Picking Dill for pickles

mrsmoosepants(Zone 6)July 24, 2009

I've searched here & on the internet, but I guess I'm just not getting it.

When do I cut the heads for making dill pickles? When they are yellow, tan or brown? Do I want the flowers or seeds?

Also, my cuke's won't be ready until after the dill is gone to seed. What is my best option for storing the dill heads until I'm ready for making pickles?

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Here is a recent discussion with pics that should answer your questions.

You can actually use the heads at any stage but we prefer picking it before it blooms and definitely before it goes to seed as the flavor changes with each stage.

And the leaves are just as good as the heads. Heads can be dried or stored in ziplock bags with a damp paper towel in the fridge for several days.


Here is a link that might be useful: Dill discussion

    Bookmark   July 24, 2009 at 9:45PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

There are many numerous posts about dill and the times to harvest. The leaves are green and picked then. The seed heads are yellow flowers first, then turn to light green swelled seeds. After that the seeds mature to tan color and start to drop off while the leaves also die out. I like to add the dill seed heads when they are swelled and green. In a half galloj I use about 3-4 fiull sized seed heads an d these on mamouth dill are about 10 inches in diameter. This is when they are at peak flavor. I also add garlic to my dills and use a Mrs. Wages dill pickle mix which also has a lot of dill flavor. I make half sour dills and they are really dill flavored! You can use dried dill seeds, provided they are fresh, but also add fresh dill weed. I dry my dill weed and vacuum pack in in canning jars where it keeps a few years without loss of green color and taste.

This year my cukes are not getting to form yet and the dill that came up from last years dropped seeds are now over 6 foot tall and are at green swelled seed stages. Come on cukes!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2009 at 3:12PM
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david52 Zone 6

That problem with the dill ready far before the cukes is always a major issue here - the dill is up and running in June, and the cukes are just now starting to form.

Dill really is a 'weed' and you can cut it back pretty severely, and it still grows just fine. It will come back faster if you whack it down to the first leaf node, but even the ones I whack off an inch from the ground, two weeks later, here they come again......

    Bookmark   July 25, 2009 at 7:47PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

The 6+ foot tall dill I have, grow stalks at least as big around as my finger. Today, many were snapped over from the rains and covered my walk. Had I known we would have no frost all of May, I would have planted cuke seeds way back in April. 95% of the time May will get several frosts and some come at the end of the month. After plating over 200 tomato and pepper plants and having a frost hit them 4 days after planting caused me to loose about 80% of my plants some years ago. Now I always wait until the end of May before planting outdoors. I think I may also plant another batch of dill seeds then, because all my dill was from dropped seeds from last summers crop, and got a big head start back in early April.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2009 at 12:49AM
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dgkritch(Z8 OR)

I have also frozen my "fresh" dill heads to wait for the darned cukes! Works fine.
Just cut them right below the head, press flat and pop into a ziploc bag and into the freezer. They kind of fold up naturally in one direction. Quart bag usually works. Maybe not if you've got mammoth dill like Kens though!! :-)

You can use them right from the freezer as needed.


    Bookmark   July 27, 2009 at 1:45AM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

I was weeding nearby the tall dill. I felt I was being attacked by giant seed heads. Its everywhere! If I let it go to dried seeds, next year I'll have 4 times as much! Some is starting to die out before its seeds are forming, but most is now alomst passed the swelled green seed stage. I figure gallon size bags may hold them.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2009 at 6:26AM
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dgkritch(Z8 OR)

OH, Ken, I have this vision of you being attacked by Giant Dill!! LOL

Sounds like a movie!

"Attack of the Killer Dill"

I've got a couple of volunteers on steroids this year too! The stalk must be more than an inch in diameter and they're taller than I am (5'5")! The others are more 'normal' size.


    Bookmark   July 27, 2009 at 1:39PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Some of the toppled ones are trying to make me trip on them. Its crazy out there!!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2009 at 3:05PM
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maybe it's a great year for dill, because I have some that's taller than I am (I'm 5'2", but still...), and it's falling over from the weight of the seed heads.

It usually gets wider, this year it got taller. So now I have dill, and the cukes are, I think, a total loss. It's been the coldest July on record and the cucumbers don't like it, it's struggling into the 50s at night.


    Bookmark   July 28, 2009 at 3:33PM
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