Dill has a pleasant aroma and is a very useful culinary herb that is often added to fish and egg dishes, sauces and salads. It is also a key ingredient in the making of pickled onions and gherkins.
Apart from its culinary uses, Dill also has medicinal properties and has been used to aid digestion, stomach cramps in babies, to stimulate milk for nursing mothers, to calm hiccups and more.
Dill grows between 40–60 cm tall and has slender stems with soft delicate leaves which can be 10–20 cm long. The flowers on dill are white to yellow, in small umbels 2–9 cm in diameter. The seeds are 4–5 mm long and 1 mm thick, and straight to slightly curved with longitudinally ridged surface.
Selecting and Buying
The seeds are harvested by cutting the flower heads off the stalks when the seeds beginning to ripen. The seed heads are then placed upside down in a paper bag and left in a warm place for a week to dry. After a week the seeds have separate from the stems for easy storage in an airtight container.
Dill can also be used to create an oil which is also used in cooking. Dill oil can be extracted from the leaves, stems and seeds of the plant.
Preparation and Use
If buying fresh Dill make sure that it is not too droopy as it loses its flavour quickly once picked.
Conserving and Storing
Dill seeds can keep indefinitely when kept away from sunlight in an airtight container