Dill (Anethum graveolens)
When you think of dill the first thing that comes to ones mind are delicious dill pickles. However, dill has great history and benefits that go well beyond pickles. Fresh dill is very easy to grow and is a tasty additional to everything from eggs to salmon.
Dill is a member of the parsley family and is native to eastern Asia and the Mediterranean. Most of the dill plant is edible; flowers, seeds and leaves. All of which bring a different quality and brightness to food.
Tips on how to store and grow dill:
Growing - Dill is a perennial and is self seeding, so if planted and it is allowed to seed, the plant will flourish yearly. It is a hardy herb and can survive in shallow sandy soil.
Storing leaves – keep in the refrigerator wrapped in a damp paper towel for up to a week, or chop and freeze with water in an ice cube tray. Making dill butter is simple by blending chopped dill with a ½ cup butter and a dash of lemon. Roll in wax or parchment and freeze for up to 6 months
Drying seeds and leaves – should be separated. Tie bunches lightly and cover with a paper bag (punch holes in bag for circulation). After about 10 days or when leaves and seeds are brown, remove stems and store in a light proof container.
Types of Dill:
Dill Weed: it is the dark green leaves of the plant. The primary use of dill weed is as an herb for cooking. Possibilities of use are endless and especially wonderful during summer.
Dill Seed: fruit of the plant, it is the leaf and stem of the plant. Most are familiar with dill seed in pickling mixtures.
Dill Oil: is extracted from the seeds and stems of the plant. It used as an antispasmodic, disinfectant and for digestive health. It is nicely blended with lemon, lime, orange, bergamot or caraway essential oils. However it should be avoided during pregnancy.
Health Benefits of Dill:
Dill is a member of the parsley family which means it is high in vitamin C and calcium, it also supports bone health. It is a natural anti-bacterial and has been used in ancient cultures to fight off infections. Because of its dark green color, it contains phytonutrients important in fighting free radical damage readily available during the summer months. Dill has been used to help with insomnia and as headache relief. It is a powerful digestive support herb, as well.