Want to Try Pickling? Farmers’ Markets Are Your Chance

Sue Z. has tips for seasoning and timing your pickled veggies (hey, she didn’t win second place at the Minnesota State Fair for nothing)

Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

The best stalks of fresh picked dill, garlic bulbs, and various veggies for pickling are popping up at farmers’ markets this month. I used to only make dill pickles but have started to wing out to beets and carrots and other homegrown vegetables, too.

Ask the farmers how they do their pickling, as over the years the timing has changed. No need to have them ferment for days; the process is much faster now. The first time I entered my pickles in the State Fair with my friend Delories Sigel, we got a call to come get them, as they were bubbling over. An even better memory? Later winning a second-place ribbon.

Head to a farmers’ market this weekend with these seasoning and timing ideas in mind:


In addition to fresh dill, you can use any spices that you like, including:

  • fennel seeds
  • peppercorns
  • coriander
  • celery
  • sliced garlic (I recommend lots of it)
  • dill seeds (if you don’t have fresh dill)
  • bay leaves (one or two per jar)

Try using one and a half teaspoons of sea salt or kosher salt per one cup of unchlorinated water (filtered is best).

Timing & Recipes

Keep the covered jars in a cool place for three to five days till the water starts clouding. Then refrigerate them.

If this is confusing, we have also compiled five pickle recipes here. (They include classic dill, bread-and-butter, and Swedish 1-2-3 pickles.) Just promise to try to make a batch of crispy, delicious dill pickles this summer. You will be glad you did, and maybe next year you can enter them in the State Fair.

Sue Zelickson (Sue Z.) is a James Beard Award-winning food media personality, philanthropist, and longtime contributor to Minnesota Monthly and WCCO radio. She has founded the Charlie Awards, the Women Who Really Cook networking organization for women in the local food industry, and the Kids Cafe at Perspectives, Inc., which improves access to nutritious meals for families in need. You can find her helping to raise funds for charitable organizations, including some she has had a hand in building.

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