Recently I found bags of perfect baby pickles on sale, so it was time to come up with pickle recipes! I love juniper berries, and I just happen to have a pound bag full in my cabinet which I need to put a dent in. For inspiration I riffed a gin flavor profile by including juniper and and several other traditional gin herbs and a few more savory elements to ground them. They turned out surprisingly sophisticated. Not genuinely ginny, but with some of that herbaceousness and a bit of zip mimicked by the lactic acid.
This recipe is for a lacto-fermented pickle but could easily be adapted for regular canning methods. I left the cucumbers whole to help maintain their crispness. If you use small ones they fit nicely in a mason quart jar. It is also helpful to included a source of tannin which helps create a crisp texture. You can use several natural sources – more on that another time – but the easiest way method is to steep a black tea bag in the brine. Yes, it will slightly tinge your brine, but one you get everything in the jar it’s hardly noticeable. I used 1 tea bag for 4 quarts. This isn’t meant to be a comprehensive guide to lacto-fermentation, so check out some other sources if you’re not familiar with the process. I don’t add whey for these reasons.
I didn’t have the foresight to document this at the time, so sorry there’s not photos!
For the Brine:
- solution of non-iodized salt and water in a 2 table./1 quart ratio.
- some sort of tannin for crispness
For 1 Quart Jar of Pickles
- 2 large sprigs of rosemary
- 2 tea. coriander
- 3 table. crushed juniper berries
- 1/4 tea. mustard seed
- 1 garlic clove sliced into several pieces
- a few sprigs fresh dill fronds
- 5-6 baby cucumbers
- 4-5 small pickling or pearl onions
- Rinse the cucumbers, onions and fresh herbs. Slice the tips off both ends of the cucumbers and peel the onions. Prepare fresh herbs.
- Add onions and garlic to bottom of the jar. Add dry spices. Add the cucumbers so they are standing on end while also layering in the dill and rosemary between them.
- Fill the jar with brine so that everything is well covered. Try to leave an inch or two of head space. Weight the cucumbers so they don’t float (word of warning, they might not float initially, but don’t be fooled – they will later on). Screw the lid on loosely so the CO2 can escape as the fermentation happens.
- Store in a dark temperature stable for about a week. Fermentation will progress at different speeds depending on the ambient temperature. After a week start tasting your pickles. Keep fermenting them until you achieve the desired amount of zing.
- Once they’re done, tighten the lids and store in the fridge.