This highly aromatic annual is one of my favorite herbs. My mom grew dill and used it in her soups, especially her creamed green bean soup. That soup had a sour cream base which paired so well with dill. Used mostly as a savory herb, other culinary uses include salmon dishes, fish, pork, cheese plates, dill butter, potatoes, cucumbers, and eggs. Dill is used heavily in Russian, Eastern European and Scandinavian cooking. Fresh, frozen, dried leaves and dried seeds are used in culinary uses. As a medicinal herb, it was considered carminative or calming and aiding in digestion.
Dill is annual in most zones. It grows to a height of 2 to 3 feet with feathery leaves growing from a main center stem. Starting in June, dill will get small yellow flowers. It likes rich soil, slightly acid and well-drained. Sow the seeds in a full sun area in early Spring. Dill will bolt quickly, go to flower, in dry, poor soil. It will self sow if you allow flowers and seeds to form. I have my dill plants in my lettuce beds. They are supposed to be companion plantings. Don’t plant dill close to cilantro, fennel or angelica because they can cross pollinate and can lose their true flavors.
To harvest dill, cut the feathery leaves at the main stem. You can freeze the whole leaf can snip off what is needed for the recipe. It can also be dried on a non-metallic screen. For seeds, collect the flower heads before the pods shatter. The flower head can be stored in paper bags until the pods burst. Store the dried seeds in an airtight container. To preserve the flavor of dried leaves, snip with scissors rather than mincing with a knife. As with most herbs, the flavor of the leaves are better before the plant flowers. Harvest the leaves in the morning for better flavor.
Check back for dill recipes. Photo credit – Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Catalog
Rodale’s Successful Organic Gardening , Herbs
Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs
Encyclopedia of Herbs, Deni Brown
The Illustrated Book of Herbs, Gilda Daisley