- Dill Growing and Harvest Information
- Dill and How to Use It from Stem to Seed
- What is the difference between kosher dill pickles and Polish dill pickles?
- Dill Seed vs Dill Weed
- The Lowdown: Dill Seed vs Dill Weed
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Dill Growing and Harvest Information
|Soil and Water|
|Planting depth||1/4 – 1/2″|
|Root depth||Very long hollow taproot|
|Space between plants|
|Space between rows||24″|
|Companions||Caraway, eggplant, fruit trees, potato, tomato|
|Cut the tender feathery leaves close to the stem Herbs should be cut in the morning after the dew has dried. Do not wash or the aromatic oils will be lost. The flavor of dill foliage is best before the flower seed develops and when used the same day it is cut. If you want to harvest dill seed, let the plant flower and go to seed. Harvest when the lower seeds turn brown and before they scatter. The lower seeds on a head will brown first; the upper ones can dry indoors. Finish drying by tying stems together and hanging them upside down in a cool, dark, dry place, or place them in a paper bag with holes cut in the sides. Sift to remove the seed from the chaff.|
Dill is a biennial warm-season herb, very sensitive to light-freezes and frost. Dill is not technically a perennial plant, because a single plant only lives 2 years. It is quite proficient at self seeding (if allowed). If let grow naturally, A single dill plant should come back year after year. As a seed, its used primarily for pickling (dill pickles). Seeds can also be ground or used whole to flavor meats, fish, eggs, cheese and vegetable dishes. Fresh leaves are often used in salads, soups, fish, eggs, and potatoes or as a garnish if you run out of(or get bored with) parsley. You can also make a marvelous leek and potato soup seasoned with dill.
Where to Grow Dill
Dill, like most herbs, can be grown pretty much anywhere, and can withstand both heat and cool weather. Dill will tolerate partial shade; in light shade the plants won’t get as bushy as in full sun, so they can be closer together. It can also be grown in the greenhouse if you provide a container large enough for its roots a, at least 6-8 inches in diameter, and pot it in rich soil.
Soil for Dill
Poor, sandy soil is an advantage when you’re growing dill — the herb will have stronger flavor — but the soil must drain well.
Grow it from seed sown in the spring or fall. Plant the seeds two or three weeks before your average date of last frost in rows two to three feet apart; they germinate quickly. If dill is not planted early enough, seed may not develop until the beginning of the second year. Once established, dill will seed itself and return year after year.
When the seedlings are growing well, thin them to 12 inches apart. You can also thin dill to form a clump or mass rather than a row. Make sure you know where you want the plants, because dill has a relatively long taproot and is not easy to transplant, so don’t attempt to transplant once it grows beyond the seedling stage. Dill is short-lived, so make successive sowings to provide a continuous harvest.
Dill is quite easy to grow, and takes minimal amount of attention. It doesn’t need too much water and seems to do better if it’s kept on the dry side. Fertilizing is unnecessary for dill. The only concern is support for the stems if the plant is not located in a protected spot. If exposed to any sort of wind the tall and fine stems should be staked to keep the stalks upright.
How Dill grows
Dill, a member of the parsley family, is a biennial grown as an annual with a taproot similar to a carrot. It grows 2-4 feet tall. Dill has finely cut leaves and numerous deep yellow flowers comprise a flat head with compound umbels. It has a delicate soft feathery look and makes an attractive background for flowers or vegetables. Plants are self seeding. The seeds scatter as soon as they are ripe and should be picked and dried immediately for winter use.
|The leaves wilt quickly upon harvesting, but this will not affect flavor. Spray whole stems lightly with a fine spray of water and wrap loosely in paper towels and place in a plastic bag. Store in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator. It should last up to a week and perhaps even longer. You can also trim the stems, place in a glass with an inch of cold water, loosely wrap the top with a damp paper towel, and invert a plastic bag over the top before storing in the refrigerator. Fresh dill sprigs can be frozen for up to 2 months, but be prepared for it to darken a bit in color. No need to thaw it before using. Frozen dill will still have more flavor than dried dill.|
|Fresh||Excellent; cuttings last 2-7 days in the fridge.|
When to harvest dill
Time from planting to harvest is 70 days for foliage, 90 days for seeds. To harvest, snip off the leaves or young flower heads for use in soups or salads. For pickling, cut whole stalks when the plant is more mature. Gather the mature seeds for planting (although the dill will do its own planting without your help if you leave it alone) or for drying. Dill seeds can be sprouted if they are allowed to dry naturally; store the dried seeds in an airtight jar. Crumble the dried leaves, and store them the same way. For the best flavor, snip the weed with scissors rather than mincing it with a knife.
