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Six Reasons (and Recipes) to Eat Fermented Pickles


My 23-year-old son, DJ, called me from his home. He was very sick with a stomach flu and was in a considerable amount of pain with stomach cramps throughout the night. With a half cup of pickle juice in hand I went over to his home. I went into his room which was dark with no lights. There I found him in sorry shape. He said he hadn’t slept all night because his stomach kept cramping. He was unable to keep anything down and also had a fever. I placed my jar on the counter and said, “DJ, take small sips of this juice every half an hour until the juice is gone. If you do this, you will be up watching TV and eating some rice by tonight.” Later that evening when I came back over to check on him, he was sitting on the sofa watching TV and eating a bowl of plain rice. Nothing makes me happier than to see this happen. DJ is the kindest soul I know, and when he is in pain it kills me. These magical pickles had done their magic again as they had done many times before.

I have stories and stories about pickles, and how they have helped so many on the path to wellness. Let’s face it, cultured vegetables are an amazing food, but there are not many pickles on the market that are lacto fermented. Making your own pickles is easy and fun and the benefits are many. Check out all the things fermented pickles and their juice can do.

Why you should eat Pickles

Fight Viruses

Your immune system fights pathogens with bacteria and your T cell helpers. They destroy foreign invaders, especially when they have large numbers of good microbes. You’ll also get lots of vitamin C that boosts your immune system. These extra microbes do it so effectively that your immune system will become stronger making sickness a thing of the past. 1


All fermented foods can play a really important role in rebalancing the gut flora and recovering from gut imbalances such as Candida. 2 They bring things into balance quickly. Candida yeast doesn’t have the room to grow and flourish as these helper microbes crowd them out, keeping them in their proper place. I should add a note of warning here. Eating large amounts of fermented foods is more powerful than taking large amounts of probiotic supplements. If you consume a lot of fermented foods, this can lead to a Herxheimer reaction.  As the harmful pathogens die off, they can release toxins that can mimic a yeast infection.

Antioxidant Protection

Natural antioxidants found in cucumbers help in the fight against free radicals. Free radicals are unstable chemicals that are formed naturally in the body, and can lead to cell damage. While cooking food may break down some of the heat sensitive nutrients, culturing vegetables preserves their antioxidant power and supplies them with more vitamins and minerals through the magic of fermentation.

Post-Workout Cure

It’s all the rage among athletes these days – I see many of them on TV in their dugouts drinking pickle juice. They swear by it as it helps to rebuild electrolytes post workout. Pickle brine has been shown to reduce muscle cramping and also prevent it if they hydrate with pickle juice before a workout. 3

Hangover Cure

One of the big reasons people feel so terrible when they’ve had too much to drink is because alcohol is a diuretic, leaving them feeling dehydrated. Drinking pickle juice, especially fermented pickle juice, helps to replenish depleted sodium levels. When pickles are fermented, lactic acid is created. This acid helps to lower fat in the bloodstream, improve circulation, lower high blood pressure, and restore electrolyte balance.


Having  lots of beneficial microbes, as a result of eating pickles, can give you not only extra microbes, but digestive enzymes that help you absorb more of the nutrients in the foods you eat. You won’t need as many supplements and vitamins, and you’ll be absorbing more of the live nutrients in your foods. Check out all my pickle recipes below!

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Cinnamon Dill Pickles
Cinnamon is surprisingly delicious in pickles. You just need to throw in a couple cinnamon sticks and let them ferment. Try it, you'll like it!
Donna's Dill Pickles
If you have ever had Bubbies Pickles, then you will like these pickles. You can even use these ingredients to make Dilly Green Beans. Fermented pickles have billions of probiotics and I have a pickle almost everyday. It only takes three days to make them and they will last up to nine months in your fridge. Give them a try!
Earl Grey Tea Pickles
One of the secrets to getting crunchy pickles is to add leaves, such as oak or raspberry, that have tannins in them. You might be thinking, "But how do I know which leaves have tannins? And how do I get ahold of some?" Well don’t worry - tea leaves have tannins too and you can use them to make your pickles crunchy and flavorful. Earl Grey is one of my favorite teas to use because it adds a unique and delightful flavor to these pickles. I can hardly wait for you to try them. We might start a whole new movement of pickles made with different types of tea!
Probiotic Pickle Poppers
These get gobbled up at parties and they're fast and easy to make. Kids love them and they get billions of probiotics in each bite. Cultured pickles have properties all their own. They can help with rehydration on a hot day and athletes use the juice to help they stay hydrate during strenuous sport activities. Pickles poppers are great pickups for kids and adults!
Exclusive Recipe!
Rosemary Sage Lemon Pickles
These have a wonderful flavor. I have found you can also make this recipe using zucchini instead of cucumbers.
Sweet Pickle Relish
You can also make these into bread and butter chip pickles. Just leave the cucumbers and onions in thin slices instead of chopping and dicing them. These are really good on sandwiches.


