What Is Dill and How Is It Used?
Dill (Anethum graveolens) is an annual herb in the celery family. Dill is grown widely in Eurasia where its leaves and seeds are used as a herb or spice for flavouring food.
Fresh and dried dill leaves are widely used as herbs in Europe and central Asia. Like caraway, the fernlike leaves of dill are aromatic and are used to flavor many foods such as fish dishes, borscht, and other soups, as well as pickles (where the dill flower is sometimes used). Dill is best when used fresh, as it loses its flavor rapidly if dried, however, freeze-dried dill leaves retain their flavor relatively well for a few months.
Dill oil is extracted from the leaves, stems, and seeds of the plant. The oil from the seeds is distilled and used in the manufacturing of soaps.
Dills can be used as a topping for boiled potatoes covered with fresh butter – especially in summer when there are so-called "new", or young, potatoes. The dill leaves may be mixed with butter, making a dill butter, to serve the same purpose. Dill leaves mixed with cream cheese form one of the traditional cheese spreads used for sandwiches.
Fresh dill leaves are used throughout the year as an ingredient in salads, e.g., one made of lettuce, fresh cucumbers, and tomatoes, as basil leaves are used in Italy and Greece.
How to Grow Dill
Dill is easy to start from seed and grows best when planted outdoors. Choose a location with full sun and well-drained soil.
Sow seeds directly into the soil, placing them ¼ inch deep and about 1 to inches apart in rows 6 inches apart. Dill grows 1 to 3 feet tall, so thin out the seedlings so they are 12 to 24 inches apart.
To keep a continual source of fresh dill on hand, consider succession planting. Start by sowing just a few seeds from the packet at first, then a few more each week during the growing season.
You don't need to plant dill in rows. If you want dill plants to self sow, plant them in clumps where the seeds can drop and grow the following year.
Watering is essential for growing dill. Keep the soil evenly moist while seeds are germinating. Once dill plants start growing, they need about 1 to 2 inches of rain or additional water to thrive.
Most herbs, including dill, need additional fertilizer during the growing season. Use a liquid fertilizer, labelled for herbs, mixed with water or a time-release fertilizer, labelled for herbs, into the ground at planting time.
Growing Dill in Pots
Even if you don't have an outdoor garden, you can still keep pots of dill on a sunny balcony or deck. Choose a container at least 12 inches deep; dill plants grow with a deep taproot. Remember to keep the spacing of 12 to 24 inches in mind, depending on the width of the container.
Dill doesn't grow well in an indoor herb garden, but you can start a few seeds indoors to harvest as soon as the plants begin to form leaves. Succession planting in an herb garden can be done indoors, too.
How to Use Dill
Fresh dill begins to droop as soon as you clip it and begins losing potency within a couple of days. Use it as soon as possible.
You can store fresh dill in the refrigerator with stems tucked into a container of water or with leaves wrapped in a damp paper towel. The bright flavor is great with potatoes, vegetables, fish, salads, soups, and stews.
You can freeze fresh dill by placing it in water in ice cube trays. Drop the cubes into cooked dishes that can handle the additional moisture.
Although they lose flavour, dill leaves are easily dried for later use. To dry the leaves, hang an entire plant upside down in a warm, dry location until you can strip off the foliage. Or snip the leaves while fresh, place on a plate, and allow them to air dry.
Easy Lemon, Garlic & Dill Pasta
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 4-6 servings
1 lemon, juiced
1-2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
12 ounces bowtie pasta (cooked in chicken stock for added flavor)
2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Cook pasta according to directions. Set aside.
Combine lemon juice, mustard, olive oil, salt, garlic and sugar in a bowl. Toss cooked pasta with mixture. Add fresh dill and parmesan cheese and lightly toss. Season to taste with salt & pepper.
Serve with pan roasted salmon.
Lemon Chicken in Dill Cream Sauce
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 people
•4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
•salt and pepper, to taste
•1 tablespoon oil
•2 tablespoons butter
•1 tablespoon honey
•1/2 teaspoon each dried oregano, dried basil, garlic powder
Creamy Dill Sauce
•1 tablespoon butter
•2 teaspoons minced garlic
•1/2 cup low salt chicken stock
•2/3 cup cream plus 1 tablespoon corn flour
•juice of 1/2 lemon about 2 tablespoons
• tablespoon chopped fresh dill
•cracked black pepper, to taste
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Season chicken with salt and pepper, to taste along with garlic powder, oregano, and basil. Combine butter and oil in a large casserole dish. Once butter is melted add honey and stir to combine.
2. Add chicken to pan, brown chicken 2-3 minutes on each side. Transfer chicken to a plate (it won't be cooked through at this point). Add garlic and saute for 1 minute until fragrant. Add chicken broth, cream, and lemon juice and stir over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
3. Return chicken to pan and transfer to preheated oven. Bake for 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Spoon pan sauce over the chicken and sprinkle dill over the chicken and sauce, add cracked black pepper to taste and serve.
Indian Fried Dill Potatoes
•4 tablespoons avocado oil
•1 teaspoon cumin seeds
•4 garlic cloves, minced
•2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cubed (approx. 6 cups cubed potatoes)
•1 teaspoon turmeric
•1 teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder
•½ teaspoon salt
•¼ teaspoon black pepper
•1 large handful of fresh dill leaves
1. Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium heat, then add cumin seeds.
2. Once the seeds begin to splutter, add garlic, stir-fry for 30 seconds.
3. Increase the heat to medium-high, add potatoes and spices and mix well.
4. Fry for 15-18 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the edges look crispy and the potatoes are fork tender.
5. Add the fresh dill and stir-fry for another minute.