recipe: lacto-fermented pickles

During my vacation in San Francisco, I came down with the most righteous of stomach viruses. Boy, was I down for the count. For days, nothing but brothy soups (if anything at all) sounded appealing.

That said, I really did a number on my gut flora. I've been feeling a lot of unpleasant gastrointestinal issues since then, which I will refer to as "crummy tummy" for politeness's sake. And when crummy tummy strikes, you want nothing more than to put on your coziest sweatpants and curl up in bed, which is particularly annoying when you're at the office. Or out on a date. Or just trying to live a normal life.

So here I am again, realizing that my diet needs a major overhaul, with a focus on good probiotics to get me through. Drinking a "tea" of hot water with a splash of apple cider vinegar (unpasteurized, the one with "The Mother," if you please) and a bit of honey has helped. Kefir is great with granola and fruit (just be sure to check the ingredients for sugar and other unnecessary additives). And pickles can do wonders! But no, not the ones you find in the regular grocery aisle -- those are really just brined in vinegar and aren't fermented at all. Luckily, proper pickles are easy to make at home, so here's my recipe:

Small batch lacto-fermented pickles 

3 tablespoons sea, pickling or kosher salt (no iodized salt, here!)
1 quart purified/filtered water
3 cups of veg, chopped into small, even pieces (think cauliflower, carrots, onions, red bell peppers and green beans) 
1 or 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
1-2 grape leaves (optional, to help keep pickles crisp)

Combine salt and water in a mixing bowl and stir until dissolved. Place the remaining ingredients in a large, clean mason jar. Pour the salt water over the veg, leaving one inch of room at the top of the jar. Cover tightly and leave on your kitchen counter. Open the jar about once daily to taste and release any gases produced during fermentation. If any mold or scum appears, simply skim it off. When your veg tastes "pickley" enough for you, move the jar to the refrigerator to slow the fermentation process. Your pickles will keep for well over a month in the fridge.

Recipe from The Kitchn.