  1. Kaplan, JL et al., (2011) The role of microbes in developmental immunologic programming. Pediatric Research 69 (6), 465-472.
  2. Hamad, M., Muta’eb, E., Abu‐Shaqra, Q., Fraij, A., Abu‐Elteen, K., & Yasin, S. R. (2006). Utility of the oestrogen‐dependent vaginal candidosis murine model in evaluating the efficacy of various therapies against vaginal Candida albicans infection. Mycoses, 49(2), 104-108.
  3. Miller, K et al., (2010) Reflex Inhibition of Electrically Induced Muscle Cramps in Hypohydrated Humans. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 42 (5), 953-961.
11 Responses to "Six Reasons (and Recipes) to Eat Fermented Pickles"
  1. I am confused about the cultured vegetables and the brine. Do you take them out of the brine when they are done culturing on the counter before you put them in the refrigerator?

  2. Thank you Donna,
    I appreciate it very much you took time to answer me. I have to admit I’m only today coming back to feel alive. Past three days I thought I’m going to dye- but I survived! Still a headache & a bit week, couldn’t eat much the last days- but much better. This felt like a huge dye off of bacterias. Thanks to your answer & link I could understand much better what I’m going through- I’m also not made for the slow path. I love my body- perfectly working for me, always. I love you always focus on what’s good Donna. I believe also that’s the way. I ordered both your books & looking forward. Thanks again. <3 Rosa

  3. Great article, Donna! Will be trying your recipes as my crop of cukes are coming in. I make my pickles with kefir and they taste great, except my pickles are not crunchy… Are fermented pickles always soft? I never leave them out over 3 days. I used 1
    1/2 T of salt for 1/2 gallon jar. Thanks for all you do!

  4. I’m a newbe to kombucha and have made several batches, 1st one great, 2nd one had mold (threw it all away) and my 3rd batch is vinegary. I’ve used gallon pickle jars, and 1/2 gallon jars (I have 6) I thought it would ferment faster but this is the vinegar taste. We have a 5L fermentation crock and made great sourkraut, tried pickled jalapeño (got moldy) and would like to make some of your lacto fermented pickles. BTW-I’ve always liked pickle juice and often snuck sips from the jar.
    Thank you for sharing and I will keep on sipping!

  5. Hi Donna,
    since October ’15 I drink every day 1l green smoothie and eat mainly raw foods.
    I stayed healthy all winter long.
    Your Hayhouse Interview I heard in May inspired me to ferment more, and to start Kefir and Kombucha.
    Since May I have heavy flatulences. I told my self it’ll pass. I love the foods. I read about Herxheimer- but for how long can this go on?
    On top I even got a flue- totally unexpected. I feel frustrated & ask myself- since everyone is different- if it can be, that there are people are not digesting fermented foods very well.
    Ever heard of cases like that?
    Your reactions were short- as far as I read.
    Thank you!
    Admire your work- even I feel quite weak at the moment.

    • If your having a lot of gas its probably the huge sift in microbes in your gut. Having both of these cultured foods is a lot of new microbes and they will help you body detox from toxins stored in the lymph system and in fat cells. Dormant toxins bacteria, viruses, yeast, etc. – can then actually be released back into your body to be disposed of. When the body is supported with new microbes, as well as healthy lifestyle and dietary habits then it starts to release these toxins and also create a new eco system and the gas is from the commotion of a new community of bacteria trying to get established. There are two methods you might want to try and I wrote a blog about it. Although this specifically talks about candida it applies to other detoxification as well. https://www.culturedfoodlife.com/candida-and-cultured-foods/

  6. You have my comment above in John Wallis says: Very interesting piece on the benefits of fermented Pickles and their juice. I said I love the details included and not just a few general positive statements. Also, liked it when you included sources of some of the more technical insights shasred in this article.

  7. Very interesting piece on the benefits of Pickle juice. Love the details included and not just a few general positive statements. Also, liked it when you included sources of some of the more technical insights shared in this article. Got me thinking about rejoining as a Pro Member again.

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