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I'm looking for some outside the box ideas for fermented (sour) pickles. Fermented pickles only use a salt water brine, spices and some time.

Here's a short list of what I'm NOT looking for:

  • Anything using dill
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kimchee

An example of what I am looking for is the selected answer for this question.

Cucumber pickles using tarragon. A friend suggested red bell pepper pickles using lemon grass.

Let your brain go wild. If you're having trouble thinking of something, pick a spice or herb and then a vegetable that might taste good pickled with it.

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Hey haydenmuhl. This is an interesting question but it's unlikely to have one 'correct' answer. Because of that, would you edit your post so that it's community wiki.? That means that all the answers will be editable. You can read more about it here:…. – Ocaasi Aug 14 '10 at 9:38

I'm including links to specific recipes here, but not all of these recipes give fermenting instructions. I'm sure you could do these fermented though - as opposed to using whatever other pickling method is given.

You may want to check out this book, containing 200 pickle recipes or this book with hundreds more.

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AB did an episode on Good Eats about Pickles a few years ago. Here is a list of his "non-dill" pickle recipes:


Summer Fruits

Hurry Curry Cauliflower

Note: none of these appear to be "fermented", though.

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Bread and Butter Pickles


  • 2 1/2 lbs pickling cucumbers (fresh from the market)
  • 1 pound white or yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup pickling salt (can use Kosher salt as a substitute, regular table salt has additives in it that will turn the pickles dark and muddy the color of the pickle juice)
  • 1 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar (5% acidity)
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar (5% acidity)
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 Tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 6 allspice berries plus a pinch of ground allspice
  • 6 whole cloves plus a pinch of ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
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You didn't specify if there was a certain vegetable you wanted to pickle, but my grandmother used to make excellent pickled green tomatoes, and she didn't use any dill in them that I'm aware of. It looks like most of the recipes I'm seeing online also don't include dill.

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Here are some Asian inspired ideas:

  • I really like using Japanese Umeboshi plums to flavor other pickles. They are quite tart on their own. Thinking outside of the box...try a traditional sour pickle recipe and throw some of these plums in. I've never experimented with it, but I think it will taste quite good.
  • You can also use Lihing Mui, which is a lightly sweet and really tart flavoring that you can get in powder form. Here's a Hawaiian recipe (with Filipino influence) that uses it... Pickle Mango with Li Hing Mui
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Inlagd Sill (Pickled Herring) is a favourite Swedish dish:

  • 2 salted herring
  • 3-4 tblsp spirit vinegar (failing that white vinegar with as high acetic acid content as you can get)
  • 1/2 cup or 80g sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 sliced red onion
  • 1 small sliced carrot
  • 8 dried whole all spice berries (slightly crushed)
  • 1 bay leaf

Soak the salted herring in water overnight. Drain and bone the next day and to make four filets. Slice the filets width-wise to make herring chunks about an inch and a half across.

Bring the other ingredients to a boil and then leave to cool. Mix the herring pieces in with the pickling liquid and then fill a pickling jar. Keep the herring in the fridge for two days before serving with boiled potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, crisp-bread and hard cheese.

Update: The spirit vinegar in Sweden (ättika) is sold in as high concentrations as 24% acetic acid. If you are using something below that, adjust the proportions of water vs. vinegar to aim for a final solution around 6%. If your vinegar is 6% to begin with, that means that you can cut out the water altogether using instead about a cup of vinegar.

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I'm going to have to try making this. I love pickled herring, but I've never tried to prepare it before. – Taeraresh Aug 26 '10 at 21:42

A few suggestions from my own kitchen:

  • Beet spears with caraways seeds. I coat the spears with salt to draw out as much juice as I can, but they definitely need a bit of extra brine to keep covered. They come out with a sweet and sour, Eastern European flavor.
  • Julienned carrots with garlic and whole peppercorns. I usually just slice the garlic cloves in half, but you could mince them for stronger garlic flavor. These also need a bit of extra brine added. I usually ferment them for about a week. They're addictive.
  • Sauerruben. This is a traditional German thing, just like sauerkraut but made with grated turnips. The flavor is a bit mustardy. Fantastic as a condiment for sausages or other strong-flavored meats.

I've made all of these multiple times, and they never disappoint!

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