Dill, like most herbs, is a good choice for the organic gardener. It’s a member of the parsley family, so you may encounter a parsley caterpillar; hand-pick it off the plant.
Dill has no notable problems with diseases.
Dill and How to Use It from Stem to Seed
Every week we get Down & Dirty, in which we break down our favorite unique seasonal fruits, vegetables, and more. This post was brought to you by our friends at Evolution Fresh, who like fresh, flavorful ingredients as much as we do.
Today: Dill’s no one-trick pony — make the most of this herb by using the entire plant.
Shop the Story
Dill is a happy, bright-tasting herb. As Deborah Madison says, “I don’t know a single person who says, ‘I can’t stand dill!’ though such people probably do exist.”
If they do exist, you might want to question whether or not they’re into the dark arts. In the Middle Ages, dill was used as a powerful ingredient in witchcraft. But it was also used as a charm against witchcraft, which makes about as much sense as vampires who like to cook with garlic.
More: You won’t need any sorcery skills to perfect a Wicked Witch Martini.
Dill has a short lifespan, so if you’re growing your own, pick just what you need for your dish. If you have an overabundance, it’s possible to dry it, but whether you’ll want to is another story. When dried (in this state it’s referred to as dill weed), it loses a lot of flavor — perhaps there’s a reason “dill weed” is used as an insult — so you might consider freezing it instead.
If dill’s feathery fronds (1) look familiar, you might have already guessed that it belongs to the carrot family, as do chervil, cilantro, and parsley root. Dill is most often associated with dill pickles, borscht, and gravlax, but it has plenty more tricks up its sleeve, and you can use the entire plant.
More: Continue root-to-stem dining with another family member — fennel. Here’s how to use it from bulb to fronds and more.
The fronds are the part of the plant that you use most often, and unlike some other herbs, you can use a whole lot of dill leaves without overpowering a dish. Dill plays well with other members of its family, like fennel, celery, and carrots. Make the most of dill with summer produce like cucumbers, corn, summer squash, and tomatoes. Use fresh dill in spreads and sauces, like a smoked mackerel pâté, a compound butter, or a sour cream slather. Dill is a classic with fish, egg dishes, and potatoes, and it works with comforting foods like soups and rice, too.
Not only do dill flowers make a pretty addition to a flower arrangement, but they can also be dried to collect their seeds, and you can eat them, too! Add the flowers to a jar of pickles, use them to garnish a plate, add them to a salad, or enjoy them anywhere else you’d use the leaves.
Small, tender stems can be chopped up right along with the leaves, but thicker stems can be put to good use too. Include the stems along with the flowers in a pickle jar, add them to a bouquet garni, or stuff a fish with dill stems before grilling or roasting it. Treat them like bay leaves, and let them add flavor to soups and stews, or add them to the cooking water when you boil potatoes.
Dill seeds can be used whole or crushed, and are often used in bread, soups, vegetable dishes, and pickles. They can also be used in salad dressings, or to make dill vinegar.
Tell us: What are your favorite ways to make the most of dill?
Photos by James Ransom
This post was brought to you by Evolution Fresh. Check out their new pairing guide to find out which foods go best with their juices.
What is the difference between kosher dill pickles and Polish dill pickles?
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Dill Seed vs Dill Weed
The Lowdown: Dill Seed vs Dill Weed
One great flavor to use if you are looking to add a hint of freshness into your dish is dill. Dill often comes in two types – dill weed (which uses the leaves) and dill seed. Because of this, dill is available in both herb form and spice form. No spice collection will ever be complete without either types of dill, because this popular ingredient is very much present in a host of cuisines that are well-loved the world over.
