Dill is an annual herb that is a member of the Parsley Family. This herb is grown for its bitter seeds that are used to make dill pickles. Dill is easy to grow and a perfect choice for beginning gardeners.
- Dill needs at least six hours of sunlight each day. There are many varieties of dill, some growing up to 42″ tall. As the plants get taller tie them to stakes for support.
- Dill can be grown outdoors in the garden or inside in containers placed on a sunny windowsill. When growing dill in containers, use a pot that is at least 8″ in diameter and 8″ deep.
- Dill responds well to pinching out the growing tip. Pinching will make for a bushier plant, so pinch and use your dill often.
- The leaves of dill can be rinsed, dried then placed in a plastic sandwich bag for freezing.
Dill Pickles (From Alton Brown’s Good Eats 3). Makes 3 pounds pickles
- 5 1/2 ounces pickling salt
- 1 gallon filtered H2O
- 3 pounds pickling cucumbers (4-6 inches in length)
- 1 tablespoons black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
- 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
- 1 teaspoon dill seed
- 1 bunch fresh dill
Combine the salt and water in a pitcher and stir until the salt has dissolved. Rinse the cucumbers thoroughly and trim off the blossom ends. Set aside. Put the peppercorns, pepper flakes, garlic, dill seed, and fresh dill in a 1-galloon crock. Add the cucumbers to the crock on top of the aromatics. Pour the brine mixture over the cucumbers to completely cover the. Pour the remaining water into a 1-gallon ziptop bag and seal. Place the bag on top of the pickles, making sure that all of them are completely submerged in the brine. Set in a cool, dry place. Check the crock after 3 days. Fermentation has begun if you see bubbles rising to the top of the crock. After this, check the crock daily and skim off any scum that forms. If scum forms on the zip-top bag, rinse it off and return it to the top of the crock.
The fermentation is complete when the pickles taste sour and the bubbles have stopped rising; this should take 6-7 days. Once this happens, cover the crock loosely and place in the refrigerator for 3 days, skimming daily or as needed. Store for up to 2 months in the refrigerator, skimming as needed. If the pickles become soft or begin to take on an off odor, this is a sign of spoilage and they should be discarded.
***If the whole fermentation thing is not for you, don’t give up on the pickle! Make refrigerator pickles! Cut your cucumbers into spears, pack them in the same brine, in jars, and stick them in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. You’ll have the same kind of pickle that many delis serve alongside sandwiches.