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Fermented Dill Pickles | Roots & Boots

Fermented Dill Pickles

  • Author: Kathleen | Roots & Boots


  • 4 pounds pickling cucumbers
  • 2 flowering dill heads
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed (or more, to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons pickling spice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 23 tannin-rich leaves (oak, grape, raspberry, horseradish)
  • 8 cups water
  • 1/4 cup unrefined sea salt, finely ground

Pickling Spice

  • 2 tablespoons mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons allspice, whole
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, crushed
  • 2 bay leaves, crumbled


  1. Mix up the pickling spice, reserving 3 tablespoons for this recipe and storing the rest in an airtight container for future use.
  2. Trim both ends of each cucumber, fully removing any bits of blossom or vine.  Failing to complete this step can lead to mushy pickles.
  3. Soak the cucumbers for 30 minutes in a large bowl or tub of ice water.
  4. Remove the cucumbers, dry them, and pack them into two half-gallon jars or into a fermentation crock.
  5. Divide all remaining ingredients between the two jars except for the water and salt.
  6. Heat the water on the stovetop until it is warm, but not hot (about 100 degrees F), then add the salt and stir until it dissolves.
  7. Pour the brine over the cucumbers, taking care that all cukes are fully submerged.  If necessary, add a glass fermentation weight on top to keep all the ingredients submerged.  You can also use a small plate or glass jar in place of a weight.
  8. Add a lid to each jar and allow the cucumbers to ferment for 3-4 weeks* in a dark spot.  Check on the jars every so often to make sure that all ingredients remain submerged.
  9. When they reach your desired sourness, move them to storage in the fridge, basement, or a cool-ish spot where they will keep for 6 months or so.


*Fermentation time seems to vary according to who you ask.  Some ferment for only 3-4 days, then transfer to the fridge or to a dark, cool storage spot.  Feel free to experiment and find out what works best for you.

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