This lightly salted half-sour pickle is a traditional recipe that I learned from my mother-in-law. No family gathering was complete without this yummy treat. Crunchy, mildly sour, lightly salty, they complement nicely a festive dinner as well as a snack in between.
For these mild half-sour pickles, you do not need any special equipment nor special cucumbers. Any cucumber will do. My mother-in-law always used the English cucumbers from the store.
I like to keep things really simple, the way our family has pickled for generations. For beginners, cucumbers are the best vegetable to start with. This is a simple way to ferment them for eating right away as fresh and lightly salted half-sour pickles.
What is the difference between half-sours and full-sours
Most people only know half sours and full sour pickles. Note that this recipe is neither of them. But to make it more understandable, let’s take a closer look. Also, if half-sour pickles were what you were looking for, here it is.
The difference between half-sour pickles and full-sour pickles is the time it takes to ferment them. In 3 days you will have half-sours, and in about 6 days you will have full-sours ready to eat.
Any half-sour pickle will turn into a full sour if you give it time. After 3 days on the kitchen counter, it can go into the fridge and keep for months.
For fermented half-sour (that will turn into full sours) you will need cucumber brine (1 Galon water 3/4 cup salt).
You want to use pickling cucumbers. Pickling cucumbers are shorter 3 to 4 inches (ca. 8 to 10 cm) and often have bumpy skin. They keep the form when fermented.
Slicing cucumbers vary from 4 to 10 inches (ca. 10 to 25 cm) in length and often have thicker skin than pickling cucumbers. If you make a full-sour slicing cucumber, it might not look very attractive.
What are lightly salted half-sour pickles?
Lightly salted half-sour pickles are a quick 1-day ferment. After 1-day out on the kitchen counter, they go into the fridge and last for about 10 days. Since they are made to enjoy fresh, they do not need so much salt. Since we love a less salty pickle, we love these lightly salted pickles a lot.
For the Lightly salted half-sour pickles recipe cucumbers can be of any size, shape, or variety. Bigger cucumbers can be sliced. Even English cucumber, the one that is readily available for most people works great.
Whenever there is an overproduction of cucumbers in the garden or a great sale at the farmers market, make mild half-sour pickles.
Besides cucumbers, you will need dill and garlic. Dill heads that have started to form seeds will add the most flavor. Flowering heads have a milder flavor. Dill greens can be used too.
Garlic is a must. Crashed or sliced several cloves can be used. However, as in any traditional recipe, use as many or few as you like.
Horseradish, grapes, cherry, or currant leaves are added to keep the pickles crisp. They also each add a bit of unique flavor. Try it out and see what you like. The recipe works without them, but traditionally leaves are used.
Any other spices are used to your liking. If there is one that is a must for you, add it. There is no right or wrong.
Mild Fermented Half-Sour Pickles Recipe
- 1 liter (32 oz) of filtered boiled water
- 1.5 tablespoons pickling salt
- 1-3 cloves of garlic, depending on your taste
- Horseradish, grape, currant, or cherry leaves as available
- Some black pepper kernels to taste
- Mustard seeds, celery seeds, bay leaf, or pickling spices to your liking
- About a pound of pickles or 2 English cucumbers sliced
- In a clean jar or container (It does not have to be sterilized, just clean) add some dill, leaves if used, and garlic.
- Fill the jar or container with washed cucumbers. If using bigger or English cucumbers, cut them into 1-inch (2.54 cm) big pieces.
- Top with some more garlic, leaves, and dill.
- Prepare the brine
- Let the boiled water cool for at least 5 minutes.
- Add salt and spices if used and stir well.
- If your house is very warm, let the brine cool some more. You don't want the fermentation to be too quick. If your house is on the cooler side use hot brine.
- Cover the cucumber with brine. You want everything to be covered.
- Waight everything down to keep it under the brine. n a container a plate with some weight on will do, for a jar, use a small container or weighting stone.
