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Dill :: Herb of the Month

Posted Jan 08 2010 8:08pm

Dill [Anethum graveolens]

If these first days of this new year are any indication of the year ahead, then it truly does seem like it’s going to be a happy new year. The California weather has been warmer than usual for this time of year, dare I say it’s somewhat Spring-like. The other day it was nearly 80 degrees in Los Angeles.

This incredible weather got me thinking about planning a container garden, so I picked up one of the herb catalogues I recently received in the mail and started flipping through it. Talk about inspiration. I want to plant lots and lots of herbs. There can never be too many herbs in a garden, I say. [… my rationale, my excuse for buying all the herb seeds I can.]

The front of the catalogue advertises dill as the herb of the year. Every year since 1995 The International Herb Association features one herb as the herb of the year. This year it’s the green and feathery leaves of dill that won the honors. It is certain I’ll plant dill in one of my potted containers. Since it’s this year’s herb of the year, I thought it was fitting to feature dill as our herb of the month.

I flip to the page in the catalogue to read what I can learn about dill, also known as dill weed, and what do I see but a list of different dill varieties, like:

Bouquet dill
Delikat dill
Dukat dill
Fernleaf dill
Green Sleeves dill
Hercules dill
Mammoth dill
Monia Dill
Tetra Leaf Dill

Who knew [I sure didn’t] that dill had multiple varieties. I wonder if you can easily distinguish the difference from one variety to another? Every time I’ve seen fresh dill it has always looked the same to me, no variance in shape or color, it just looks like dill.

Fresh Dill

Some Facts About Dill

~ It’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.

~ It is scientifically known as Anethum graveolens and is part of the Umbelliferae family, whose other members include parsley, cumin and bay.

~ Dill is a noted herb in the cuisines of Scandinavia, Central Europe, North Africa and the Russian Federation.

Whether you use fresh or dried, you want to keep it as fresh as possible. I like to store fresh dill as I would flowers, I place the stems in a container of water. Dried dill I store in an airtight container and keep it in a cool, dry cabinet.

Dill To Giveaway

At the end of this month, one of your names will be drawn from the comment section of this post. Our sponsor Mountain Rose Herbs will send a gift of dill products to the winning participant.

I like using both fresh and dried dill in recipes. Chopped dill leaves go well with cabbage, carrots, tomato, and of course beets, and cucumbers. It combines great with cilantro, parsley, and cumin. Make a great salad dressings with it, a creamy sauce, or sprinkle generous amounts of it over a salad.

What are some of your favorite ways to use dill in a recipe? I have a several recipes with dill as an ingredient and I’ll share one of them in the next post.

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