Dill – Anathema graveolens Apaiceae
Dill has been used as a culinary and medicinal herb for centuries. At first glance dill may be mistaken for fennel.
The dill plant is more slender than the fennel. The real giveaway is the scent. The leaves have a very strong parsley-caraway kind of smell.
The leaves are feathery. The umbels of yellow flowers are followed by small oval flat seeds.
Dill is a hardy annual plant. This plant likes full sun and well-drained soil.
Dill is easily cultivated by planting the seeds directly in the soil during spring.
Dill should not be planted close to fennel as these plants may hybridize and the result would be a less favorable plant in taste and looks.
Carrots will not thrive when planted next to dill. If you have cabbage in your vegetable garden you should plant dill as its neighbor. Cabbage and dill seem to enjoy each other’s company.
Growing dill in containers is handy when you need some fresh dill as beautiful and tasty garnish on your dishes.
Cooking with Dill
Fresh leaves are successfully used as garnish on egg dishes and on potatoes. Garlic dill potatoes are easy to make and ever so tasty! Dill can also be used in white sauces, soups and together with vegetables.
There are tons of recipes using dill as an ingredient. If you are lucky enough to have dill growing in a container there will always be something new to try out.
Let us not forget the famous dill pickles. Dill pickles are something most everyone loves.
Fresh dill will quickly diminish and be a sorrowful sight if cooked for too long. It is important that dill is the last ingredient added on hot dishes. Add the dill when the dish is about ready to serve.
Dill seeds are used in baking healthy breads. The seeds are often also used in spice mixes.
As an herbal remedy the dried ripe dills seeds are used. The best known dill benefit is that it helps upset stomachs. It is used for indigestion, gas and colic problems.
It is popularly used to help relieve gastrointestinal conditions. Dill is used as a main ingredient in gripe water.
The name “dill” originates in the Old Norse word “dilla” which means “to soothe”. This is probably because dill is an old remedy for colic problems and dill could soothe the stomach pains.
Dill has been used to improve the milk flow in breast feeding mothers. It is not advised to use more than normal culinary amounts.
Some claim that chewing dill seeds will stop rumbling sounds that empty hungry stomachs produce.
Dill seeds have been used as a remedy for stopping hiccups. To stop hiccups drinking a little dill tea is supposed to help.
To make dill tea ground dill seeds. Add about one cup of hot water to 1-2 teaspoons of ground dill seeds. Let it sit for about ten minutes. Keep the lid on. Pour the tea through a strainer. Add a teaspoon honey for better taste. Honey is optional. Enjoy.
Dill has qualities to help fight e-coli bacteria.
Dill seeds will help reduce problems of bad breath.
Folklore, Superstition and History
The Papyrus Ebers (which dates to 1550 BC) mentions dill as a remedy for colic problems. The Papyrus Ebers is a medical document from Ancient Egypt.
Dioscorides (40 – 90 AD) was a Greek physician who recommended dill to cure colic.
During the Middle Ages dill was used as an aphrodisiac. There was a superstition that a bride should have a few dill seeds in her shoe and the bridegroom should have a few dill seeds in his pocket on their wedding day. That was to ensure a happy marriage.
A small bag containing dill seeds placed in the crib was supposed to protect the baby.
Dill seeds were also called “prayer-seeds”. They were sometimes given to children during long services at church. It was told chewing dill seeds would keep them quiet and the children would not get hungry during lengthy sermons.