Dill is a relative of caraway, anise, coriander, parsley, and carrots – all part of the apiaceae family. Dill seeds taste very similar to caraway, though slightly milder.
Ever wondered what the different is between these two types of dill? Here is a quick run through of what you need to know to become a certified dill expert!
The Taste Difference
Despite coming from the same plant, dill weed and dill seeds have some slight discrepancies in terms of flavor. The overall taste is pretty much similar, but the slight differences will determine which variant to use in a particular dish. For one, dill leaves have a flavor that resembles the lemony notes of anise and parsley. While this is also somewhat detectable in dill seeds, this version also carries some notes that are similar to caraway.
A lot of chefs consider dill seed to have a more pungent flavor, too. They are said to give off a slightly bitter taste, which brings to mind the same flavor note as camphor. They also give off a stronger flavor when heated, which makes them perfect for dishes that require a more intense taste. Meanwhile, dill leaves tend to have a more delicate flavor compared to the seed variety.
Subbing One for the Other
These few flavor differences will mean that substituting one for the other is not automatic nor ideal. However, such a decision might be considered if you really have limited options and alternatives. It is important to note that you need to measure out different amounts of either when subbing. For example, three whole heads of dill weed will be equal to just one tablespoon of dill seeds.
It is also good to know that seeds are more able to withstand an extended cooking time compared to leaves. If subbing dill weed for dill seeds, you’d best add them when you are just about nearing the end of your cooking time to really lock in the flavor!
Cooking: Dill Seed vs. Dill Weed
Both dill variants are used in a number of ways in kitchens across the globe. In Northern America, dill seed is often used as the main flavoring ingredient in making dill pickle. In countries like Indian, Scandinavia and some Eastern European nations, dill seeds are the ideal option for acidic dishes such as pickled carrots, beets, and fish. It is also a nice touch to a lentil dal dish and other types of recipes that make use of legumes.
Meanwhile fresh dill weed works as a good complement to fish dishes but can really steal the show when added to your favorite potato salad recipe. It also pairs well with legumes like dill seed, but its use can also be extended to dips and coleslaws. Together, both dill seeds and dill leaves give vinegars and salad dressings that extra oomph of freshness when used together.
The difference between the dill seed and the weed is one is a feathery, green leaf (called fronds) and the other is commonly referred to as a seed, but in actuality it is the fruit of the plant; both are commonly used in culinary preparation.
Dried dill weed has a sweet flavor similar to anise and parsley with a lighter herb-like aroma than the more pungent tones of the seed. The seeds emit a pleasant aroma with a hint of sharpness and slant more toward anise and caraway flavors. The dried seed is even more pungent after its been heated. Whole dill seeds retain their flavor for up to three years if they are stored in an air-tight container and away from light. After the seeds are ground they will quickly lose their flavor so use only when you need them for cooking.
The famous dill seed is obviously used in the eponymous dill pickle. It can also used in baking breads and for making great potato salad. Try adding ground dill seed to cabbage, carrot, and squash dishes as a seasoning. Dried seeds can even add a punch to other spices such as cumin, ginger, mustard, turmeric and even chiles.
Dried dill weed doesn’t lose much potency during the drying process like the fresh dill weed does. But the herb is very sensitive to light and will not only lose its color but flavor too. Add this pleasant herb to dishes at the end of the cooking process to preserve its delicate flavors.
Dill weed is excellent to add to any number of cream base dips or sauces. Squeeze a little lemon juice and you will have a delish-dish for sure. This particular herb is also fantastic to use for enhancing the flavor of any type of fish recipes as well as for chicken. You can amp up the flavor of eggs and veggies with just a hint of dill weed and it works wonders in legumes such as white beans. Dill weed is such a smooth operator with other light herbaceous plants such as basil, cilantro and parsley, especially in salad dressings and spreads.
However, dill also yields another source of culinary use and that is its pollen. This highly aromatic fairy-like dust is bursting with freshness and pure flavor. Use it when elevating the flavor of smoked salmon and turning egg or potato salads into a gastronomic adventure. Dill pollen can be used much in the same manner as ground or powdered dill.
Try this delicious yogurt dip recipe using dill:
Greek-Style Cucumber and Yogurt Dip with Dill-click link