Tag Archives: dill

Fermented Veggies in a Jar or a Crock

Fermented VeggiesAs the gardening season winds down, you might want to try fermenting some veggies instead of canning them. It is so much easier and less time consuming than all the steps,  like boiling water baths required for traditional canning.  You can do as little as one jar or as many as you like.

I consider the process of making a jar of fermented veggies as simple as making a salad in a jar.

Basically a “dill crock” is a variation on fermented veggies. If you don’t have dill or a grape leaf you can still make the fermented veggies.  The sea salt is a preserving agent that prevents putrefying bacteria from getting a foothold.

Fermented vegetables taste like pickles but offers the advantage of being loaded with large amounts of beneficial bacteria also known as probiotics, hence they are good for digestion, good for health.

The Weston A Price foundation recommends a tablespoon of a fermented food at every meal to promote health.

This is an easy project, adapted from The Living Farm newsletter several years back  – so be brave and give it a try..

Here are the simple instructions:

  1. Use a quart, half gallon jar or crock.

  2. Make a brine of 2 Tbsp salt, 6 cups water, and ½ cup cider vinegar. The brine is used to cover all the vegetables in the crock.

  3. Grape Leaf – Place a small layer of grape leaves in the bottom of the jar to help keep veggies crisp, if desired. This is not essential.

  4. Dill: Place a layer of dill on top of the grape leaves.  Also optional – other herbs such as garlic or ginger can be used.

  5. The Vegetables: Almost any crisp vegetable can go into a “dill crock” such as carrots, onions, garlic, cauliflower, peppers, green tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, etc. Green Beans need 3 minutes of blanching because otherwise they turn out too tough or hard to chew.

  6. Time: Once you fill the jar or crock with the vegetables, pour in the brine, screw on a cap tightly to the jar or weigh the vegetables down with a plate and rock to hold the vegetables under the brine.

  7. Store the vegetables in a closet or cupboard for 5-6 days up to 2 weeks. If a white foam appears at the top do not panic, this is normal, just remove the foam and the vegetables are ready to eat.

  8. Refrigerate and enjoy!

  9. Let your nose be your guide. This is not an official USDA method, but a time-tested method used for centuries to preserve vegetables.

Make Your Own Pickling Spice Blends

Make Your Own Blend Suggestions

Make Your Own Blend Suggestions- Read on for details and Recipes

Without herbs and spices, a pickle would be a bland shadow of the fresh cucumber it started out to be. The myriad nuances and complexities provided by the herbs and spices used in the pickling process are what give pickles their signature flavors.  Bulk spices for making pickle spice mixes are available at the Trading Post.  Pre-packaged pickle spice mixes are available at Paonia Farm and Home Supply. 

It’s easy and fun to create your own signature pickling blend according to your taste preferences. Begin with a basic, multi-functional seasoning blend for the brine, then experiment with additional spices to strike a balance that makes the perfect pickle.

Note: The information below refers to cucumber pickles, but just about any vegetable, from Italian giardiniera to onions and radishes, can be pickled using your own customized seasoned brine.

Step 1: Understand the basic elements of a pickling spice blend

Salt, sugar, turmeric, garlic, onion, peppers and dill seed are essential to any basic pickling spice blend for the role they each play in creating a balanced, effective brine.

  • Salt: Helps create the brine and draws out moisture from the raw cucumber so that it can be replaced by the flavors of the seasoned brine.
  • Sugar: Helps to counterbalance the salty tartness of the vinegar brine. Sugar is especially necessary for sweet pickles like bread-n-butters.
  • Turmeric: Adds an unmistakable earthy richness and produces the vivid yellow brine necessary in many finished pickle jars.
  • Garlic and onion: Add aromatic, flavor-enhancing depth to what would otherwise be bland, one-note cucumbers.
  • Chili peppers and black peppercorns: Add heat.
  • Dill seed: Gives dill pickles their signature taste.

Basic Pickling Spice Blend

Use Your Creativity to Customize Your Own Spice Blends

Use Your Creativity to Customize Your Own Spice Blends

  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon granulated onion
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric root powder

Step 2: Experiment with additional spices

Once you’ve covered the basics, adding more spices to your blend will give it a unique character based on your tastes and preferences. The following spices make good additions to the basic blend above.

