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How-To: Half-Sour Pickles

Updated: May 17, 2021

Half-Sour Pickles are a quick and easy way to satisfy your pickle craving. They take about 10 days and are really hard to mess up. Just make sure you have the right equipment, some bomb-ass seasonings and itty bitty cucumbers!

Watch my IGTV for Half-Sour Pickles here.


Pickles are easily one of my favorite snacks. Ever since I was little and licking the salt off the rim of my parent’s margaritas, I’ve leaned more towards the savory salty territory of snacks. Pickles have always been incorporated into my diet as a kid when I’d have to participate in basal tests (where you don’t eat carbs for as long as you can so the doctors can get a baseline for how your Blood Glucose levels behave).

They’re also SO easy. Once you get your hands on some pickling cucumbers, all you need is a spice cabinet, water and salt then you’re good to go! Pickling cucumbers differ from English cucumbers in the way that they are much small and bumpier with thicker skin able to withstand the pickling juices. They’re also known as Kirby cucumbers! If possible, the fresher and more organic the cucumber the better it is for pickling. Farmers markets are ideal for what you need.

What you need:

  • 5 Kirby/Pickling Cucumbers

  • 1.5 L jar with a clasp

  • 30g Salt (iodine free)

  • 3.5 C water

  • Seasonings (below)

Pickling flavors:

  • Vidalia Onion

  • Dill Weed

  • Fennel seeds

  • Garlic

  • Whole Peppercorns

  • Mustard seeds

  • Red pepper flakes

  • Cardamom pods

  • Tarragon

  • Red onion slices


One thing that is really cool about making pickles is that there’s no wrong way. I guess you could over salt or under flavor, but it’s mostly trial and error! So don’t feel the pressure to follow my directions precisely like in baking. Go with the flow!

I added 3.5 cups of water to my 1.5 L jar and used a salinity chart provided by The Fermentation Podcast to figure out how much salt that would be. Then after eye-balling the seasonings above, I added 5 cucumbers (I had to cut one in half to get them to fit) and shook them all about. Place those babies in the fridge and wait 10 days for them to turn into beautiful crunchy pickles!

The Fermentation Podcast has a handy salinity chart that is helpful for figuring out how much salt* to add to the vessel. If yours isn’t 1.5 L, I would recommend checking it out to make sure your ratio works!

*Always use iodine-free salt because the iodine has caking agents that aren’t good for the pickles.

Now is the hardest part, tucking away that jar full of wanna-be pickles in the refrigerator for 10 days! You can do it! It's worth it. I ate mine within a week (with the help of family and friends) and I think they stay delicious anywhere between 10-20 days! Towards the end they start to absorb too much of the liquid and become grossly salty.

Make sure to tag me (@balanceandbolus) if you give them a go!

xoxo Ciara


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