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Celebrating Opening Weekend of Clark’s Elioak Farm Stand with a few jars of Dill Pickles

July 4, 2011

Dill Pickles 02

One of the best things about living in the suburbs of Maryland is that we have access to a ton of local farmers’ markets  from Washington D.C to Baltimore. And now that I have a car to haul my groceries, I no longer have to restrict myself to what I can lug back on the back of my bike going against traffic down a busy city street, although I do miss it from time to time.

I have to admit that my most hated season is summer in Maryland, the humidity and heat is sometimes just unbearable and I’m such a whiner about it too. But, what makes the July and August months survivable is when the Clark’s Elioak Farm Stand opens on the first weekend of July.

I try not to play favorites as to which market I purchase from regularly but Clark’s Elioak Farm in Ellicott City holds a special place in my heart. I spent much of my high school years hanging out on the farm,  and have watched what started as a small petting farm grow into the Enchanted Forest and a well stocked farm stand that sells seasonal fruits and vegetables along with eggs, dairy and grass fed beef and lamb, and this year they even have a pick your own herbs and flowers field.

Since it was their opening weekend, I made sure to stop by and see what they had in stock. I was pleasantly surprised to find cantaloupe so fragrant that you can smell it from about a foot away), sweet corn from Eastern Maryland, an abundant amount of zucchini, bright yellow patty pan squash, cucumbers and many more. After an hour of mingling at the stand and trying out all their fresh herbs (lemon-basil being my new obsession), I left with 3 dozen ears of corn, 2 cantaloupes, a pound of cherries, 20 pickling cucumbers and a basket of herbs. I was concerned with what I would do with so many pickles, but my friend devised the brilliant idea that I make dill pickles and share them with her.

I’m pretty particular about pickles, I don’t really like it when they are super salty and they have to be cold and crispy. I like them with a bit of a kick, so along with the usual pickling spices of black peppercorn, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, celery seeds I added a bit of red chili pepper flakes and a few cloves of sliced garlic.    They are the perfect condiment and side dish for any summer meal. You can eat them within 24-48 hours of pickling them and they last up to 2 weeks. So let’s get to pickling!

Dick Pickles Ingredients 01

Dill Pickles
adapted from Blondie’s Cakes & Things

4 cups       water
1 cup         distilled white vinegar
2 tbsp       kosher salt
1 teasp      white sugar
6 pickling cucumbers cut into quarters
1 teasp      black peppercorns
1/2 teasp  coriander seeds
1/2 teasp  mustard seeds
1 dried bay leaf (broken up)
1/4 teasp  celery seeds (optional)
1/4 teasp  red chili pepper flakes
8 medium cloves garlic, cut into long thin pieces
6 large sprigs of fresh dill

Equipment: 2 quart sized ball jars, or 1 large half liter jar (cleaned and dried)

1. In a non-reactive pot, bring water, vinegar, salt, and sugar to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
2. Place peppercorns, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, dried bay leaf, celery seeds, and red chili pepper flakes in the bottom of the jars.
3. Tightly pack in the cucumbers, squeeze garlic slices in between the cucumbers.
4. Carefully pour the cooled brine over your cucumbers, make sure they are covered completely (you should have a little over 4.5 cups of brine after boiling and cooling with a bit left over), place dill sprigs on the top of the jar before sealing very well.
5. Turn and shake jar until the pickling seasoning has evenly distributed throughout the brine. Place in refrigerator for at least 48 hours.

Printable Recipe

Dill Pickles 01

If you like your pickles on the saltier side, you can add a bit more salt to your brine. You can also omit the red chili pepper flakes and garlic if you aren’t a fan of the heat and garlicky flavor. This is a pretty basic recipe, so if you want to get crazy try out some other spices or flavors and add it to your brine. I think my next batch will have red peppers and white peppercorn instead of black peppercorn, we shall see!

Cheers & until next time happy pickling!

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. July 5, 2011 9:38 am

    My mom just gave me some home grown cucumbers. Thanks for the recipe! They looks so delish!

  2. July 8, 2011 1:26 pm

    MMMM, I cannot wait until my cukes are ripe in the garden. I’ll be making all different kinds, I especially love traditionally fermented dills!

  3. July 9, 2011 6:48 am

    Great pictures!! Get more information on Clark’s Elioak Farm’s Produce Stand at http://www.facebook.com/ClarksProduce . “LIKE” the page so you can see update of the farm stand see how the garden is growing! Thank’s B for making those wonderful pickles!!

  4. July 9, 2011 7:05 am

    I have been blowing through my pickles this week, I thought it was going to last longer but as they pickle over time they are good with so many different dishes. When they are first pickled they are good as a side dish and then after a few days they are perfect as a condiment with your burgers and hot dogs! Frankly, I’m just eating they by themselves while they are fresh and crispy!!

  5. July 11, 2011 5:35 pm

    Hey! I grew up right by there. I was visiting home for July fourth and got some of that corn you mentioned. We grilled it and it was delicious.

  6. July 20, 2011 6:04 pm

    Oooo, I like your changes and your pictures are lovely! I’ve been making these all summer, I’ll need to try your variation in next week’s batch :D

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