I love growing dill every year for my Kosher Dill Pickles. I have found fresh grown dill to impart a stronger dill flavor than the dried dill you buy at the store. You can dry the extra dill for use though out the winter until the next season. Some of the dill seed can be used the next season to grow more dill.
The early American settlers used dill to ward off evil, burning dried sprigs to clear the air and drive away storms.
Dried dill was put in bags and worn against the heart to protect against witch charms and the evil eye.
Dill is found in many parts of Europe and Asia growing wild. Dill was grown by the Greeks and Romans.
They used it for dishes and as a decorative herb used in garlands and wreaths to make their banquet halls smell good.
The word dill is from the Norse word dilla, which means “to lull”. Dill was used to help induce sleep, help babies to relieve colic, stimulate the appetite and to aid with digestion.
Growing dill looks good in the garden, is easy to grow and is believed to help when planted by cabbage, lettuce, carrots and onions.
Dill is an annual that grows 1 to 4 tall with fine lacy leafs and umbel flowers. The dill plant is grown on long hollow stems. The whole plant, leaves, flowers, stems and seeds are used for flavorings in dishes and are used to flavor dill pickles.
Growing dill will reseed itself from year to year if you let the flower heads mature and go to seed. Dill seeds are best sown directly into the ground as transplants may not survive.
If planting dill into your vegetable garden, sow in wide rows.
Use a hoe to make shallow furrows along the row about an inch deep and 10 to12 inches apart.
Sprinkle dill seeds between fingers down the furrow. Sow thickly to insure good germination because some seeds can fail.
Sprinkle lightly with soil to cover seeds. Pat down and water lightly. Keep soil moist for good germination.
Sow dill seeds every couple of weeks through out summer for a constant supply of herb.
If growing dill in your herb garden, sprinkle dill seeds over selected area and cover lightly with soil. Water and keep moist.
Dill germinates in about 14 days. Keep weeds out and mulch to maintain moisture in the soil.
You can cut dill leaves about 4 weeks after planting when dill is 3-4 inches tall. Cut leaves from the bottom of the plant but wait 2 weeks between harvesting of leaves sot you leave enough leaves to keep your dill growing.
If growing dill for seeds do not cut leaves on those plants.
Use the feathery leaves in sauces, dips and salads. Flower heads are use for flavoring dill pickles. Fresh grown dill makes the best pickles but dill dose not always mature when your cucumbers are ready.
Dill can be hung to dry or cut into pieces and wrapped in a paper towel and plastic bag. Dill will last a couple of weeks in the refrigerator. For longer storage, place in plastic bags and freeze. When you need some for cooking, pull the bag out of the freezer and clip off what you need and put the rest back into the freezer.
For dill seeds harvest the flower heads when the flowers are mature, about two weeks after the flowers open. Cut stems long enough to tie together and hang to dry. After they dill has dried for a couple of days put bunch into a paper bag and tie the top of the bag around stems. Hang up on a rack again and finish drying.
Dill is done drying when leaves are crisp and crumble in you hand. Shake flower heads into the paper bag to dislodge dill seeds. The dill seeds can be stored in a bottle or bag in a dark cool place. Do not store dried herbs by the stove or a heat source.
The Dill leaves can be removed from the stems and used in cooking and dips.
I love to make dill mayo with the fresh dill leaves in the spring. Just clip some fresh growing dill leaves and wash in cool water. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of chopped dill to 1 cup of mayo depending on the flavor intensity you want.
Mix and refrigerate for an hour or two to let flavors blend
before using. I like to use dill mayo on sandwiches and in potato salad.
Make dill vinegar for use in salad dressings and as part of the liquid in soups. Add to potato salads for a zing of flavor.
2 cups apple cider vinegar (good quality)
1 cup of loosely packed dill leaves stems and flowers.
1. Carefully clean dill in cool water to remove dirt and bugs.
2. Spin dill dry in a salad spinner or pat lightly with paper towels.
3. Fill a large quart canning jar with dill and pour in the vinegar. Use a wooden spoon and push dill leaves down and bruise dill leaves. Make sure dill is submerge in the vinegar.
4. Place a lid on the jar and let mixture steep in a cool dark
place at room temperature for 3 to 4 weeks. After 3 weeks taste the
vinegar to determine if strong enough. If too strong dilute with more
vinegar, if not strong enough repeat process adding a batch of dill and
let steep for another week.
5. When the vinegar is the desired strength, strain through a cotton cloth to remove the dill.
6. Pour the vinegar into an attractive jar for storage and add a fresh sprig of dill. Label and store away from sunlight and use within a year.