Lacto-Fermented Dill Pickles

by Ann Marie Michaels on August 11, 2011

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lacto pickles

I love pickles! When I was a kid, I spent my summers at the pool where I would order a Moon Pie and a delicious dill pickle.

I had no idea that pickles could be supremely healthy and actually probiotic until I read Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon Morell. It’s traditional to make pickles in summertime when cucumbers are in season. Modern pickles are canned with vinegar — which doesn’t do jack for your digestive system.

Lacto-fermented pickles, on the other hand, are akin to eating yogurt or drinking kefir. If you are not a fan of eating a pickle spear or a whole pickle, make pickle relish and add it to your tuna, egg or potato salad to give a probiotic boost.

Recipe Notes

This recipe is from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon Morell. The oak or grape leaf helps to make the pickles crisp and crunchy. I have tried making pickles without a grape leaf and they came out soggy.

Lacto-Fermented Dill Pickles


Cucumbers, organic if possible, pickling (4-5) or gherkins (15-20)
Mustard seeds (1 TBS)
Dill, fresh (2 TBS)
Sea salt (2 TBS) — where to buy sea salt
Filtered water (1 cup)
Optional: Oak or grape leaf (1)


Glass jar with lid, quart size


1. Wash cucumbers well and place in a quart-sized wide mouth jar.
2. Rinse an oak or grape leaf and add it to the jar.
3. Combine the mustard seeds, dill, sea salt and filtered water together.
4. Pour over the cucumbers, adding more water if necessary to cover the cucumbers.
The top of the liquid should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar.
5. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature from 3-7 days before transferring to the refrigerator. Depending on the size of the cucumbers, it may take up to one week to fully sour.

Photo Credit:Zero-X, on Flickr
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