Sour Dill Pickles

    timeframe: 1–4 weeks

    Most modern pickles are preserved with vinegar. Traditional pickles are fermented, living foods.


    • 3-4 pounds cucumbers
    • ⅜ cup kosher or sea salt (non‐iodized)
    • 3‐4 heads fresh dill, or 3‐4 tablespoons dried dill
    • 2‐3 heads garlic, peeled
    • 1 handful fresh grape, oak, or horseradish leaves (tannins for crunchiness)
    • 1 pinch black peppercorns


    • large mixing bowl for brine
    • mason jars


    1. Rinse cucumbers and scrape off any remains at blossom end.
    2. Dissolve ⅜ cup salt in ½ gallon water. This makes about a 5% brine.
    3. Distribute all ingredients except brine evenly in mason jars.
    4. Pour brine to cover. Cap loosely and place on the countertop away from sunlight.
    5. Pickles will start to be ready in about a week. Once they are soured to your liking, place in the refrigerator to slow fermenting. Eat within two weeks.

      For longer storage, a saltier brine will keep pickles crisp longer. Soak pickles in plain water to remove excess salt before eating.

    Brine Intensity

    Lacto-ferments with salt can vary widely based on temperature. Use more salt to inhibit microbial action in the summer heat; less salt in winter when microbial action slows.

    Sour dill pickle

    Did you know?

    Pickles made with vinegar are denatured and preserved indefinitely. They make great condiments but don’t offer probiotic value.