Raw & Easy Paleo Pickles – AIP, Low-FODMAP, Non-Fermented

(Guess what? Prepping this batch of pickles to brine will take less time than it will take you to read this post. Pinky swear!)

easy raw aip paleo pickles

These pickles are definitely a staple in my kitchen.  Their crunchy scrumptiousness makes for a great relish to put in tuna salad or deviled egg salad when whizzed up in a mini food processor.  After they’ve been pickled I like to slice them in rounds for hamburger dilly toppers, or slice in quarters for dill spears.  The best way is right out of the mason jar, though! Crunch!

The pickles were noticeably tart after 3 days in the fridge but still not pickled all the way through to the center.  I found they were best after soaking in the brine after a full week.

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Making your own pickles is a great way to control the ingredients so that you know exactly what you’re snacking on. Take a looksie at the label of pretty much any organic or truly natural jar of pickles you pick up at the grocery store and you’ll be bound to find that they include virtually the same ingredients:

  • Vinegar
  • Spices
  • Salt
  • Sugar

In addition to those guys above, there are a plethora of not-so-natural brands of pickles which tend to have some pretty creepy-sounding ingredients:

  • Citric acid
  • Corn syrup
  • High fructose corn sweetener
  • Alum
  • Calcium chloride
  • Sodium benzoate
  • Potassium sorbate
  • Yellow #5
  • Polysorbate 80
  • Natural flavoring

If you’re anything like me, I like to enjoy my food with as few unnecessary ingredients as possible, and I do not want to eat any chemicals or additives on a regular basis.

More often than not, I find that even Paleo-friendly convenience foods have ingredients in them that I personally cannot tolerate.

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Let me get started with the type of vinegar used in most commercial pickles, organic/natural or not. Distilled white vinegar, aka spirit vinegar, lays on the border of the Paleo/Not-so-Paleo scale. This type of vinegar is almost always produced from grain. Although the distillation process is thought to remove the dangerous parts of the grain (gluten, phytic acid), some people prefer to abstain from grain-based products in any form.  I am one of these people for sure!  

See: “Is White Vinegar Paleo?”

I prefer to use good ol’ apple cider vinegar as the base for most of my brines and sauces. It’s neutral flavor, cost-effectiveness (I can pick up a half-gallon of the good organic stuff at Costco for under $5), and health benefits have me sold as a replacement to ingesting plain’ ol’ white vinegar. (I will, on the other hand, happily use it for cleaning purposes.)

For info about other vinegars on a Paleo diet, see: “What About Vinegar?”

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As you may know, spices on an elimination diet are pretty much thin-pickin’s. The AIP omits many of the seasonings used in commercially produced pickles. Some of the common ones you will find swimming at the bottom of the jar are peppercorns, allspice, chiles and mustard seeds. You may not actually be consuming the spice ITSELF, but if you’re in the process of healing your gut lining even just the infusion of these properties can irritate your belly and set back your progress.  With homemade pickles, I generally use AIP-friendly seasonings like garlic, dill, clove and ginger.

Now we have the issue of salt. Obviously the higher quality of every ingredient you put into a concoction, the higher quality the concoction will be as a whole. Processed pickles quite often contain a cheaper version of salt (think table salt or kosher salt). This version uses pink salt, my uber fave because MINERALS and because PINK! I alternate between using Himalayan and Utah Real Salt. Either one will do you right.

Lastly, we’re looking at you, sugar. To our bodies, sugar is sugar is sugar in terms of inflammation and insulin spikes. BUT if you are sparse with your amounts and you use higher quality versions of sweetener in your diet, my opinion is that a little bit can be a part of a Paleo diet. My favorite AIP-friendly sweetener is raw honey, my go-to ketogenic / low carb sweetener is monk fruit powder (recipe coming soon for corn-free monk fruit “extract” drops!). Another primal honorable mention with a lower glycemic index than honey is the earthy and delicious coconut nectar.

