Carrot Family: Apiaceae (Umbelliferae)
Also known as Dill Weed
Dill is an aromatic annual herb of the parsley family, with fine threadlike blue-green leaves, white to yellow flowers and slender hollow stems. It grows up to 40–60 cm (16–24 in) and the softly delicate leaves are 10–20 cm (4–8 in) long.
The leaves and seeds (tiny fruits) of dill are used as a herb and spice for seasoning food and for medicinal purposes. Dill is the only species of the genus Anethum.
Dill has a distinctive flavour. More like a combination of fennel, anise and celery, with warm, slightly bitter undertones.
Other members of Apiaceae (umbelliferae) family include celery, Celeriac, Anise, Caraway, Cilantro, Cumin, and Fennel.
Culinary Use of Dill Leaves
The fresh and dried leaves are widely used to flavour foods, especially in Europe (Scandinavia and Eastern Europe). The fresh leaves have the best flavour and are commonly used alongside chives and parsley.
They are used to flavour classic dishes like gravlax (cured salmon) or Russian borscht soup.
Trout and salmon, are traditionally baked with the stems and leaves of dill.
Chopped dill leaves are used as a garnish for boiled new potatoes, soups and salads. They are also used in dressings, sauces (white sauces for chicken and seafood), or in combination with yoghurt and sour cream or infused to make herb vinegar.
Chopped dill is used to flavour omelettes and scrambled eggs and vegetables dishes
Finely chopped dill leaves are mixed with butter, or used as a filling together with cottage cheese or cream cheese
In the USA dill leaves are especially used to flavour pickles (pickled cucumbers).
The dried dill leaves are also used in spice blends.
Culinary Use of Dill Seeds
The so called dill seeds are actually dried tiny fruits of the dill plant. They can be used whole or in ground form. You can grind dill seeds at home in a coffee grinder because ground spices are best used freshly ground.
Dill seeds are used to bake rye bread, added to squash, carrots and cabbage.
They are also used in spice blends (Moroccan spice blend ras el hanout) and pickling spices.
Availability of Dill Leaves and Seeds
Fresh and dried dill is available in supermarkets. The fresh dill is sold in bunches.
Storage of Dill Leaves
Store in refrigerator crisper for up to one week. Dried dill leaves should be stored in an airtight container in the pantry.