Fermented Pickles

Fermented Pickles. Get the recipes in The Complete Guide to Pickling by Julie Laing.
Fermented Pickles: Fermented Red Onions and Half-Sour Dill Pickles. Photograph by Andrew Purcell.

My love of pickles jumped several levels the moment I tasted my first batch of fermented pickles. I grew up with some delicious pickles: homegrown veg stuffed into jars, covered in vinegar brine, and sealed to enjoy all year. And I share many of those classic family recipes, some with modern twists for safety or flavor, in my new cookbook, The Complete Guide to Pickling. But I must admit: If you want to make truly amazing pickles, ferment them.

I talk a lot about fermentation in my new book. Whether you’re new to fermenting or have already fallen for salt brine, be sure to check out Chapter 1, where I explain the differences between vinegar-preserved and fermented pickles and walk you through my fermentation process, step by step; I also describe some of my favorite fermenting ingredients and tools in that chapter and offer many shortcuts for simply using what you already have in your kitchen. Then flip to Chapter 4 and drool over the recipes for fermented pickles. But don’t stop there. As you become more familiar with the book, you’ll realize that I’ve sprinkled fermented recipes throughout the remaining chapters of the book: Scratch-Made Sriracha, Fermented Rhubarb Pickles, Tepache, and more.

Many people feel nervous about fermenting because of its wild nature. But really, it’s one of the simplest ways to pickle food. Once you know what to expect in terms of time, appearance, and smell, you too will likely become hooked on the texture and flavor of fermented pickles.
Read more about fermented pickles and learn to make Chinese-Inspired Brined Beans

Fresh Pickles

Curried Green Tomatoes. Get the recipe in The Complete Guide to Pickling by Julie Laing.
Curried Green Tomatoes. Photograph by Andrew Purcell.

When most Americans think of pickles, they think of what I’ve gathered into the Fresh Pickle chapter in my new cookbook, The Complete Guide to Pickling: vegetables pickled in vinegar and either stored in the refrigerator or canned in a boiling water bath. The recipe list for that chapter includes some pickles that are likely old favorites (Kosher-Style Dill Pickles and Water Bath-Processed Beets) but also some fun, possibly new-to-you flavors (Curried Green Tomatoes and Szechuan-Spiced Cucumber Rounds).

But some of my new favorite fresh pickles fall in a later chapter of the book: Sweet and Fruity Pickles. I was surprised by how much I loved creating the pickle recipes in this chapter, because I generally turn up my nose at pickles labeled “sweet.” But that term is usually applied to pickled vegetables, like cucumbers and beets, that my brain doesn’t register as needing to be sweet. Fruit is a different story: whether I’m adding sugar or relying on the natural sugars within a fruit, my taste buds find that sweet and fruity pickles balance beautifully with the tang of vinegar or salt brine.
Read more about fresh pickles and learn to make Fresh Pears with Lemon