Fresh dill is a delicious herb to use for many dishes. Dill has a distinctive flavor, tasting something between celery and fennel. Both leaves and seed are used to flavor dishes.
Dill seed is really the dried fruit of the dill plant, and has a stronger flavor than fresh dill leaves. As with most fresh herbs, fresh dill is best added at the end of cooking.
Fresh dill is used in many Mediterranean dishes, both fresh leaves and seeds.
Dill has feathery green leaves, and is beautiful in a garden. Use it as filler in floral arrangements.
Growing and Preserving Fresh Dill
Dill is easy to grow in the summer months. It has a long taproot, so it is best to sow fresh dill where it will be planted. After 10 to 14 days, seedlings appear.
Dill blooms about eight weeks after harvest. For a continued harvest throughout the growing season, sow more dill every few weeks.
Fresh dill needs full sun to grow, and warm temperatures. There are compact varieties of dill available, which grow well in containers, as well as large varieties to maximize your dill production.
Dill readily self-seeds. If you don’t want dill growing in the same place next year, make sure to harvest it before it goes to seed. If you want dill each year, let it seed all it wants!
The feathery leaves of dill plants can be quite ornamental in your garden. Butterflies and other pollinators love it, especially the Eastern Black Swallowtail butterfly.
Dill also attracts beneficial insects to your garden. Those predatory insects and wasps help keep troublesome insects at bay.
Growing fresh dill is easy, and once established, will come back each year if allowed to self-seed. Dill is very low maintenance. Grow it in the ground if you can, and deadhead the flowers if you don’t want it back each year.
If you want to grow fresh dill inside, get 10-12″ deep pot for a compact variety. Add supplemental light if you don’t have 6 hours of sun in a window. Dill prefers temperatures between 65F and 75F.
Since compact dill plants are still 18″ high with a long taproot, you might want to preserve dill for winter use rather than grow it indoors.
Your fresh dill can be dried in a dehydrator for dill flavor all winter. You can also dry it in bundles, hung upside down, for a week or two.
Fresh dill leaves and flower heads can be frozen as is, to be used later in cooking. Rinse fresh dill, let it dry well, and freeze whole in containers for later.
Homemade dill vinegar will allow you to enjoy the flavor of dill all winter. Use your vinegar for salad dressings, in soups and stews, and over roasted vegetables.
Cooking with Fresh Dill
Fresh dill can be used for so much more than pickles! Dill is important in Mediterranean cooking, and is great with potatoes, fish, soups, and many vegetables.
Like many herbs, you can brew dill as a tea. Try using the leaves and seeds. Some say dill seed tea can help with digestive issues.
Dill is an easy herb to grow, once you get it established. It’s easy to preserve, great for pollinators, and a beautiful addition to a vegetable or cottage garden.
Growing your own herbs is an easy way to elevate your cooking, connect with nature, and get started in gardening. Fresh herbs are expensive! Growing herbs takes little space and effort.
Growing a small herb garden in pots or in the ground gives a lot of benefit without a lot of time or money spent. Try growing fresh dill this year… it is an easy herb to grow!