By Shirley Miller
Dill is a hardy annual plant with an aromatic, feathery blue-green
leaf. It's upright habit produces flat heads of greenish yellow flowers. Dill
grows to a height of 2 to 5 feet. Dill can be grown in a container on a sunny
windowsill, if kept trimmed. Some new cultivars have been developed to produce
a fuller, stocky growing habit with more fruiting heads.
How to grow: Dill is not hardy in this zone. Plant in full sun,
but protect the plant from wind. Plant dill in well-drained soil. Thin to 9 to
12 inches apart. Dill is prone to "bolt" to seed very quickly when the weather
Do not plant near fennel. The plants cross-pollinate, which detracts from
flavor of both.
Propagation: Propagate by planting seeds if needed. However, dill
is self-seeding. Seeds can remain viable for up to 10 years. Dill does not
Harvesting: Gather leaves when young. Pick seeded heads just as
fruit begins to form.
Preserving: Dry or freeze individual leaves. Dry ripe seeds.
Make dill vinegar.
Culinary uses: Use dill seed in soups, fish dishes, pickles,
cabbage, dill butter and breads. Add a flower head to a jar in pickling
cucumbers, cauliflower and carrots. Chop leaves into salads. Add dill to
dishes such as potato salad, potato soup and new potatoes. Combine with cream
cheese, eggs and grilled meats. Dill with sour cream sauce is a wonderful
compliment to fish dishes, especially salmon. Dill leaves are sometimes
referred to in recipes as dill "weed".
Other uses: Chew a few seeds to freshen breath. Use crushed seeds
as a substitute for salt.