Fermenting with Friends

  pickling cucumbers

Last week, I was talking with my friend April about fermenting my yearly batch of dill pickles. She immediately got excited.

“Come over to my house, let’s make them together!” she said excitedly. “You can teach me how to do it!”

From the Editor: Please welcome Suzanne, Cultures for Health Customer Support Rep and Cultured-Kitchen Keeper.

“Oh,” I said, “It’s so easy, I can just send you my recipe.”She pressed me to come over and teach her, though she has plenty of fermenting experience. Finally, I caved.

So, later that weekend, I went in search of big bunches of flowering dill, bought onions, pulled garlic from the garden, pedaled out to the farmer’s market to choose my cucumbers (never could grow my own), and begged some grape leaves from another friend’s vines.

dill and cucumbers


April and I spent an afternoon putting together our pickle jars. Well, we really spent the few minutes it takes layering cucumbers and other ingredients. Most of the time we spent laughing, chatting, feeding kids, oohing and aahing over our beautiful pickle jars, enjoying the day.

I realized that while fermenting is simple and quick when you’re on your own, it’s just as easy, but much more enjoyable, with friends.


And don’t those pickles look good?!



Suzanne is into gardening, real food, and treading lightly. Her favorite cultured foods include Matsoni yogurt, which tastes just like the yogurt her Armenian grandmother used to make; sauerkraut, which she used to dip out of a barrel each week at her favorite little shop in Germany; and dill pickles, which she used to eat straight from the big jar on the counter of her Grandpa’s general store.

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  1. Veggie Mama says

    Such a beautiful post! I am smiling from ear to ear! I have never tried onions in my pickles. Sounds amazing! Next batch we’ll give it a try. :)

    • SuzanneSuzanne says

      Not sure who to give credit to for this recipe, but I use the same one every year:

      Wash 3.5-4 lb cukes, remove any dried blossom bits, and soak in ice water while preparing brine.
      Dissolve 3/4 cup salt in 1 gallon water. Poke a hole in one end of each cuke, only about 1/2-1 inch deep.
      In a large crock, spread a layer of grape leaves on bottom. Spread layer of cukes, packed tightly. Add a few white and black peppercorns, a few heads of flowering dill, a few cloves garlic, peeled, and a few slices of onion. Add a layer of 1 or 2 grape leaves. Repeat until the crock is full, ending with grape leaves. Make sure to leave 1-2 inches headspace. Pour brine over the cukes until they are completely covered. Add stone or weight to keep cukes submerged. Cover crock and ferment at 60-70ºF (I put the crock in the basement) for several days, until the pickles taste just right.

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