These easy lacto-fermented pickle chips are a favorite snack and side dish at my house. They’re packed with delicious nutrition, so I don’t mind. 😉
The first time I heard the term ‘lacto-fermented’ I was a tad confused. How could lactose ferment anything? Where those pickles really made with cheese?
After a little research I learned the truth: there’s no lactose in lacto-fermentation. That means I could continue my dairy-free lifestyle and still enjoy lacto-fermented veggies!
If you’ve been confused by the terminology too, let me do some ‘splaining.
Meet my friend, Lactobacillus.
“Lacto” is short for a specific species of bacteria, Lactobacillus. So named because it was first studied in milk ferments, different strains of these bacteria are all over the place. They live on plants, especially those low-growing ones, and also live in human gastrointestinal tracts, mouths, and other places on our bodies, as well as on animals.
Definitely sounds like something you wanna put in your food, yes? Of course, yes. But why? Lactobacillus helps convert sugar into lactic acid, which is a natural preservative that stifles the growth of harmful bacteria. It also increases and preserves vitamin and enzyme levels of fermented food, making it easier to digest!
Pretty good for little bugs… Kidding.
How it works.
Lacto-fermenting works by creating an anaerobic (meaning oxygen-free), acidic environment with the use of a brine. The acidity of the brine protects agains toxins growing in the ferment, and the lack of oxygen makes it impossible for bad bacteria to grow, as well.
This form of fermentation is just about as old as fermentation itself, and is pretty much the easiest and safest form of food preservation out there. The brine is just a simple mix of sea salt and water, poured over whatever you want to preserve and let sit for a few days.
That’s pretty much all there is to it!
Lacto-Fermented Pickle Chips
Now on to the pickle chips! Until my 5th pregnancy I was never a fan of pickles. During those 9 months I practically lived on pickles. And I’m pretty sure my now-2-year old could live on pickles, too. 😉
Though pickles are pretty cheap in the grocery store, they’re also usually pretty packed with unnecessary and unhealthy ingredients. Just look at the ingredient list in these common Vlasic pickle chips sold at Walmart:
“Cucumbers, Water, Distilled Vinegar, Salt, Sodium Benzoate (Preservatives), Calcium Chloride, Natural Flavor, Polysorbate 80, Yellow 5.”
As opposed to the ingredient list of these homemade lacto-fermented pickle chips:
Cucumbers, onions, garlic, water, sea salt, dill, black tea (optional, just helps them stay crispier).
Which one do you want to be putting in your body?
In the recipe card I’ve linked to some of the products from my affiliate partners that I like to use. Purchasing through these links won’t cost you anything extra. Thanks! 😉
Easy Lacto-Fermented Pickle Chips
Free of grain, gluten, eggs, dairy, and sugar.
- 3-6 whole, fresh, organic cucumbers (amount depending on the size of your cukes)
- 1/2 yellow onion
- 2-4 cloves garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon dill
- 1 teaspoon organic loose leaf or a pinch ground black tea
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- filtered water
Wash cucumbers and slice into chips. Peel and slice onion into rings. Crush and peel garlic cloves.
Layer cucumbers, onions and garlic in a clean quart-sized canning jar, packing tightly up to about 2 inches below the rim of the jar. Sprinkle with dill and black tea.
In a separate jar, combine the salt and water. Cover tightly and shake vigorously to dissolve the salt.
Pour the salt over the cucumber mixture, topping off with water until the jar is filled about 1 inch below the rim. Make sure all the veggies are completely covered. If your veggies are having a hard time staying below the water (sometimes they will float) fold a clean cabbage leaf into the top of the jar, pressing it below the waterline to hold down the veggies.
Cap the jar tightly and set it out of direct sunlight for 3 days. (I place mine in a bottom cabinet.) After three days transfer to the fridge for longer storage, or uncap and enjoy!
Pin these Easy Lacto-Fermented Pickle Chips for later!
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I have so many cucumbers right now , I can’t wait to make this!!!!! thanks for the recipe!!!!
You’re so welcome! I hope you enjoy them!
I want to make these this week! Do you think it’s ok to use a red onion?
I have all the ingredients and fresh dill growing in a pot, nearby!
Would love to try these, and if I don’t hear back, will gamble that the red onion is fine!
I’ve never tried it with red onion, but if you like red onions than I’m sure it would be fine! You can also totally leave out the onion and the recipe will still be delicious! I hope you enjoy them!
Raia — will try and report back! TUVM!! xo
What is the tea for? Just curious. 🙂
The tea contains tannins, which help keep the pickles crispy. If you have grape leaves on hand you could use those instead, or you could leave them out altogether. 🙂
Bay leaves are another option.
Thanks for sharing, Thomas!
Homemade pickles are my favorite ferment! They’re so easy and hard to mess up!
I agree! They’re so much yummier than store-bought, too!
These look so good. I would eat one every time I walked by the fridge!
Haha! Yeah… I might have that issue. 😉
SO yummy! I bet these are the best pickles! I love how easy they are to make too.
Yes! These are some of my favorite homemade pickles! SO yummy and so easy!
Great explanation of lacto-fermenting! I’ve always wanted to try making pickles, these look so good!
Thanks, Corrine! You should definitely try it, they’re so easy!
About how much water do you use per tablespoon of salt?
These look amazing and so simple! I know what I’ll be doing with all the cucumbers that are growing in my garden 🙂
Yes! They are so simple, and they get devoured quite happily by my family. Perfect use for excess cucumbers. 😉
Nothing better than a crunchy pickle!
Amen! Except maybe chocolate… 😉
I am definitely making your version before all these abundant and beloved cukes are gone for the season!! Thank you for such a perfect recipe; can’t wait!!
You’re so welcome! I hope you enjoy them, Megan!
Maybe I missed it, but how much filtered water to the 1 Tbls of sea salt?
Just enough water to fill a pickle-packed quart-sized jar about 1 inch from the rim. 🙂 You probably won’t need more than a cup.
Thanks for the recipe! Are the pickles sour/tangy?
Not super sour, probably about a 7 on a scale of 10. 🙂
My local store does not have organic cucumbers, will this recipe work with non organic pickles.
I think they should work. 🙂