Fermented Cucumbers

I’ve loved cucumber pickles since I was a kid. Fermentation takes them to a new level. Get fermented vegetable recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
I’ve loved pickles since I was a kid. My mom put dozens of jars of dill and “sweet” (bread-and-butter) pickles through a water bath every year, and I’d sneak them like they were potato chips. But the longer the pickles sat, the less chip-like crunch they gave. Over the years, I’ve played with ingredients and canning techniques that have helped. Then I discovered fermentation.

Think about it: Cucumbers are best fresh and raw. Putting them in hot water is bound to affect their texture. Fermentation replaces heat with time and vinegar with salt. No wonder the result is crisper and fresher. And the flavoring possibilities—from dill to tea—are endless.

If you’ve never run a fermentation, I suggest you check out my introductory post from earlier this month. But here are the basics: Start with everything clean and fresh. Monitor the batch daily so that you can see the process. If you have doubts, give it the toss and start again.
Learn to make Fermented Dill Pickles and Fermented Tea Pickles

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Pick a Pickle

Almost every vegetable garden explodes in July. My first July harvest included the last of the spring greens and asparagus, midcycle broccoli and garlic scapes, and the first snap peas, carrots, beets, and bulb onions. The harvest will go straight into our mouths, but as the yields grow jugs of vinegar and a box of salt will be front and center, ready for pickling.

All of my recently harvested vegetables can be pickled, along with snap beans, summer squash, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, garlic, cabbage, and even fruit. That’s the beauty of pickling: it lets you preserve any low-acid vegetable safely. And like many of my favorite processing techniques, it’s endlessly variable. Various pickling techniques let you preserve everything from a single cucumber to a box of cukes. You can flavor them to fit any meal: American dills or bread-and-butters with burgers, Japanese kyuri asazuke with sushi, Indian kheer uragai with curry—and that’s just a few variations on cucumber pickles.
Read more about quick and easy pickling

Sourdough Bread

Sourdough Month wouldn’t be complete without talking bread. Here I share my favorite recipe. We call it Sourdough Cabin Bread because it makes my little Montana log cabin smell so good, but my young nephew has dubbed it “Auntie Julie’s Special Bread.” And it is special—whether you’re a new or experienced bread maker, you’ll likely be surprised by how easy it is to make these loaves. The techniques and tricks have two purposes: reduce effort and build flavor.

There’s a reason behind every technique given here. Using weights, instead of cups, improves accuracy. Mixing by hand, instead of with an electric mixer, prevents overmixing. Folding, rather than kneading, reduces your effort while enhancing the bread’s texture. A long fermentation allows the dough to feed, release gas, and develop flavor. The bowl in the oven captures steam and creates a crisp crust. The results are delicious, beautiful loaves that slice smoothly for sandwiches and other uses.
Learn to make Sourdough Cabin Bread and Gorgeous Grilled Cheese