Eat Your Flowers
Did you know that dill flowers are edible?
They tend to get a bad rap because, as with all annuals, the appearance of flowers is a sure sign that your dill plant is about to kick the bucket. The flowers, though a harbinger of impending death, actually have a lot going for them. They’re wonderful pollinator-attractors– bees, in particular, are big fans– and if you leave the flowers to set seed, you can harvest the seeds for use in breads, spice rubs, and seafood dishes. You can also use the flowers fresh, and while I wouldn’t necessarily recommend eating one whole, they can be used with great effect to flavor pickles and soups– anywhere where you would like a subtle hint of dill.
I recently came across a bunch of flowering dill at my farmer’s market and was immediately seized with the need to make dill pickles.
I’ve been getting cucumbers almost every week in my CSA box, and though I feel like a gardening fraud to admit it, I’m not really that big of a cucumber fan. I’ve gotten better at eating cucumbers, especially if they’re liberally dunked in hummus, but I still much prefer them in their pickled form. So when I got a bunch of pickling cucumbers in my CSA box the very same week that flowering dill appeared at the farmer’s market, I took it as a sign that it was time to get a’ picklin’!
Recipe: Cucumber Dill Pickle Spears
This recipe makes one quart jar of pickle spears.
These pickles are incredibly easy to make, and will last for 2-3 weeks in the fridge, though I’ve eaten them up to a month after making them, with no sign of deterioration of quality.
- 2 large kirby cucumbers
- 2 flowering dill heads*
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 cup water
- 2/3 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 cup white wine vinegar
- Wash the cucumbers well, rubbing off any spines. Cut off the stem and blossom ends, and quarter lengthwise. Pack the spears into a clean quart-sized mason jar, trimming as needed to ensure they fit inside with a bit of room to spare at the top.
- Add the dill flower heads, spices, and garlic to the mason jar.
- Bring the salt, water, and white wine vinegar to a boil on the stove. Pour the boiling brine over the cucumbers to cover. Seal the jars and store in the refrigerator for a week before eating, to allow the flavors to meld together. Enjoy!
* If you can’t find dill flowers, you can simply substitute a sprig of dill leaves instead.