The New Home Economics

Recipe: fermented dill pickle relish

4 Comments

“I don’t care if I never eat a dill pickle again,” said Adam, a few weeks ago.

It might be overload—I’ve gone crazy with the lacto-fermented dill pickles in the recent past. Also: many of my 2011 jars went bad. My best guess is that I was skimping on the salt; nearly every jar I opened over the fall and winter was full of mushy, bad-smelling, heartbreaking, compost-bin-bound pickles.

The experience put me off a bit on my former go-to recipe. This year I vowed to try some new things with cucumbers. One has been this recipe for lacto-fermented bread and butter pickles. I’ve made several batches this year and the kids and I both love them (pro tip: don’t skimp on the honey).

I also wanted to try a nice savory, dilly, garlicky relish. My first batch involved a bit too much salt and ended up taking almost a month to get properly fermented. Second batch, I used a bit less salt, and so far so good.

Fermented dill pickle relish
Several large cucumbers (the ones you let go too long)
8 large garlic cloves, crushed
Dill and/or fennel flowers
2 generous tablespoons sea salt
3 tablespoons liquid whey

Grate the cucumbers until you have about 6 c. grated cucumber. Add other ingredients. The cucumbers will start to reduce as soon as the salt hits. Let sit for a few minutes, then pour off some of the excess liquid. Stuff into a quart-size wide mouth canning jar, making sure there is still enough liquid to cover the mixture as you pack it down.

Next, find something to hold the relish down under the surface of the liquid for a few days while it ferments. I like these plastic bulk-section bottles from the co-op, filled with water. On the right is a brand new, bright green batch, and on the left is the batch that is done fermenting. When not being photographed, they rest under a flour sack towel to keep out dust, dog hair, etc.

The cucumbers will continue to reduce down as they ferment, to the point where I actually transferred the finished batch into a pint jar when it was finally ready.

How do you know when it’s ready? Taste it every other day or so. When it stops tasting salty and starts tasting complex and dilly and garlicky and wonderful, it’s done. Put a regular canning lid on it and store it in the refrigerator. It should keep for a good 4-6 months, but let your nose and your taste buds be your guide on that.

I had some atop a Ukrainian sausage from Seward Co-op today and it was heavenly.

4 thoughts on “Recipe: fermented dill pickle relish

  1. I’ve used Linda Ziedrich’s recipe for fermented crock pickles each year with great results. Are you familiar with it? I even reprinted it in my book cause I like it so well (with her permission of course). She and I make them in the Preserving with Friends video which is not so much a plug as a hope that you are not scared off from crock pickles. Really, the recipe is sorta full proof but then accidents do happen. Thanks for the relish recipe though. Oh, and I always enjoy reading your posts.

    • I’m not familiar with it! I may have to order your new DVD. Isn’t Sandor Katz fantastic? I had the pleasure of taking a fermentation course from him here in Minneapolis a couple years ago. Thanks for reading and commenting, Harriet! (See you on FB!)

  2. Pingback: Carrot Ice Cream and Recipe Roundup « The Heavy Table – Minneapolis-St. Paul and Upper Midwest Food Magazine and Blog

  3. Pingback: Making Relish with Pizzazz! | merlinspielen

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