See: “Is Monk Fruit Paleo?”

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I’m grateful that we have a variety of high quality ingredients available these days to transform our favorite convenience foods into homemade healing powerhouses.   Lately I’ve been experimenting with recipes for ketchup, BBQ sauce, dressings, and even more varieties of pickles like beets and carrots. (All recipes will be coming to the blog!) 

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I like that they don’t require cooking or fermenting.  Cooking can tend to make them rubbery, and fermenting is prone to yeast growth.  Yeasty foods have a tendency to be harmful rather than helpful for those of us recovering from SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth).  These pickles are better for patients following a low-FODMAP diet, as long as the ingredients you put into the brine are compliant with your diet.

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I also experimented with re-using the brine.  If you pour a little bit of brine out and add back in some extra vinegar / acidity, your pickles should do just fine with one more go-round.  I don’t recommend reusing the brine more than once, though, due to potential non-beneficial-bacterial growth.

Feeling adventurous? Try out different vinegars, spices and herbs.  Use different sweeteners and flavored salts to zest up your pickle jar. 

Do you have a favorite blend that is your go-to?  Tell me in the comments below if you have a favorite brine combo that you love!

Check out this recipe, and other delicious AIP recipes at Phoenix Helix's Recipe Roundtable!
Check out this recipe, and other delicious AIP recipes at Phoenix Helix’s Recipe Roundtable!

Raw & Easy Paleo Pickles -AIP, Low-FODMAP, Keto
Making your own tangy, crisp refrigerator pickles is easier than trying to find a truly Paleo version at the supermarket. I like to make two different flavors at a time so I have an option between sweet and sour.
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Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. DILL PICKLES
  2. 32 oz wide mouth mason jar, sterilized
  3. 1 lb small pickling cucumbers, whole (should be about 3" to 4" long and about 2" wide or smaller for best results)
  4. 1 1/2 cup Apple cider vinegar
  5. 1/2 tsp Dill, dried -or- 1 Tb fresh
  6. 1 Tb pink salt
  7. 1/8 tsp Garlic powder *OMIT FOR LOW-FODMAP* or- 2 crushed fresh garlic cloves
  8. Water
  9. ----------------------------
  10. BALSAMIC PICKLES
  11. 32 oz wide mouth mason jar, sterilized
  12. 1 lb small pickling cucumbers, whole (should be about 3" to 4" long and about 2" wide or smaller for best results)
  13. 1 cup Balsamic vinegar
  14. 1/2 cup Lemon juice
  15. 1 tsp pink salt
  16. 1 Tb Honey *OMIT FOR LOW FODMAP* *FOR KETO USE PREFERRED SWEETENER*
  17. 1/4 tsp Onion powder *OMIT FOR LOW-FODMAP*
  18. 1/8 tsp Garlic powder *OMIT FOR LOW-FODMAP*
  19. Water
Instructions
  1. Add cucumbers to the jars.
  2. Pour in vinegar next, then add in remaining ingredients.
  3. Fill to 2" from the top with water.
  4. Screw the lid on tightly, then shake it all up very well until everything is well distributed and salt is dissolved.
  5. Taste brine to see if you would like to adjust salt or seasonings.
  6. Store in the refrigerator, and allow to brine for approximately a week.
Notes
  1. For a more tart pickle, you can fill the jar with entirely vinegar, or to reduce the acidity use a weaker ratio of vinegar to water.
  2. After brining is complete, enjoy whole, sliced, quartered, or whizzed in the food processor for fresh relish.
The Unskilled Cavewoman http://www.theunskilledcavewoman.com/
Photo credits:
Peppercorns: https://pixabay.com/en/pepper-peppercorns-spice-spices-175570/
Spice market: https://pixabay.com/en/spices-farbenspiel-market-marrakech-1080544/
Vinegar: https://pixabay.com/en/vinegar-cleaning-cleaner-clean-768948/

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