Dill weed, an annual strong aromatic herb, native to the southern Europe and Mediterranean regions. Today, fresh dill is used extensively in Ashkenazi cuisine as the Ashkenazim adopted the flavours of Eastern Europe.
The fresh dill is a fast growing aromatic herb which has the appearance of a miniature fennel in that both have hollow stems, feathery leaves and clusters of pale yellow flowers. And when it comes to its flavour, the flavour of dill is clean and delicate with a subtle hint of anise or liquorice. Both dill seeds and the weed or leafy part can be eaten.
Other common names: Dill weed, garden dill, green dill and dill seed.
European Dill (Anethum graveolens)
Indian or Japanese Dill (Anethum sowa)
Family: Apiaceae (formerly Umbelliferae)
Sow the seeds in a sunny, well drained soil in spring and autumn. Dill grows best in a light, medium rich soil with plenty of moisture.
Buying Fresh Dill
Look for bunches which look bright green and fresh. They should have no sign of wilting or yellowing.
The fresh fronds of dill are used in a wide range of vegetable dishes, fresh salads, borsht soup, scrambled egg, omelettes, vegetable salts, white sauces, salad dressings, cucumber pickles (dill pickles) along with dill seeds and herb vinegars. Finely chopped dill leaves are particularly good with cream cheese, yoghurt, sour cream, cottage cheese, boiled eggs, lemon, white rice, bulgar and fromage frais. In the vegetable department, fresh dill compliments vegetables like: artichoke, peas, broad beans, tomatoes, potatoes, particularly with new potatoes, celeriac, zucchini (courgettes), carrot, leeks, beetroot. Fresh dill also combines well with other herbs like parsley, spearmint, garlic, cress, basil, bay leaf, coriander and fennel whereas the seeds combine well pickles like cucumber pickle, carrots, rye breads, pumpkin and cabbage.
Dill seed, on the other hand, flavours and helps the digestion of, steamed cabbage, coleslaw, sauerkraut, cucumbers, various chutneys, pastries, breads, sauces and cooked root vegetables and are the ultimate ingredient of dill pickles -pickled cucumbers.