A cooking and baking journal

Get Your Fill of Dill

After having grown this herb on my family's farm for as long as I can remember, it is funny to say that I don't know much about it. So after having a dozen or so dill related questions pop into my mind this farming season, I decided to finally read up on how to use dill in cooking.

We planted a dill variety called Bouquet and it went through three stages so far:

Dill weed stage. (This is before the dill plant has produced a "head".)

Flowering dill stage. (This is when the plant forms a head similar to the Queen Anne's Lace flower.)

Dill seed stage. (When the plant's leaves begin to turn yellow and the head contains brown seeds.)

What is really interesting about dill is that you can use it in cooking during its entire growing process, from the time it bears its first leaves to when it has mature, brown seeds. Pretty neat, huh? But beware that each stage has a different amount of dill flavor. Look at the dill weed as an herb and the dill seed as a spice, for those seeds back a punch!

The dill weed is commonly used in lighter dishes like fish, egg salad, and the like, while the dill flower and seed are used in pickling and flavoring meats. For you picklers out there, yes, you can place the flowering dill heads into your canning jars. The flowering dill lightly permeates the vinegar so it isn't as overpowering as the dill seed heads!

Dill is very easy to grow and as I just found out: easy to reseed! When the dill heads are mature and have brown seeds, all you need to do is shake them into a paper envelope or bag and store them until the next planting. And if you plant them every two weeks during the growing season you can have this herb on hand all summer long. (Which is a good thing because dill goes wonderfully with many vegetables.) If you want to learn more about this herb, check out this website.

So as you can see, dill has many uses in the culinary world. But I shouldn't forget to mention that they look wonderful in the garden and in flower arrangements!

Photo credits: 1: hawthornfarm.ca / 2: howstuffworks.com /3. coffeepot.wordpress.com

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