Between an endogenous lust for fermented things (no idea how it happened) , the superabundance of my garden during this summer of wet and mild weather, and an ever-escalating awareness that anything worth eating is not that hard to make -I f--king had to do it.
Of course, I've been making pickled things for decades. But with the exception of sauerkraut, I am not aware that I have ever pickled anything via the naturally occurring lactobacilli that is present on all fruits and vegetables (and probably everything that is alive and lives on the surface of our planet).
My previous pickling experience has been limited to submerging foods in seasoned vinegar with pickling spices (c.f. mass market cornichon and bread & butter pickles) which produces a pickle with the aroma and taste of acetic acid. That kind of pickle is great, but it is nothing like pickles that have been fermented (allowed to be partially digested) by lactic acid producing bacteria.
Pickled sweat peas from my garden. They smell like pickles and eat like peanuts (salty, sweet, umami and -unlike peanuts- sour),
The recipe for this kind of pickle could not be any easier it it had been constructed by a monkey. The basic algorithm is
1) make a 5% brine of salt and water ( for example to one quart or 32 ounces, by weight of water add 1.6 ounces of salt OR per 1 liter or 1000 grams of water add 50 grams of salt)
2) Add seasoning to the solution, heat to create an infusion and let cool to about 60 degrees Fahrenheit (I added garlic, chillies and basil)
3) Add fruits and or vegetables
4) Place in an air tight container making sure that the fruits and or vegetables are covered with the brine
5) Cover tightly and shove into a corner of your kitchen
6) Check every two or three days. If after a week to ten days the mixture smells like pickle, it's probably done
For a more precise pickle recipe with much better photography see Tarragon-Garlic Pickles @ Ruhlman.