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  • Writer's pictureElise

Cook Book Club: July's Spice is Dill Weed!

Updated: Jan 9, 2023

We've made our cook book club virtual! We may not be able to meet in person and cook for one another, but that doesn't mean we can't create together. Each month we will highlight a different spice or seasoning. Kits will include this spice, a recipe that highlights it, a little history on the spice or recipe, and some best practices. I'll post the recipes and information here as well, so let's get cooking! Oh, and we are changing some things. The kit has undergone an upgraded appearance. If low pandemic numbers remain the same or better, we will continue with the in-person meeting July 18th @5pm in our Adult Programming Room in addition to the spices and recipes. We are excited to bring back this element of our cookbook inspired club and the community building it will undoubtedly allow us to do.


This month is our second in-person meeting. Think of it like a community pot luck. Each month has a different theme/request. This month's is to bring a dish that is pickled, uses pickles, or in some way uses a pickling process. But maybe don't come pickled...

Background on Dill Weed

Adapted from herb and cooking blogs around the web

An ancient herb with a global reach, dill has been used in both cooking and medicine for more than 5000 years. Originating in Russia, it has been cited in Ancient Greek, Roman, and Egyptian cultures, not to mention in Babylon, is heavily used in Scandinavian cuisine, and anything with fish, and finds it's voice in Indian and Pakistani cuisine.

Best Practices for Dill Weed

Primarily adapted from,, & others

Dried dill weed is made from the feathery leaves of the dill plant. It tends to have a fresh green, almost buttery, flavor. Dill pairs excellently with salads, seafood and vegetables, dips, spreads, and of course homemade pickles.

As with most dried herbs, keep dill in an airtight jar away from heat and moisture. Some good information to keep in mind:

  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill = 1 tsp dried dill weed

  • 1/2 oz fresh makes about 1/2 cup leaves

  • Fresh dill loses its flavor quickly when cooked whereas the seeds gain flavor and aroma the longer they cook.

  • General pickling amounts: 1 1/2 tsp dill seed per 1 qt pickling liquid

  • Dill seeds can be an excellent substitute for caraway as they taste like a milder version

Herbs that go nicely with dill include chives, basil, parsley, oregano, & thyme.

History of Pickles and Pickling

Primarily adapted from,, and

What one food has been referenced by both the Bible and Shakespeare, was rumored to be one of Cleopatra's beauty secrets, and has appeared in every culture across the globe for at least the last 4000 years? If you guessed the humble pickle, you're in luck. Pickling is one of the earliest known ways to preserve foods for future use and with it's ability to deter growth of bad bacteria, it was often seen as a health food as well.

It all started back in Mesopotamia around 2400-2030BCE, or at least those are the earliest known examples, when someone brought cucumber seeds from India to the Tigris Valley. Pickling quickly became known as a fast and inexpensive, not to mention relatively easy, way to preserve food and subsequently quickly spread to almost every world culture. It meant better, healthier rations for sailors and caravans and opened up ways for families to maintain food during the cold months of the year. Due to their portability and durability, pickles also became a major part of the heritage of a number of diasporic, nomadic or otherwise exiled cultures. Ancient Jews lamented the necessity of leaving their pickles behind when fleeing Egypt.

Dill actually didn't make it into the pickling process until 900CE when it arrived from its native Sumatra to Western Europe, despite extensive use by the Greeks and Romans centuries earlier. Today it is often considered essential in the pickling process.

Truth be told, you can pickle just about anything from fruit to vegetables to meats to eggs and so forth, as long as the flavors mesh well with the often sourness of . And not all are sour. Sugar can also be a very effective pickling additive given the right technique. In fact, there is even a version of the cucumber pickle made with candied red hots that is excessively sweet.


Main Event

Homemade 24 hour Dill Pickles

(No Canning Needed)

As adapted from for use by the Brown Deer Cookbook Club

Servings: 4 ● Prep Time: 5 min. ● Cook Time: 20 min. ● Total Time: 25 min.


  • 1 Cucumber

  • 1/4 cup Fresh Dill Sprigs (lightly packed) (Or 1 Tbl Dried Dill)

  • 3 Garlic Cloves

  • 2 tsp Kosher Salt

  • 1/4 tsp Whole Peppercorns (about 25)

  • 3 Tbl White Vinegar

  • Distilled or Filtered Water

  • Quart Canning Jar with a Lid (I prefer the wide mouth type)


  1. Begin by slicing your cucumber. I like to slice an average sized cucumber into 16 spears. Also finely chop the garlic cloves.

  2. Place about half the fresh dill and some of the chopped garlic into the bottom of the quart canning jar.

  3. Add the cucumber slices to the jar. You can add more of the dill during this step too.

  4. Then add the remaining dill and garlic, and also add in the salt, peppercorns, and white vinegar.

  5. Pour the filtered water over everything, adding just enough water to cover the contents of the jar.

  6. Screw a lid onto the jar and then let the jar set for 12 hours. I just do this on my countertop, but you could also do this in the refrigerator.

  7. After 12 hours, give the jar a little shake to mix things up a bit again, and then turn the jar over (make sure the lid is on tight!) and let it set for another 12 hours in this upside position.

  8. At this point your cucumber slices should be infused and are ready to be enjoyed as pickles. Keep the jar in the refrigerator as you use up your pickles.


  • It’s OK to remove some of the soggy fresh dill from the jar after the 24 hours of brining.

  • We used dried dill. Generally, conversion between fresh and dried herbs in a recipe is roughly 1 tsp dried to 1 Tbsp fresh. There is a slight flavor difference generally as well. Feel free to experiment between the two and figure out what you like the best.

  • Experiment with different spices and flavorings. There are a wide variety of pickle flavorings out there. Maybe it's time to even create your own. Have fun.

  • Many of the recipes out there use pickling cucumbers. According to Boston Organics, these are much smaller with more spines and drier flesh which allows more pickling liquid to soak in.

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