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Anethum graveolens

By Shirley Miller
Peucedanum graveolens

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 turns hot. 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 transplant well.

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.