RECIPE: Pickled Cucumbers

Lacto-fermentation is the traditional art of preserving vegetables before the advent of refrigeration. Sally Fallon, in her book Nourishing Traditions, explains:

“The proliferation of lactobacilli in fermented vegetables enhances their digestibility and increases vitamin levels. These beneficial organisms produce numerous helpful enzymes as well as antibiotic and anti-carcinogenic substances. Their main by-product, lactic acid, not only keeps vegetables and fruits in a state of perfect preservation but also promotes the growth of healthy flora throughout the intestine.”*

To start your lacto-fermentation journey, try this recipe for simple pickled cucumbers.


  • 4-5 pickling cucumbers or 15-20 gherkins
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, snipped
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons whey (if not available, use an additional 1 tablespoon salt)
  • 1 cup filtered water


  1. Wash cucumbers well and place in a quart-sized, wide-mouth jar. For sliced “chips” instead of whole pickles, simply cut cucumbers into 1/4 inch slices and cut back the fermentation time to 2 days instead of 3.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over cucumbers, adding more water if necessary to cover. The top of the liquid should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar. Author’s Note: Try halving additional cucumbers and laying across the top of the jar to keep cucumbers below the liquid level (or mold could grow).
  3. Cover tightly and keep and keep at room temperature for about 3 days before transferring to cold storage.
Download the Recipe PDF

*Always consult your healthcare practitioner before making changes to your diet. People with weakened immune systems due to such conditions as pregnancy and HIV, or the elderly, for example, or who are taking many medications may be cautioned against consuming homemade fermented foods.

Source: Nourishing Days

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