My mom had bought me some Trader Joe’s “Everything But the Bagel Sesame Seasoning” because she knows how much I love “everything” bagels, which I’m assuming you know but in case you don’t is like a magical all-in-one bagel usually with the toppings poppy, sesame, coarse salt, dehydrated onion, and garlic at a minimum. I’ve seen other additions like basil flakes, caraway seeds, cracked pepper and more. By the way, any and all of these are not only feasible for lacto-fermentation, they are simply wonderful used in fermented cucumber pickles. Which brings us to the next part of the story.
After having that spice sit around for months, it suddenly dawned on me one day that a great use would be in pickles. (I also really enjoyed it as a seared tuna crust and as a rub for grilled chicken. It got used up on these ventures and I’ll be needing more again when cucumber season kicks back up in the spring.) My next step was to check that it didn’t contain any ingredients which would disturb the lacto-fermentation process, which it doesn’t, and the salt is sea salt, excellent for ferments.
The ingredients are: sesame seeds, sea salt flakes, dried minced garlic, dried minced onion, black sesame seeds (interesting!), poppy seeds. This is the “everything” I normally find on everything bagels (i.e., poppy, sesame seeds – although I don’t normally find black sesame on the Atlanta bagels – dehydrated onion and garlic, and of course sea salt, but this blend doesn’t include caraway seeds, which is a big fav of mine).
Since this will probably be a pretty new flavor for you, you may want to start with just a quart, which is what this recipe calls for. You can adjust quantities as needed.
This is also what you can call a “shitererin” recipe (appetizing, right?), a Yiddish word for “throw in” style cooking, which means go by feel, taste, and sight rather than precise measurements. This is appropriate since not only bagels, but also kosher garlic dill pickles, were first brought to New York and America by Yiddish speakers in the early 20th century.
Speaking of shiterein, one issue with the seasoning is you don’t get to pick the exact proportions of the seasonings. In the case of the Trader Joe’s blend, the first ingredient is sesame seeds. Furthermore, the second ingredient is salt, which meant that I didn’t want to put in as much salt as I normally would use for a batch of pickles. The following is a good approximation of what I did but I think of this recipe as more of a template. You could add caraway seeds. You could exclude the fresh onion slices or peppercorns, You could build your own everything spice with the proportions you want.
- 4-5 cucumbers to fll a quart jar (or as many as fit while allowing everything to remain under brine)
- 2 cups of filtered water
- 1.5 TBSP of everything seasoning
- 1 TBSP non iodized sea salt (or a 3.5% brine if the Everything Seasoning has salt; a 4.5% brine if the Everything Seasoning is unsalted)
- 1/4 of red (or any) onion, sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic quartered
- Gently wash the cucumbers
- Dissolve the salt in the two cups of water at a warm temperature, along with the “Everything Spice” blend. Allow the brine to come to room temperature before pouring over the cucumbers.
- Add the cucumbers, onion and garlic to th quart jar. Cover with brine and make sure the produce is submerged. Use of a fermenting weight is recommended.
- Ferment between 3-7 days at room temperature, out of sunlight. 7 days for full sours. (I always prefer pickles at around six days before refrigeration.) If you are using regular jar lids, you will want to burp the jar once or twice a day for the full term of the ferment, meaning just a turn of the lid to release gas build-up but not opening the cap in any way.
It is a normal part of lacto-fermentation for the brine to become cloudy and sediment (spent bacteria) to sink to the bottom of the jar, or even hang on to veggies higher up. This seems to be a rather active ferment with plenty of the above. Also, I believe you’ll find the flavor develops more if you have the willpower to leave one or two cukes in the fridge for a few weeks before eating.
Due to the nature of these seasonings rising to the surface of the water, where there can be air exposure and thus a risk for mold formation, it is recommended that you take steps to keep everything submerged. I find complete success in quart jars with a fermentation weight or to really keep small seeds from the top, you can go for the Pickle Pusher which is an ingenious product.
Let me know what you think! Have any tweaks or pics to share?
What I also find works… is if you’re trying to keep your seasonings in tact… is that you could get a black teabag (the tannins help keep the cukes crisp) and you add the seasonings INSIDE the bag… putting the freshly filled teabag at the bottom. This really does the trick so you don’t have to worry about those seasonings rising. This sounds delicious.
great suggestion, agreed, thanks