Pickles and probiotics

Little Rock Farm’s bread and butter pickles.

Little Rock Farm's jarred Bread & Butter Pickles. — Jenna Lambert

Remember the days where the food you put in your body was based on what you wanted, rather than what you needed? If you craved something, you ate it. If it tasted good, you ate some more. Words like vitamins and macronutrients held far less meaning than salty, cheesy, or delicious. Yeah, I don’t remember those days either.

Once you start educating yourself on the importance of the essential elements the human body needs to consume regularly, it can become overwhelming. Just when you start to understand it all, you find out that your body needs more of this, or has a little too much of that. Then, good old Western medicine prescribes something for that sinus infection that throws all of your internal levels out of whack, and you’re back at square one. How has eating, one of our most innate and powerful joys, become so complicated?

Like most things in life, bliss is achieved through balance. I have found that the most blissful balance you can achieve from a culinary perspective is the relationship between the happiness of your tastebuds and the happiness of your stomach. The most effective way to achieve a happy and balanced gut is through the consumption of probiotics. The most tasteful way to consume these probiotics, in my opinion, is through fermented foods. This natural process promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria, and creates that distinctly tart and acidic flavor which we all know and love.

If there is anything equally as important as eating foods that are good for your health and satisfy your taste, it would be finding these products locally. Peter and Debbie from Little Rock Farm not only sell their fermented delights here on the Island, but they have shared their pickling secret with The Times. Debbie has been on the culinary scene since she was 21 years old, gracing our Island with her famous pies, granola, and more. This recipe has been in her family for four generations, and now we’re lucky enough to be in on the secret. And now that you know all about the health benefits of this fermented food, you should feel no shame in eating it by the jarful.

Bread & Butter Pickles

2 dozen Kirby cucumbers (otherwise known as pickling cucumbers)
one green pepper
12 white pearl onions
½ cup kosher salt
3 cups white distilled vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. mustard seed
1 tsp. celery seed
¾ tsp. ground turmeric

Slice cucumbers to ½-inch thickness. Slice green pepper to ¼ inch thickness. Peel onions. Place these ingredients in a bowl, and cover with kosher salt and a layer of ice. Let stand eight hours.

Place cuke mixture in a pot. Add vinegar, sugar, mustard seed, celery seed, and turmeric, and mix.

Portion into canning jars and follow standard canning procedures. Let age for eight weeks.