Fermented Spicy Garlic Pickle Spirals

Wild Fermented + Probiotic + Vegan + GF

I never liked pickles growing up. Occasionally I would find a pickle that I enjoyed, but the taste of pickled cucumbers wasn't my favorite. To this day I don't really eat pickled cucumbers. But fermented pickles... those have my heart. I love them.  

One of the beautiful things about wild fermenting vegetables, is that you get the same preservation benefits as pickling, but a more smooth flavor with way more health benefits.

I never truly enjoyed preserved vegetables until I started fermenting at home. I'm one of the few lucky people who's only ever eaten real, properly fermented sauerkraut. I meet people all the time who "hate" sauerkraut, then try ours and realize what they knew as "gross" sauerkraut was actually pickled cabbage polluted with preservatives. True sauerkraut is fermented. You just can't beat the flavors of true wild fermentation. 

When we first stared to explore fermenting cucumbers in our kitchen, I hated it. They always came out soggy and I just couldn't get the flavors right. Fermenting with spices is vastly different than pickling with spices. Finally I was able to grow accustomed to using spices in fermentation and I learned what did and didn't work. I also learned a lot about how to keep vegetables like cucumbers nice and crunchy. 

 
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We get caught up in fermenting our products in huge barrels (which I absolutely love to do), and sometimes I forget how much I love to dabble with flavors and fermenting in my home kitchen. I adore going on an adventure in the kitchen, chopping things in fun ways, throwing spices I now know taste well into a jar with different veggies... I am just filled with awe and satisfaction. There is a beautiful microbial universe all around us, and I am grateful everyday to know what I know about microbiology and to be able to create delicious foods... where science meets art and flavor. 

This is our most recent fermentation creation and the flavors came out beautiful. When we decided to use our spiralizer to cut the cucumbers, I was a little worried about how the texture would come out... but wow... these turned out wonderfully crunchy, thanks to bay leaves. So far we've eaten these pickle spirals in a vermicelli bowl and it was perfect! I'm sure these would be great on sandwiches and veggie burgers and as a part of a snack board (or cheese board). Hope you enjoy! 

 
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The brine method: It is explained in detail in the instructional steps below. Basically, we chop and then weigh the ingredients, then add 3.0% of that weight in salt. Then we add a 3.0% salt water solution to the mix. Read the science behind why salt concentration matters. 
      
If you're going to master fermentation you'll need to use weight measurements for your fermentation ingredients. That means you need a kitchen scale. In order to select for the best probiotic bacteria (the ones that are actually beneficial and not pathogens) in your ferments, you must weigh salt to create a specific salt concentration. Weighing salt is the only way to create a salt concentration that will select for only probiotic microbes to thrive.  This is the scale we use in our home kitchen to weigh salt.  

 

Supply List:

 

If you're new to fermentation, we offer fermentation supply starter kits on our shop page that includes everything you need to start fermenting some veggies at home, you just need to have a scale and fresh veggies. 

To shop for a Wide Mouth Jar Starter Kit click here and to shop for a Regular Mouth Jar Starter Kit click here

Wild Fermented Spicy Garlic Pickle Spirals

Ingredients

  • About 2 Medium Pickling Cucumbers
  • 1 Teaspoon Minced Garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon Kelp Granules
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Grated Ginger
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 Large Bay Leaves
  • Cultured Guru Fermentation Salt

Takes

Instructions

  1. First, make a 3% saltwater brine. To do this, put an empty large jar on your kitchen scale, and tare/zero the scale. (Taring/Zeroing the scale with a container on it subtracts the weight of the container, allowing you to weigh only what is added to the container). Fill the jar with warm filtered water and record the weight of the water (in grams).
  2. Next multiply the weight of the water by 0.03, the number you get is the amount in grams of salt you need to add to the water.
  3. Place a small separate bowl on your scale and tare the scale. Weigh out your Fermentation Salt in grams. 
  4. Add your salt to the water and stir it in until it dissolves. Then let the mixture cool. 
  5. While the salt water cools, cut off the ends of your pickling cucumbers and spiral them using a spiralizer.  
  6. Place an empty bowl on your kitchen scale and tare it. Place cucumbers, garlic, kelp, ginger and pepper flakes in the bowl and record the weight in grams. Using the same math method as you did for the brine, multiply the weight of your ingredients by 0.03. The number you get is the grams of salt you need to add.
  7. Place a small separate bowl on your scale and tare the scale. Weigh out your Fermentation Salt in grams. 
  8. Add your salt to the ingredient and mix until evenly distributed. 
  9. Once you have mixed the ingredients and the salt thoroughly, it is time to add the mixture into an empty, clean jar. Be sure to add any liquid from the mixing bowl to the jar too. Nestle two large bay leaves into the jar along the side. We used a wide mouth pint sized mason jar for this recipe.
  10. Place a fermentation weight in the jar to hold everything down. Then once the saltwater brine you made is cool, pour it over spiraled cucumber mix and fermentation weight until everything, including the fermentation weight is submerged. 
  11. Store your fermentation jar in a cool place out of direct sunlight. It should be kept in an area that stays around 70-75 degrees F
  12. During the first few days of fermentation carbon dioxide and  bubbles will be produced. During this time you will need to burp the jar. To burp the jar, just remove the lid to let the gas out and check to make sure everything is still submerged below the brine. You must make sure that your fermentation weight and all ingredients are staying submerged BELOW the brine. You may have to press everything down with a spoon/tamper a few times. 
  13. When fermenting cucumbers, it can get very bubbly in the second stage of fermentation... But if you do lose brine during the first few days (which is possible in very full jars when bubbles are produced) use steps 1-4 to make a salt solution to replace the lost brine. Replacing lost brine can only be done during the first 4-5 days. Adding brine after that will dilute acid present in the ferment, disrupt bacterial sucession, and cause the ferment to not be properly preserved. 
  14. Your pickle spirals should ferment for 2 weeks, so that all the stages of bacterial succession can occur. The time line is a little different from a cabbage fermentation, due to a different micorbial population on cucumbers. 2 weeks allows enough time for the final stage Lactobacillus bacteria to produce enough lactic acid to drop the pH to preservation levels. Visit our Science of Fermentation blog to read more about the stages of fermentation!
  15. Once the fermentation process is complete, the mixture will smell pleasantly sour and garlicky. Store the finished product in the fridge.
 
 
 

 
We tracked our Pickle Spirals throughout the fermentation process. By checking the progress of microbial stages under the microscope we have provided you with this handy timeline! If you follow our recipe and directions, your timeline for Wild Fermented Pickle Spiralas should approximately match ours! 


24 - 72 hours: All contents in the jar should be submerged beneath the brine. At this time there are still Gram negative bacteria and possible pathogens present. 
  
 72 hours - 7 days: After 72 hours you should start to see lots of bubbles being produced. This is the stage in which you will burp the jar. This is when the ferment enters stage two of vegetable fermentation. Leuconostoc bacteria begin to thrive and produce a lot of carbon dioxide. Gram negative organisms die off. 


7 - 12 days: The bubbles in the brine will decrease, as the ferment leaves stage two and enters stage three. The mixture will become cloudy and start to develop a pleasant sour and garlic smell. Lactobacillus species are most abundant during this time period.

12 - 14 days: Lactobacillus make up majority or all of the microbial population. They produce copious amounts of lactic acid, and make the ferment smell even more pleasantly sour. This is the time in which the vegetable mixture becomes preserved. This is when you want to smell and taste test.
  

 

 

Peace, Love and Probiotics,
  Kaitlynn