Lacto-Fermented Pickles

Lacto-fermented vegetables

Makes 1 quart
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Inactive Time: 2-4 days


  • 6-8 pickling cucumbers
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1/4c liquid whey (see “Where to get whey” below)
  • 2 tablespoons pickling spices
  • Filtered water to fill the jar


1.  Quarter or halve the pickling cucumbers lengthwise like dill pickles. Pack them tightly into a 1 quart mason jar.

2. In a separate bowl, combine the liquid whey, sea salt and pickling spices of your choice. Pour into the mason jar and fill the rest of the jar with filtered water ensuring that the cucumbers are completely covered with liquid and leaving one inch of space at the top of the jar. It’s important to leave a bit of air in the jar so that the gasses that build up while your cucumbers are fermenting do not break the jar.

3. Close the mason jar with a metal canning lid and store it in a dark, cool space for 2-4 days or until the metal lid no longer pops when poked. Transfer the jar to the refrigerator and store for up to 3 months. Once the jar is opened, eat the pickles within 3 weeks.

Where to get whey:

Whey is the liquid part of milk (think curds and whey). The curds are the milk solids. If you can’t find whey at the grocery store, purchase a quart of organic full fat yogurt and a cheesecloth or muslin cloth. When you get home, simply strain the yogurt through a cloth-lined colander or strainer, catching the liquid in a bowl. The liquid is the whey, and in your cheesecloth you have a delicious yogurt cheese that can be used in place of cream cheese in recipes or as a spread.

A note about: Pickling Spices

You can purchase pickling spices at a grocery store, or you can combine your own favorite herbs and spices to make a custom pickling blend. I like to use a combination of caraway seeds, black peppercorns, mustard seeds, whole cloves, juniper berries, a dried red hot pepper, coriander seeds and fresh dill.

Alternate Ingredients:

If you prefer not to use whey, you can replace the whey with an additional tablespoon of sea salt, for a total of 2 tablespoons. Whey helps to promote fermentation, acting as an inoculant. I prefer to use whey because it gives the vegetables a lovely effervescence!

You can also try other vegetables using the same lacto-fermention recipe. I like green beans, okra, carrots and cabbage the best!

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