Self-Care Challenge (Day 187): Fermenting Dill Pickles

On day 187 of my 366-day self-care challenge, I experimented with fermenting dill pickles.

If you recall, January 1st of this year marked my inaugural self-care activity, which was to ferment a batch of sauerkraut. Since then, I’ve made several batches of kraut, but I’ve been trying to decide what to experiment with next.

Then it came to me at the farmers’ market over the weekend, where I spotted some pickling cucumbers. Fermented pickles seemed like a fitting project for a real-food-ophile like me, so I grabbed a few handfuls and figured I’d just find a recipe later.

As I perused the numerous online recipes for crock dill pickles, I noticed many of them shared similar ingredients: grape leaves, flowering dill, salt, pepper and garlic.

I couldn’t help but wonder what other ingredients might be good to toss in there as well–but then I was reminded of Elijah Santoyo’s wise words:

“Usually the balance of salt and flavourings is the first trip up, a lot of people love to make substitutions and improvise in recipes, but they are chemistry and they should be followed closely.”

Damn it! My culinary improvisational impulses are bursting at the seams, yet I know it would be a much better idea to follow a tried and true recipe. The one I finally settled on comes from Prodigal Pieces – except I did add a few sliced jalapenos. (I couldn’t help myself, Eli!) Hopefully, the veggie ingredients aren’t as important as the salt and seasonings, but we shall see.

As I prepped the ingredients, the kitchen was immediately filled with the aroma of fresh dill and garlic. Fortunately, I find that combination quite nice. The best part? The entire process took only about 10 minutes.

Now, I shall wait. In about 2 to 4 weeks, I should have a finished product to sample. Fingers crossed!

There are few things I enjoy more than working with fresh ingredients in the kitchen (which is more like an art studio, really). After all, the harmony between art and science is what life is all about.

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