This year I'm still not quite where I want to be (I don't think), but it's definitely an improvement! I've got maybe 28 plants, and at the moment I'm averaging 2-4 pickle-sized cucumbers a day. This is still well off of the several pounds that most recipes call for, but since I've been getting this yield for about two weeks now, it's still an improvement! I may not be able to put up pickles to last us the year, but I'll certainly be able to provide us with enough for the summer.
I know I could've gone with classic refrigerator pickles, but I've been wanting to try fermented pickles, and since they also lend themselves well to very small batches, I went with those. I adapted Sally Fallon's recipe from Nourishing Traditions. As far as I can tell, the main difference between her technique and the classic fermented pickle technique is that she adds a few tablespoons of whey to the saltwater brine as a kick-starter, and to ensure that the right kind of bacteria gets a foothold before anything nasty has a chance to set in.
- As many cucumbers as will fit in a quart mason jar (sliced, spears, or whole)
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2T yellow mustard seed
- 1 head of dill seeds or rough equivalent
- 2c water + 2t salt
- 4T whey
with fermented pickles it's normal. It's interesting to watch the progression! The first day they're still bright cucumber green. The second day the color starts to change. By the time they're done they're pickle-colored! The jar on the left has just been started - the jar on the right is about to go into the fridge. I'm happy eating the spears right out of the jar, but my son only likes them on sandwiches. Give them a shot and let me know how they turn out!