What Is Dill And How Do You Use It When Cooking

Dill, as an herb and spice, is commonly used to enhance the flavor of many dishes. Dill is often used in salads and widely paired with salmons, potatoes, grains, and many more. We commonly hear dill used to make dill pickles, like for dill pickle soup, dill pickle wrap grilled cheese, or even cajun fried dill pickles.

Dill (Anethum graveolens) is commonly in season during spring and early summer, but growing them in greenhouses is common where they can be available year-round.

What is Dill?

Dill, also called dill weed, is an herb most commonly found in European and Asian cuisines. It is an annual herb in the family Apiaceae, the same family as parsley and celery. Physically, it looks similar to feathery, green leaves growing from a green stem that is often slender with alternating soft leaves and brown, flat, oval seeds.

Dill leaves are usually used as herbs, while its seeds are commonly used as a spice. The leaves come in a sweet, grassy flavor, while the seeds are more aromatic with a bit of citrusy flavor, making it a perfect spice for many dishes.

Benefits of Dill

The strong taste and scent of dill make it a perfect spice, and adding it to your dishes could provide numerous health benefits to the body.

A cup of fresh drill approximately gives four calories, 8% of the daily value (DV) of Vitamin C, 5% of the DV of manganese, 4% of the DV of Vitamin A, 4% of the DV of folate, and 3% of the DV of iron.

Fresh dill also provides 1 to 2% of the DV for copper, calcium, potassium, magnesium, riboflavin, and zinc.

Regulate Diabetes

Dill leaves can help alleviate and regulate diabetes because of eugenol, which helps alleviate blood sugar levels. At the same time, it helps prevent sudden sugar spikes by reducing the breakdown of starch into glucose.

Antioxidants

Due to the presence of rich antioxidants in dill leaves and dill seeds like flavonoids, terpenoids, and tannins, these antioxidants help protect the cells from free radicals, thus helping reduce the occurrence of chronic inflammation certain diseases like cardiovascular diseases, Alzheimer’s, and arthritis.

What Does Dill Taste Like?

The leaves of a dill leaf can taste sweet, fresh, and almost herby and grassy, closer to taste to an anise plant with a licorice flavor.

Meanwhile, a dill seed tastes closer to a milder version of caraway.

Best Dishes To Cook With Dill

Dill has a unique taste which makes it hard to substitute in any dish. Here are some of the best dishes to grow with dill that you might want to look up and try if you’re having a craving or an abundance of dill plants in your garden:

  • Dill potato salad
  • Lemon dill salmon
  • Dill sauce
  • Homemade dill pickles

Remember, though, that the longer a dill weed is cooked, the more it will lose its flavor, so it’s best to add the deal at the very last part of the cooking. In the case of dill seeds as a spice, many recipes call for them to be cooked longer or toasted before being added because they create more aroma and flavor when heated.

How To Grow And Harvest Dill

Growing Dill

While dill weeds are often in season during spring and early summer, many people grow this herb in their greenhouses for cooking and medicinal purposes. So how do we grow dill, and how do we harvest it?

If you’re thinking of growing dill, remember that it should be sown directly into the garden after the threat of frost in spring. The soil temperature should be at 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit in a well-draining soil rich in organic matter with a pH level of slightly acidic to neutral. Seedlings should be visible after 10 to 14 days.

Dill weeds are very easy to grow, so you might want to plant every couple of weeks into the summer so you’ll have enough supply of fresh dill until fall.

Water them as you want as they grow, making sure they don’t dry out. Since dill weeds are annual herbs, an undisturbed growth will allow you to see more dill plants for the following spring when they are allowed to seed.

Harvesting Dill

Now, how to harvest dill? You can start harvesting when the plant has four to five leaves, harvesting the older leaves first. You can pinch them off or use scissors to cut them.

How to Store Fresh Dill?

For an herb, it is essential to keep them at its peak freshness. If you have your dill garden, great! Just get what you need when you need them so you won’t have any problems storing them. But if you got store-bought herbs or accidentally picked too much from your garden, then you might want to take on these ideas on how to store dill:

Storing In A Crisper Drawer

First, rinse the dill under cool water and dry thoroughly. Pat paper towels to make sure they’re completely dry. Then, lay them and wrap them in a damp paper towel lengthwise and roll them up like you would a burrito. Set them inside a resealable bag, press out any excess air, and store them in the crisper drawer in your fridge.

Storing In The Freezer

Like storing them in the crisper, wash the dill and let them completely dry by patting in a paper towel. Make sure to remove any brown leaves, but remember to keep the dill whole. Seal it in a freezer bag onto your freezer for 6 to 12 months, and take it out when needed.

Drying

You can also keep the dill weeds as a dried herb, like how you would dry other herbs like oregano and basil.

There’s a secret on how to dry dill, and that is to allow the dill to hang upside down for 1-2 weeks and wait for it to feel crispy. Then, crumble the leaves over a bowl using your hands. Afterward, place it in a glass jar with a tight lid.

What Else Can You Do With Dill?

Dill Pickles

Aside from cooking them as is, one of the most popular ways to recreate dill is making their pickles. They taste cool, crunch, and deliciously sour, making them the perfect snack or pair to your dishes.

They’ve very easy to make and will take you no longer than 30 minutes. Just make sure you use ripe and firm vegetables to add your fresh dill to create the perfect dill pickles.

Medicinal Herb

Dill weed’s medicinal properties aren’t unheard of since ancient times. In a study published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information, dill weeds have been used as an ingredient in gripe water to relieve colic pain in babies and flatulence in young children. Its seeds are also aromatic, carminative, mildly diuretic, galactagogue, stimulant, and stomachic. Chewing them has also been shown to improve bad breath.

The essential oils derived from dill plants relieve intestinal spasms and griping, helping settle colic, improving appetite, relieving gas, and aiding digestion.

In addition, it also helps lactating mothers stimulate milk flow.

Cosmetics fragrance

Many manufacturers have included dill, particularly dill oil, as a fragrance ingredient in cosmetics, soaps, and perfumes. Certain studies have shown that topical application of formulas with dill essential oil has helped reinforce skin elasticity and firmness, often infused in many anti-aging skincare formulas.