS!

Have you ever heard of "rejuvalac"? It's a fermented drink that's made from wheat berries and it's supposed to be really healthy for you.

I made it once - it either tastes like pickle juice or lemon aid. Mine tasted like pickles...I dumped it :P

I got the recipe for it from the kitchen garden...neat cookbook! You might want to check it out :)

Emily said...

Clisby, I grew some dill over the summer and still have some seed. I'm thinking if Dan eats enough pickles, I'll have to plant some more.

Wasabi, herbs and spices aren't part of the $1/lb rule, but if you know of a spot where I can find some for that price, by all means, share it.

Athiest Mama, thanks for noticing! I like the other template with the green, too, but the three column one stretches funny, so I'm working on adapting it. I also want it to be black and white and green, but it's kind of ivory and black and green, which would look off with what I've got going. So, I have some work to do before it's ready.

Anonymous said...

Meat is one of the most inefficient food crops and one of the worst crops for the planet. I have a copy of Nourishing Traditions and find most of the information completely useless. Not to mention that you are buying red meat that is the lowest possible quality you can find made from cows that are fed corn. Corn feed is what caused the current ecoli problem. Read about that.

Also if you want read the information regarding milk in NT you would not be feeding your family dry milk as it has almost no nutritional value.

Emily said...

Anon, All beef is from corn fed cows no matter how cheaply I can get it, except the grass fed which I obviously can't afford. And I'm not real sure why you think I am using dry milk...

Anonymous said...

Why would you say all beef is fed corn? There are many grassfed beef sources.Go to eatwild.com they list sources for your area there.

Since such a large portion of your diet is cheap corn fed beef I think it is silly that you worry about sugar when you are feeding your children low end discard meats. You put so much effort into things that just make no sense. I love that you want to raise a healthy family, don't get me wrong. I just think you need to educate yourself about nutrition.

Emily said...

Anon, as I said, "except the grass fed which I obviously can't afford," which your link confirmed.

We have had lower meat diets and that is something we are not willing to go back to, but we can't afford grass fed meats. However, I could pay $4 per pound for low end corn fed beef, or I can spend $1.25 for low end corn fed beef. I'm choosing $1.25. If you had the same health ideals as I did with an emphasis on animal protien, and the same budget, wouldn't you do the same thing I do, making sure I can make everything else as healthful as possible?

The fact remains that meat is still more expensive than everything else in our diet, but it is a health priority for my husband and I to have it. If you have advice that is affordabe and will help our overall health, by all means, share it. If the only advice you have is to spend more money on higher quality, that is not helpful.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused by the fact that you admit you can't afford quality meat, and yet you continue to claim that your family "thrives" on $1000 a month, and that Wal-Mart pays its staff fairly.

Anita (Living, Loving and Learning) said...

Whether you are a fan or believer of WAP or not, there is no doubt in my mind that we here in the US are fat, unhealhty and eat way too much junk! I see nothing wrong is eating grass fed beef, free range chickens, fermented grain, fruits and veggies, sprouting seeds, etc. If you have the time and money to do so.

Being that I grew up around cattle farms and have lots of friends who raise cattle, and live in a farming community I can honestly tell you that their beef is not all corn fed. Corn fed beef is expensive to raise. Most cattle farmers I know raise grass fed. I know this because my son has worked for farmers helping them bring in their hay for the winter feeds.

Here's what I say about having a good healthy diet...eat as little processed food as you can. Cook wholesome hearty meals for your families using foods that are convenient for you, and educate yourselves well and don't except anything as the total gospel whether it comes WAP Foundation or Jamie Oliver (who by the way has an awesome cookbook) Proverbs 30:8 And pray over your food asking the Lord to bless it...1 Timothy 4:4-5.

Emily said...

Anon, I don't define thriving as being able to afford grass-fed beef. Most Americans can't or don't buy grass-fed beef. I define thriving as having a high quality of life, having the freedom and means to pursue our goals and passions, and enjoying each day. Maybe we can't afford every singe thing that we might want, but not many can afford every single thing that they might want. We can afford most of what we want, we can probaby afford more of what we want than others that earn much more, because we are content and happy. That is thriving.

Clisby said...

Who knows, once Dan is out of school and has a church, you might be in a place where you can afford grass-fed beef. Not by going to a grocery store, but by going to the stock sale, buying a beef, and having a local processing plant butcher it for you. Anita's right - plenty of farmers raise grass/hay - fed beef. If you're a small beef producer with enough land to pasture the cattle, this is the cheapest way to raise them.

My husband grew up on a farm in Ohio, and his family's beef cattle were primarily grass-and-hay-fed (they did their own butchering). They were poor, but they had plenty of meat - he said this was far cheaper than buying it at the store.

Tammy said...

Good for you, Emily. You're taking the time and making the effort to provide the best nutrition you can for your family on a very low budget. NOT an easy task! Your husband and children are very blessed. Are vitamins/supplements an option in your finances? I agree that good whole food is the most important, and we do that too, but I also supplement our diet with a high quality multi-vitamin/mineral, extra vitamin D, and cod liver oil. I have found the best prices/quality from "Now Foods" (a Christian company, I believe) discounted further on "LuckyVitamin.com". Keep up the excellent work!

Carla said...

DH feels we can't afford grass fed meat. I know a place that has is for $2.59 a pound, they are in the process of being certified organic. I feel we can't afford not to. My plan is to live off our food storage for a while (just buying fresh veggies and fruit) and save our grocery money to put towards a quarter. Look around; you may even be able to barter or find some other means of getting cheap meat. It never hurts to ask around!

Clisby said...

And, by the way - I don't really get the criticisms of the WAP Foundation. Yes, to me, they sound kooky. But the subject here is pickles. Whether you make lacto-fermented pickles, or regular pickles - the subect is pickles. If you like them, make them and eat them - homemade is better and cheaper. If you don't like them - forget about it. Unless someone has good evidence that pickles are *bad* for you - what possible difference does it make if the WAP Foundation has recipes for them? Remember the even-a-broken-clock-is-right-twice-a-day-rule.

yodasmith said...

Wow! That's such a great idea, especially for sweet pickles! I would love to make them with my SweetLeaf stevia! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I didn't read the other comments, so if this has already been asked, please forgive. I have seen you post about whey a couple times. Do you make your own whey? And if so, how?

Christina http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/munchkinflame13

Emily said...

Christina, I do make my own whey. It's a by-product of cheese and yogurt making. I haven't gotten too far into cheesemaking, but here is my post about yogurt.

http://under1000permonth.blogspot.com/2009/11/crock-pot-cream-cheese.html

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