Lacto-fermented Cucumber Pickles

Lacto-fermented Cucumber Pickles

  • Servings: 1 half-gallon (here) or mix of pint and quart jars
  • Difficulty: easybutpatiencerequired
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Lacto-fermented cucumbers lr-8181

Our cucumbers are plentiful now but because Summer is quickly approaching they won’t be for long.  Lacto-fermentation is a tried and tested way of preserving in-season veggies for later use, and requires no pasteurization.


  • 6 six inch long pickling cucumbers
    • Pickling cucumbers often come in smaller sizes which can also be lacto-fermented; use the pint and quart jars for them.
  • Kosher salt
    • 1 tbsp per half-gallon jar
    • 2 tsp per quart jar
    • 1 tsp per pint jar
  • Pickling spices (optional and to taste)
    • Cinnamon stick
    • Cardamom seeds
    • Mustard seeds
    • Dried bay leaves
    • Garlic cloves
  • Distilled water
  • Time…lots of time!



  • Wash all containers and tools really well in hot soapy water, rinse with hot water, and allow to air dry.
  • Place a few sprigs of dill at the bottom of each jar
  • Spoon a tbsp each of kosher salt and the pickling spice mixture into the half-gallon jar
    • 2 tsp into a quart jar
    • 1 tsp into a pint jar
  • Slice the cucumbers into halves, spears, or both – your preference.
    • Fermenting whole cucumbers will take much longer, and since we rarely eat them whole, we normally halve our cucumbers for this recipe.
  • Place the halves, end on end, into the jars, pour enough distilled water into the jar to just cover the top of the cucumber halves (see photo on left below).
  • Cover with plastic wrap, press down to remove any excess air, cover with clean, cloth kitchen towel.


  • Note:  The following steps should be done at room temps between 60F and 70F, so a cool, dark place like a cupboard is preferable.  Any lower and the fermentation slows to a crawl, stops altogether, or never begins.  Any higher and the fermentation speeds up, not giving enough time to develop the sour or tangy flavor common to lacto-fermented foods.
    • Day 1 through 4:
      • Place the jars inside a shallow pan and in a cool place in the kitchen.
        • Note:  As the fermentation begins and continues the contents of the jar will begin to bubble (see photo on the right above) and may result in some of the liquid going over the top of the jar so placing the jars inside a shallow pan will keep you from having a wet mess on the countertop or in a cupboard.
      • Twice a day twist the jar to move the brine around.
    • Day 5-7:
      • Inspect the mixture once a day to make sure that the brine is still at the top level of the mixture.  If not add more distilled water.
    • Day 8 to ?:  (We stop ours on day 10)
      • The mixture should begin developing the sour, pickled flavor we love.  At this point, you may begin tasting the tasting the cucumbers, continue the fermentation until you reach the level of sourness you prefer.
      • When you have reached the flavor you prefer remove the plastic wrap over the mixture, cover tightly and place in the fridge to age and mellow, albeit slowly, for at least 4 weeks.  May be stored in the fridge for up to 6 months but ours never lasts that long!
      • Your lacto-fermented cucumber halves are ready!

Serve with your favorite salad or sandwich!  Here in South Florida one of the most popular sandwiches is the Cuban sandwich (see photo below); Cuban bread, sliced ham, salami, roast pork, Swiss chees, mayo, and slices of cucumber pickles, toasted in a panini press until the cheese just begins to melt.  So delicious!

Cuban sandwiches-4012.jpg

Lacto-fermented Cucumber Pickles






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