  • Allspice: mild, clove and cinnamon depthspices
  • Cinnamon: spicy, hot sweetness
  • Celery: fresh, green vegetal flavors
  • Mustard seed: aromatic spiciness
  • Coriander seed: floral, fruity spiciness resembling lime or orange
  • Bay leaf: warm, soft, aromatic spice flavor
  • Ginger: lemony, warm
  • Fennel seed: fruity, vegetal, warm
  • Fenugreek seed: rich, slightly nutty

To start, add a pinch to 1/2 teaspoon of one or more spices from this list to your basic pickling spice blend.

Step 3: Create your signature recipe

Classic pickles such as dill, bread-n-butter and sweet gherkin have their own pickling spice blends that may vary slightly from recipe to recipe. Likewise, you can add specific flavor profiles to the basic blend to create your own signature recipes.

  • Chipotle pepper: Hot, smoky
  • Curry powder featuring red chilies, paprika and cumin: fiery, exotic
  • Star anise: sweet, mild
  • Onion flakes and garlic granules: flavor boosting
  • Cardamom pods/seeds: aromatic, penetrating

Step 4: Make pickles!

Following a trusted recipe and safe canning processes, put your customized pickling spice blend to the test! Leave spices whole in the jar or strain them out of the brine before the pickles are jarred.

For basic cucumber pickles, try your blend in the recipe below.

Homemade Cucumber Pickles

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups water
  • 2 ¾ cups vinegar
  • ¼ cup non-iodized sea or Kosher salt
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons pickling spice
  • Approximately 4 pounds fresh pickling cucumbers, sliced and blossom ends removed

Directions:

  • Pack cucumbers into sterile glass jars.
  • In a large saucepan, combine pickling spice blend and brine ingredients. Heat and stir until salt is dissolved.
  • Strain spices (optional).
  • Pour brine over jarred pickles. Following safe canning processes recommended by the Ball Blue Book, process in a water bath or store in the refrigerator.
Sweet or Dill Pickles Preserve the Summer Bounty

Sweet or Dill Pickles Preserve the Summer Bounty

The above information is adapted from Frontier Coop

Second Season Gardening

fallgreensDid you miss getting some carrots, kale, herbs, or chard into the garden this spring?  Gardening for a Second Season starting mid to late summer (late July early August) is as an ideal time to plant seeds for a second gardening season as early spring.   Plus, that second season can be as productive as your major early spring plantings.

For a delicious and very nutritious cornucopia of fall meals, late summer is the time to plant juicy lettuces, the cool -season aromatic herbs – dill, garlic chives, chervil, cilantro, arugula, and parsley; hearty greens like chard or kale;  Oriental greens; carrots, beets, leeks, peas, green onion, spinach, radishes, fennel and all the brassica family members.

Plant a second season garden of crops that tolerate cold

Plant a second season garden of crops that tolerate cold

Late planted crops have less competition from weeds and pests and grow beautifully with less garden work. It may seem odd to be starting new seeds when a lot of your summer produce like squash and tomatoes are still cranking, but it’s well worth the effort.

For reliable harvests in cooler weather, seedlings must have good initial growth and well-established root systems. The goal is to have fully grown, ready to pick plants that basically store themselves in the garden throughout the fall, so you can pick them as you need them over a long sustained harvest season.

Start seeds in containers or in a garden area with dappled sun or light shade — wherever seeds can germinate comfortably out of the hot sun but still get plenty of light after seedlings are well-established. Plant in well-prepared moist soil and in the evening so they will have the advantage of cooler night temperatures to settle in and minimize shock.

With daytime temperatures likely to  still be in the high 80’s, or even 90’s you will need to shelter your newly transplanted seedlings with row covers or a shade cloths for a few days so they can adjust heat and sun.

Once the seedlings have acclimated, don’t forget to supply adequate moisture to these young crops and fertilize them regularly in the early growing stages.

All herb, vegetable and flower seeds can still be purchased at Paonia Farm and Home.