Growing And Cooking With Dill Ferb

Tips on growing dill, drying both dill herb and dill weed, and also cooking ideas for dill.

Dill or Anethum Graveolens is a wonderfully scented herb, that is used in two different stages. Both the dill weed and dill seed, will make wonderful additions to any recipe. The weed is gathered from the feather-like leaves of the plant, while the seeds come from the flower "heads" after they have matured.

Dill is very easy to grow from seed, by just planting after the danger of frost has left your area. Also if a few of the flower heads are left in the garden, it will generally reseed itself. Dill grows best in full sun, and only will need watered once a week if there is no rain. It will grow up to three feet tall, so if you live in a windy location, the plants will need to be staked.

To gather the dill weed, you can begin trimming the leaves as soon as the plant has been established, gathering the seed is to be done as soon as the flower heads turn brown. While you can dry dill weed, it is actually better to just stick it in the freezer. Chop up what you need, and then return the rest to the freezer. To store the seed, I generally collect my flower heads, then open a brown paper bag and shake the seeds off of the flower heads into the bag. Then store in a ziplock bag or other tight sealing container.

While dill is most commonly know for mixing with cucumbers to make pickles, I have included a variety of recipes here using dill.

QUICK DILL PICKLES- be sure to wait at least one month before opening to make sure that the pickles have cured.

30 to 40 medium cucumbers, cut these in half lengthwise

3/4 cup sugar

½ cup salt

3 tablespoons mixed pickling spice

green or dried dill flower heads, use one head per jar

1 quart vinegar

1 quart water

Combine the sugar, salt, vinegar and water, in a pot. Tie up the spices in a cheese cloth bag; add this to the vinegar mixture and simmer for 15 minutes. Put cucumbers in hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch space, now put a head of dill in each jar. Heat your brine to boiling, and pour over cucumbers and dill in each jar, filling to 1/4 inch. Seal. Process in boiling water bath for 15 minutes. This will make 7 pints of dill pickles.

DILL SAUCE- excellent on fish, poultry or vegetables.

1 tablespoon butter or margarine

1 tablespoon flour

1 cup milk

1/4 teaspoon salt

dash of pepper

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried dill weed

Melt the butter or margarine in a saucepan over low heat; add the flour, stirring until smooth. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually add the milk, continue cooking over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened. Stir in salt, pepper, lemon juice and dill. This will make 1 cup of Dill Sauce.

SOUR CREAM DILL BREAD- wonderful bread for ham and cheese sandwiches.

1 package yeast

1/4 cup warm water

½ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon margarine, soft

1 cup sour cream

1 small onion, minced

2 teaspoons dill weed

2 tablespoons sugar

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 egg, slightly beaten

2 3/4 to 3 cups flour

melted margarine


Soften the yeast in the warm water in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the ½ teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon margarine, sour cream, minced onion, dill weed, sugar, baking soda and beaten egg. Then add half the flour and beat well. Add enough of the remaining flour to make a stiff dough. Turn out on a lightly floured board and knead 5 to 10 times. Put back in the bowl, cover and let rise, in a warm place for about 50 minutes, or until doubled. Turn out on the board and shape into 2 small loaves. Place each in a greased 9x5x3 inch loaf pan, and let rise for 30 to 40 minutes, again in a warm place. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes or until golden brown. Brush the tops of the slightly cooled loafs with melted margarine and sprinkle lightly with salt.

CUCUMBER AND ONION SALAD- you can also add fresh sliced tomatoes with this.

6 large cucumbers

2 medium onions

2 tablespoons each chopped dill, chives, oregano, parsley and thyme

½ cup salad oil

½ cup wine vinegar

1/4 cup white vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon celery seed

Slice your cucumbers and onions about 1/4 inch thick. (If you are adding tomato, do the same) Place in a large bowl, and sprinkle herbs on top. In a small bowl combine the remaining ingredients, whip with a wire whisk to combine. Then pour over the vegetables. Refrigerate this for several hours to blend the flavors. This will serve 6.

Several other quick ideas for dill include sprinkling on fish or poultry before baking. Also add with carrots, broccoli and peas while simmering. When making fresh garlic bread, sprinkle some dill weed in with butter and garlic, before warming.

As you can see, dill is very easy to grow and a valuable addition to your spice cabinet.

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