The dill plant is native to Southern Europe, the Mediterranean and Russia as early as 3, 000 BC; but is most popular in Scandinavian and Eastern European cuisines. Dill is used to pickle fresh vegetables, flavour fish dishes or sauces that are to be served with fish and to add more depth to soups, potato dishes and breads.
Dill is related to other herbs including fennel, caraway and cumin, which are other herbs that are favoured in Eastern European, Scandinavian and Russian cooking.
Dill was a popular herb for its medicinal properties and promoted digestion and soothed the stomachs of Assyrians and later Egyptians, Romans and Greeks, and eventually northern Europeans.
For many centuries, dill has been one of the most popular culinary herbs.
This herb is part of the carrot family, and is valued for its pungent seeds and flavourful foliage. Different types of dill are available, which can be grown in home gardens.
Common dill is a larger than the dwarf version of the plant, which is commonly grown by indoor and outdoor gardeners alike. When using dill as an herb, the leaves, flowers and seeds may be utilized.
Dill has a faint, almost similar scent of aniseed. The herb, especially when fresh, has a much sweeter fragrance than dried fruits. Dill leaves a wonderful aroma.
Dill is very similar to that of caraway, but has a tangy, grassy flavour to it along with a hint of lemon, pine and fennel.
Health Benefits of Dill
Dill is usually given as dillwater which is thought to aid in children’s flatulence or disordered digestion. A concoction of dill seeds and hot water sweetened with sugar or honey, often known as “gripe water”, was given to babies that suffered colic and abdominal pains. Dills main purpose is for calming the digestive system. The essential oil found in Dill assists in relieving intestinal spasms and griping. If you suffer from a cold dill is a fantastic cure as it is often added to cold and flu remedies.
Dill is a very good source of calcium, which is necessary to maintain healthy teeth and bones. As well as calcium, dill is rich in manganese, iron and magnesium.
- As an antiseptic and a treatment for wounds.
- A powerful antioxidant, protecting the body’s cells of damage by free radicals.
- Relieves gas, flatulence and aids digestion.
- Chewing dills seeds can combat bad breath.
- Can cure hiccups.
- Dill can be helpful to relieve fluid retention.
- Dill can treat cystitis and other bladder infections.
- To regulate and prevent further growth of bacteria.
Buying and storing
Dill is very easy to grow at home in your garden or window box. Therefore, if possible, it is best to use dill fresh from your garden for the best possible flavour.
Cut the dill as you need it and use in your homemade dishes.
You can also buy packets of freshly cut dill from your local supermarket. This will only stay fresh for about two days, as it is highly perishable. For the freshest results, keep the dill wrapped in a damp paper towel and place in the refrigerator.
Dill that has been dried can be bought in small jars, however the flavour is so much milder than fresh dill.
Ideas with cooking with dill
- Use to pickle vegetables; cucumbers-gherkins and a whole range of dips.
- Use dill to flavour bread dough.
- Freshly add dill to salad dressings.
- Sprinkle over a fresh salad.
- Use freshly chopped dill as a garnish to serve seafood.
- Add to soups, stews and casseroles, particularly those containing fish.
- Freshly chopped dill for a variety of salads.
- Use to garnish smoked salmon, egg sandwiches.
- Add to all potato dishes.
- Use to flavour cream cheese’s.
- Use to flavour lamb dishes, vegetable soups.
- Stuff a whole chicken with fresh dill leaves before roasting.