- Keep on the kitchen counter for 1 day, transfer into the fridge and use soon.
Fermenting other vegetables
Using the same method, you can ferment almost any vegetable you can imagine. Add a sliced pepper to the cucumbers, it looks very ornamental and tastes great, too.
If you want to get more advanced in Fermentation
We would recommend Kirsten K. Shockey and Christopher Shockey’s book: Fermented Vegetables: Creative Recipes for Fermenting 64 Vegetables & Herbs in Krauts, Kimchis, Brined Pickles, Chutneys, Relishes & Pastes.
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Kristen Campbell says
This looks really easy, and I can almost taste them now! I may try this over the weekend! Thank you!
Kristen from The Road to Domestication
You welcome! It is easy. Let me know how it goes.
Lorelai @ Life With Lorelai says
Hmm… I’ve never done this before. Maybe I’ll have to give it a shot. 🙂
Check out my blog post on Sunday, August 4th, for a Sunshiny Surprise for you… You’ve been nominated for The Sunshine Award!
Life With Lorelai
Oh, thank you Lorelai! Looking forward to see it.
I am so sad. Our cukes did horribly this year– we have only been able to pick one very misformed one. The kids are sad because usually I make jars upon jars of pickles! These look super yummy to me.
Thanks for sharing on A Humble Bumble Healthy Tuesday’s Blog Hop!
Kerry from Country Living On A Hill
That is sad Kerry. I find growing cukes tricky too. Hope you have a better harvest next year.
Yum they look so good, thanks for sharing the recipe
[email protected] fit foot says
OMG. Tank you for sharing this with us. I had a friend make pickles and everyone was so impressed. Now I am going to be able to show him up
Christina @ Juggling Real Food and Real Life says
I keep saying I want to make pickles, but I haven’t done it yet. I really need to just do it. I grew up eating pickles at almost every meal. Maybe I skipped breakfast. LOL! We even eat pickles on our tacos. I really need to be making my own. Thanks for sharing this with our Let’s Get Real Readers. I look forward to your posts and I’m sure our readers do too. I’ll let you know how the pickle making goes.
Jason Lee says
Do you put the brining spices in ‘just boiled’ water – so it’s hot? Is that to release the flavour of the spices?
Thanks for the recipe, I’m starting it tomorrow 🙂
No, just because it is simpler to do it this way. You can let the water cool down before adding your spices. Hope it works well for you!
To drastically slow down the fermenting process, simply store your ferment in the refrigerator until consumed.
I peeled the cucumbers because they had a very thick skin and “spines”. Now I wonder if they will ferment properly?
There is no problem with fermenting them like that, it just might be a taste question. You can try it if you like it.
Mary Ann says
Oh my! I used this recipe last year and put aside a jar for Christmas dinner which never happened due to some family members having COVID. We did make more jars with the recipe from some cucumbers that we received that were bigger than I would normally use for pickles but those jars didn’t turn out all that well as the cukes were big, over ripe and turning yellow. But it never hurts to try right? I forgot about the Christmas jar until I was putting this years pickles away for a few weeks (different recipe) I decided to open the Christmas jar yesterday and they have been happily DEVOURED by my family!!! I’m soooo happy! I put about 20 cucumelons in the jar for a little bit of fun and the whole jar is now completely GONE. I’m going to see if I can get more cucumbers at the farmers’ market to make a few jars this year. My garden suffered a lot with the dry weather this year in Edmonton. I have not had good results from making pickles, even though I try every year – every jar seems different and I’ve only had about a dozen jars turn out well for me over the years. Maybe this is the magic recipe for me! Thank you so much! Would rate the recipe a 10 if I was allowed to!
So happy to hear you loved them so much. I have never forgotten a jar, we usually eat them in days. Now I wonder if I should make some to store. Thank you for sharing.
Are there probiotics in the short fermenting time in this Recipe? Thanks
Yes, any fermentation happens through good bacteria. If there would not be any, the cucumbers would smell rotten.