Dill is a unique plant in that both its leaves and seeds are used as a seasoning. Dill's green leaves are wispy and fernlike and have a soft, sweet taste. Dried dill seeds are light brown in color and oval in shape, featuring one flat side and one convex ridged side. The seeds are similar in taste to caraway, featuring a flavor that is aromatic, sweet and citrusy, but also slightly bitter.
Dill's name comes from the old Norse word dilla which means "to lull." This name reflects dill's traditional uses as both a carminative stomach soother and an insomnia reliever.
Dill is scientifically known as Anethum graveolens and is part of the Umbelliferae family, whose other members include parsley, cumin and bay.
Dill is native to southern Russia, western Africa and the Mediterranean region. It has been used for its culinary and medicinal properties for millennia. Dill was mentioned both in the Bible and in ancient Egyptian writings. It was popular in the ancient Greek and Roman cultures, where it was considered a sign of wealth and was revered for its many healing properties. Dill was used by Hippocrates, the father of medicine, in a recipe for cleaning the mouth. Ancient soldiers would apply burnt dill seeds to their wounds to promote healing.
The curative properties of dill have been honored throughout history. The Conqueror Charlemagne even made it available on his banquet tables, so his guests who indulged too much could benefit from its carminative properties. Today, dill is a noted herb in the cuisines of Scandinavia, Central Europe, North Africa and the Russian Federation.
Fresh dill should always be stored in the refrigerator either wrapped in a damp paper towel or with its stems placed in a container of water. Since it is very fragile, even if stored properly, dill will only keep fresh for about two days. Dill can be frozen, either whole or chopped, in airtight containers. Alternatively, you can freeze the dill leaves in ice cube trays covered with water or stock that can be added when preparing soups or stews.
1) Protection against free radicals and carcinogens
2) Ability to prevent bacterial overgrowth - a bacterial regulator somewhat like garlic
3) A flavorful way to prevent and reduce bone loss
To Enjoy - a few quick serving ideas
- Combine dill weed with plain yogurt and chopped cucumber for a delicious cooling dip.
- Use dill when cooking fish, especially salmon and trout, as the flavors complement one another very well.
- Use dill weed as a garnish for sandwiches.
- Since dill seeds were traditionally used to soothe the stomach after meals, place some seeds in a small dish and place it on the dinner table for all to enjoy.
- Add dill to your favorite egg salad recipe.
- Mix together chopped potatoes, green beans, and plain yogurt, then season with both dill seeds and chopped dill weed.
Cucumber Dill Salad
1/8 cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
Sea salt Freshly ground pepper
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 English cucumber, cut into lengthwise slices with a vegetable peeler
1 tablespoon chopped dill
Add vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, salt, and pepper to a jar with a lid and shake well to mix. Add onion; let pickle for 30 minutes.
Stir together cucumber and dill in a bowl; drain excess water. Toss salad with dressing and onions just before serving.
makes two 1-quart jars
- 1 1⁄2 lb. pickling cucumbers, cut into spears
- 6 sprigs fresh dill
- 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 3 cups white vinegar
- 3 tbsp. sugar
- 1 tbsp. coriander seeds
- 1 tbsp. fennel seeds
- 1 tbsp. mustard seeds
Into two sterilized 1-qt. glass jars, tightly pack cucumber spears, dill, and sliced onion. In a 1-qt. saucepan, bring vinegar, sugar, spices, and 1⁄2 cup water to a boil; pour over vegetables and cover with lids. Let sit 24 hours.
Kohlrabi Potato Salad
Serves 4-6 Dill-and-new-potato salad is an iconic summer food in Sweden. It makes a great barbecue addition or picnic dish!
1 lb. baby waxy potatoes
6 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 small kohlrabi, trimmed and cut into 1" pieces, plus 1 cup roughly chopped leaves
1⁄3 cup roughly chopped dill
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Boil potatoes in salted water until tender, 18–20 minutes; drain and set aside. Melt butter in a 12" skillet over medium-high heat. Add kohlrabi pieces; cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender, 5–7 minutes. Add reserved potatoes, the chopped kohlrabi leaves, dill, salt, and pepper; cook until leaves are wilted, 1–2 minutes more. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Braised Lemon Chicken with Dill and Turmeric
- Salt and black pepper
- 6 Chicken thighs, bone in, skin on
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 onion, sliced
- 1 qt low sodium chicken broth (you won't need the whole quart)
- 8 sprigs fresh dill + 1/2 tbsp chopped dill, divided
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp salt, or more to taste
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, or more to taste
Heat olive oil on high in saute pan until it just begins to smoke. As oil heats, season the chicken thighs generously with salt and pepper.
Sear the chicken thighs, skin side down, for a few minutes until they are golden brown. Reduce heat to medium. Remove thighs from pan and set aside.
Add sliced onion to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, soft and starting to turn golden. Drain any excess fat from the pan.
Return thighs to pan, skin side up. Pour in chicken broth until it reaches halfway up the sides of the thighs.
Arrange the fresh dill sprigs over and around the thighs (reserve the chopped dill). Sprinkle on 1/2 tsp turmeric, a pinch of cayenne, and 1/4 tsp salt (if you’re salt sensitive, you may omit the salt here and simply add to taste at the end of cooking). Bring broth to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium.
Cover the pan, vented, and reduce heat to medium low. Let the thighs simmer for 40-45 minutes, basting with the cooking liquid every 10 minutes or so, until meat is exceptionally tender.
Remove thighs from pan. Remove the dill sprigs from the broth. Add 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice to the pan sauce, or more to taste, as well as additional salt and pepper to taste if desired. The sauce should be semi-thick at this point; feel free to thicken it further with a slurry of 1 tbsp water and 2 tsp cornstarch, adding slowly to the pan and stirring at a simmer until desired thickness is reached.
Serve thighs and sauce topped with remaining freshly chopped dill. Pairs well with any neutral-flavored starch like rice, quinoa or mashed potatoes.