The One Ingredient You’ll Need for Crunchy Lacto-Fermented Pickles

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After I shared our favorite dill pickle recipe yesterday, I ended up with a few questions. Specifically, why would you be adding tree leaves to your pickles? Oh, and where do we find them?

Well, I’ve given it away already, haven’t I? The one ingredient I’ve used over and over again for crunchy pickles of a variety of vegetables is leaves.

But they can’t be just any leaves. They have to contain a very specific compound or they’re not going to work.

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Shannon

Shannon is a mama to three small children, homesteader, freelance writer, and picture-taker. She lives with her husband on their off-grid homestead where they make and eat kefir, kombucha, sourdough, and fermented vegetables.

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Lacto-Fermented Kosher Dill Pickles

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I grew up eating spicy, garlic-studded “kosher” dill pickles. These pickles are crisp, crunchy, sour, and delicious – everything a pickled cucumber should be. I love them.

The so-called “kosher” pickle is not necessarily kosher in the sense that it complies with Jewish food laws. It is called kosher because of its flavor profile made popular by New York’s Jewish pickle makers, who made the pickles using the same kind of salt used to prepare meat in the kosher style.

These pickle-makers were known for their natural salt-brined pickles heavily seasoned with dill and garlic. So any pickle that is seasoned in the same fashion is referred to as a Kosher Dill.

You may notice an unusual ingredient in the recipe below: grape, oak, or horseradish leaves. These leaves are not for eating, though you probably could. The leaves are added to the brine because the tannins in them help the pickles stay crunchy, a vital characteristic of every good pickle.

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Shannon

Shannon is a mama to three small children, homesteader, freelance writer, and picture-taker. She lives with her husband on their off-grid homestead where they make and eat kefir, kombucha, sourdough, and fermented vegetables.

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A Simple Way to Eat Cultured… on the Road

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Note from Shannon: I am pleased to bring the voices of our lovely contributors to this space every Tuesday. Please welcome Julie, Founder of Cultures for Health and Cultured Kitchen-Keeper.

This year our travel schedule has picked up substantially. We’ve exhibited at more shows already this year than any previous year. While we enjoy traveling to shows and meeting our customers, we have come to realize travel is not without serious challenges. We have three kids 6 and under, all of whom have very restrictive diets.

We quickly learned that flying and hotels were convenient but miserable due to the constant stress of where to find clean food. We also live in a city with a very small airport. Short security lines are traded-off for the reality that one delayed flight through a connecting city can cause a travel delay of 24 hours or more. It’s no fun to suddenly be stuck in a strange city you didn’t plan for.

A few months ago we settled on a new solution. We would travel with a camping trailer and camp our way to and from our destinations. This has proven to be a great deal of fun! It allows us flexibility in our schedule, we are getting to see the United States up close, we get to visit family and friends along the way, and our children enjoy the adventure of staying at a new campground with a new playground almost every night.

I will admit I was perhaps most excited about having our own small kitchen traveling with us complete with my own cooking utensils and our own food! But there was one element I didn’t fully consider—culturing on the road.

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Julie Feickert

Julie Feickert

Julie Feickert started Cultures for Health in late 2008. She is the mother to three young children and enjoys cooking and reading. Her favorite cultured foods include water kefir and kombucha. Julie lives with her family in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

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Lacto-Fermented Beverages as Electrolyte Drinks

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I thought we’d take a quick break from our Ancestral Fermentation series this week to talk about something that may be timely, considering the season we are in.

Summer is nearly upon us and it is important to stay cool and hydrated during these hot months. There is always the option of purchasing commercial sports drinks, but these are both cost prohibitive and loaded with refined sugars.

Another option that you can make right at home, and might already be consuming, is lacto-fermented beverages. These delicious and refreshing drinks are an excellent alternative to plain water and contain everything you need to stay hydrated.

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Shannon

Shannon is a mama to three small children, homesteader, freelance writer, and picture-taker. She lives with her husband on their off-grid homestead where they make and eat kefir, kombucha, sourdough, and fermented vegetables.

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