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Pickling Food: Everything you need to know to begin using your ‘garden bounty’

Today, Jason Michael Thomas joined us to teach about everything pickling. He demonstrated how to do a quick refrigerator pickling, showed a simple way to achieve lacto-fermentation with any fruit or vegetable, and more! Watch the videos above and below for his full tutorials.

Pickled zucchini and yellow squash spears

The recipe works better with smaller squash, before they have big seeds and get softer.


  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon red peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes for some heat
  • 2 or more cloves of sliced garlic
  • A few raw onion slices


  • For pickling, start with a sanitized jar — use a dishwasher or boil for one minute, lids and jars.
  • Make pickling liquid with 1 quart pickling vinegar (5 percent acidity) and one quart spring water.
  • Dissolve 2 tablespoons salt and 2 tablespoons sugar or honey in the water.
  • Add some flavor to the pickles in each quart jar with
  • Remember this recipe is just a guide — you can also use cumin or fennel seeds, powdered spices, sliced hot peppers… HAVE FUN WITH IT!

Lacto-fermented cherry tomatoes

For food safety it is important to use 2.5 percent salt in the sanitized jar for the weight of the tomatoes AND the water that will cover the tomatoes. The tomatoes must be submerged or they can spoil. Use a weight to weigh them down if necessary, they are sold and easily found online.

To easily figure out how much salt to add, use a scale. Weigh the tomatoes in grams, and calculate 2.5 percent of the weight. For example 2.5 percent of 100 grams is 2.5 grams. 2.5 percent of 500 grams is 12.5 grams of salt to add. Add the same 2.5 percent of salt for the water you add to cover the tomatoes. For example if you need 100 grams of water to cover the tomatoes ad 2.5 grams of salt to the water.

Leave out in a cool spot covered with a cloth or coffee filter fastened with a rubber band. Check on it every day or two and remove any scum that forms on the top of the water. After one or two weeks it will be ready for the refrigerator depending on how fermented you want it. The fermentation process will produce all kinds of great flavor! Enjoy!

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