Dill (Anethum graveolens)
The feathery dill leaves resemble fennel but the taste is quite distinct. Dill has a mild and warm flavor.
The aroma is faint, almost similar in scent to aniseed. The herb, particularly when fresh, has a much sweeter fragrance than its dried fruits. Dill leaves a wonderful aroma in the mouth and nose.
The dill leaf is used in northern, central and eastern Europe and pairs beautifully with fish and summer vegetables.
Dill is an annual herb that prefers cool temperatures. It is ideal to be grown in a region where there is 1000-1700ml of annual rain. Since it's a summer crop, it's best suited to full sunlight. Temperatures should be between 10⁰C and 25⁰C or growth could become quite stunted and possibly, fatal.
It can easily be grown from seed though it shouldn't be transplanted once sown. Because of its light nature , dill is quite susceptible to wind and should be planted close to other trees in a sunny area.
It is best to plant dill seeds 15cm apart. Dill is prone to bolting in hot temperatures, so it's important that the plant gets watered on a regular basis.
Don’t trim more than half of dill leaves at once. After flowering, the dill plant will dielant new seeds before the next season.
Dill was used for medicinal and flavoring purposes by the ancient Greeks and Romans and has been mentioned in St Matthew’s gospel when it was used as a tithe. It was also used in dynastic Egypt as a flavoring and in medieval times, dill was commonly used as a culinary herb as well as a pickling spice.
In the 10th century, it was recommended that every household grow dill as it was useful for hindering witches and counteracting their enchantment. Because of this, a little bag of dill seeds were worn over the heart as protection from harm.
Dill is usually given as dillwater, which is thought to aid wind in babies or disordered digestion. The main purpose of dill is to calm the digestive system.
The essential oil found in dill assists in relieving intestinal spasms and griping. If you suffer from a cold, dill is a fantastic cure as it is often added to cold and flu remedies.
The word dill originates from a Saxon word meaning to lull, as dill has a calming effect and was treasured as a lullaby remedy. Drinking dill tea can increase milk supply in nursing mothers. This dill can then be passed onto the baby soothing its tummy and decreasing wind.
Does dill come from fennel?
The fronds of a fennel plant do look similar to the dill leaves, though their taste is quite different. The anise flavor from fennel is a lot stronger than dill. It is not recommended to substitute fennel leaves for dill.
Does dill go bad?
The dill leaves can wilt and die like most other herbs. As the essential oils leave the plant, the leaves will go limp. Dill seeds typically take a long time to expire as they have been dried. They should be consumed within 1 year or the flavor could deteriorate.
Should dill be allowed to flower?
As dill is an annual plant, after it flowers, it will die. Plucking the flowers off may slow the process down, though not stop it completely. Collect the seeds from the flower buds and keep them for next season.