How to make Manhattan-style, Fermented Pickles with Garlic and Dill! An easy step-by-step guide to making the most flavorful, crunchy, tangy pickles full of healthy probiotics, with only 20 minutes of hands-on time!
What happens when people open their hearts? They get better. ~Haruki Murakami
I’ve been chomping at the bit to share this easy recipe for Fermented Pickles with you! If you are a crunchy pickle lover like me, you are going to be in heaven. Seriously, these are the best!
These Manhattan-style “half-sour” pickles, are crispy, crunchy, flavorful and ohhhhhh so alive! They are not for canning, but rather live happily bubbly lives in your refrigerator. They are fermented in a salt brine and get their delicious tanginess from light fermentation rather than vinegar.
Full of healthy, gut-healing probiotics these little guys are perfect as a low-calorie snack, or sliced and added to sandwiches or served as a tasty side.
Not only are they delicious, and incredibly EASY to make, they are also incredibly good for us!
And as crazy as this may sound to some, the fizzy brine itself is like a tonic – I love to drink it! So flavorful and totally energizing.
It starts with 2 lbs of “pickling cucumbers”. This recipe makes one large 1/2 gallon jar (or use two quart-sized jars) – a relatively small batch.
You will find Pickling Cucumbers at your local farmers market and you will recognize them by their small ( 4-6 inches) blocky shape, bumpy skin and color gradient from light to dark. Ask the farmers if they have Kirby cumbers or pickling cucumbers, they can help direct you to the right ones.
Your pickles will only be as good as your cucumbers, so choose wisely!
Make sure they are roughly all the same size -all about 4-5 inches long with 1 1/2-inch to 2-inch diameters – to fit in the jar nicely and to ferment at the same rate. Handpicked each one. They should be fresh and crisp.
Wash them, and soak them in an ice bath for 10-15 minutes to firm and crisp them up.
Gather your fresh Garlic and Dill and pickling spices.
Fermented cucumbers need tannin to help keep their skins from going soft. Traditionally, a few grape leaves are used but bay leaves work well too!
Because these fermented pickles are left whole, you really want the brine to be extra flavorful.
I add a lot of garlic… 10 cloves! Layer the cucumbers, spices, garlic, dill and bay leaves in a large two quart jar ( half gallon).
Pour the saltwater brine over top.
A couple notes on the brine: You want to use the exact ratio of salt to water in the recipe. Too much salt may kill off all of the bacteria -preventing fermentation. So be sure to measure.
Use unprocessed salt (sea salt) and unchlorinated, filtered water for best results.
Warm the water over the stove, stirring in the salt, until the salt dissolves, and let it come to room temp.
Do NOT pour hot brine over the cucumbers – for this too may kill off the healthy bacteria.
Remember, let it cool first!
Leave an inch or two of room at the top.
Weigh down the cucumbers so they are submerged under the liquid, using fermentation weights, a small zip lock bag filled with a little water, or something as simple as a clean river stone. My friend Tonia uses stones she collects on the beach and she gave me this idea.
Cover with a loosely with a lid, place in a bowl or pan to catch any overflow, and place them in a cool dark place for 3-7 days, like the basement. I’ve found a slower, cooler fermentation works best here.
Check after 3 days. Look for signs of life: bubbles, or cloudy water. This took me about 4 days. I let it go one more day, then placed the jar in the fridge to further slow the fermentation.
The fermented pickles turned out absolutely perfect! Crunchy and flavorful!
The brine is deliciously tangy, salty and effervescent -so tasty!
Let me know what how you like this one in the comments below.
Fermented Pickles with Garlic and Dill
How to make Manhattan-style, Fermented Pickles! A simple recipe for making the most flavorful, crunchy, tangy, garlic dill pickles with only 15 minutes of hands-on time. Full of healthy, gut-healing probiotics these little guys are perfect as a low-calorie snack, or sliced and added to sandwiches.
- Prep Time: 4 days
- Total Time: 4 days
- Yield: ½ gallon 1x
- Category: fermented, preserved
- Method: fermented
- Cuisine: American
- 2 lbs pickling cucumbers- all similar size ( 4–5 inches)
- 6 cups filtered water (non-chlorinated)
- 3 1/2 tablespoons sea salt
- 8–10 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 teaspoon each: fennel seeds, coriander seeds, allspice, peppercorns, dill seeds, mustard seeds,
- handful fresh dill
- 1–3 fresh red chilies – or add chili flakes ( optional)
- 3–4 bay leaves
You’ll need a 1/2 gallon mason jar, crock, or 2 quart-sized jars- clean and sterile.
- Rinse the cucumbers and place in an ice-water bath, to crisp them up ( 10-15 minutes).
- Warm the water on the stove, and stir in salt until dissolved. Let cool to room temp.
- In a large, clean two quart jar, layer the cucumbers, garlic slices, fresh dill sprigs, bay leaves and spices.
- Pour the room-temp brine over top, leaving an inch of headroom.
- Weigh down the cucumbers if need be, so they are submerged under the brine. ( Use a fermentation weight, a clean stone, a small ziplock with a little water in it). Place a lid on it, loosely tightened. Place in a pan or bowl to collect any overflow.
- Place in a cool dark place for 3-7 days, checking after 3 days.
- After 3 days, check for signs of life: bubbles, clouding. Check every day after.
- Once you see active bubbles you can place the jar in the fridge, where it will continue to ferment, but much more slowly. Slow and cool ferments seem to yield the best results here.
Keywords: fermented pickles, fermented cucumbers, kosher dill pickles, lactose-fermented pickles, how to ferment pickles, fermented dill pickles, kosher dill pickle recipe