Dad’s Dills

August 12, 2013

Dispite the fact that we haven’t had much time to keep up with the garden this year, the bounty has been overwhelming. The weather is perfect – just enough heat and moisture. We have beautiful lettuce, chard, beans, peas, carrots, beets, potatoes, zucchini and cucumbers.

My experiment growing the peas and cucumbers together (I thought the peas would be finished before the cucumbers started running too much – wrong) was a dismal failure. Both the peas and cucumbers grew like gangbusters and have become a tangled mess. However, careful wading through the foliage yields plenty. This should be the last week for the peas but the cucumbers are starting to overwhelm.

Ken has stepped up the the plate and volunteered to try his hand at pickling the tub of small cucumbers we picked Sunday morning. Using brother-in-law Rodney’s recipe, he made eight litres of dills. I chose Rod’s recipe because you don’t have to cook the cucumbers, just pour hot brine over them. Hopefully this helps preserve their natural enzymes. I used this recipe last year and they turned out great. Can’t wait to taste Ken’s batch. Ponderosa grown cucumbers, dill and garlic.

Ken's first batch of dills

Ken’s first batch of dills

Rodney’s Secret Dill Recipe

Dill seed heads

7 cups water
1 cup vinegar
1/2 cup pickling salt

Wash the cucumbers well and poke several times with a fork. Wash the dill and garlic well. Sterilize your jars and lids then pack with dill, garlic and cucumbers. Combine the brine ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Pour hot brine over the cucumbers and seal well.

Making dills as a kid, the rule was wash the cucumbers three times in three separate changes of water to make sure they are “scrupulously” clean. (Right Mom?) I remember working on the lawn with three large tubs of cold water and pails and pails of cucumbers to be scrubbed in each tub. By the end you had prunes for hands and you didn’t want to see another cucumber in your life.

I’m glad Ken volunteered for the dill making job. Hope they turn out better than my first attempts. They went from the kitchen table to the compost bin in record time. I think the secret is the water you use. Last year I used bottled spring water. Not sure but I think Ken used our drinking water from the neighbor’s well.


About Darlene & Ken

Experiencing life off the grid, building a home, and trying to live sustainably.
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