Dill – The Hardy Yet Delicate Herb
Dill is part of the family Apiaceae also known as the parsley family. The herb is a frond-like annual with wispy hair-like leaves with small yellow flowers that are umbrella shaped like other members of the family. The flowers are followed by clusters of seeds. There is an aroma of parsley and a subtle hint of anise.
The seeds are considered the fruit of the plant and are pale brown with light colored lines.
The herb is native to the Mediterranean and Southern Russia, and actually had its origin in Central Asia. The name comes from the Saxon word dilla meaning to lull or soothe. It was used to lull babies to sleep and to have soothing effects on the digestive system.
The herb was known as far back as 3000 BCE to have been cultivated by the Assyrians and Babylonians and used by the Romans.
The fresh herb bunches is readily available and can be stored for a few days in the refrigerator with the ends immersed in water. Fresh herb should be green not yellowish or wilted looking.
The seeds are easily available and can be stored for up to three years and should be stored away from extremes of heat, light and humidity.
The powdered form of the seeds, lose their potency quickly and should only be ground when ready for use.
Today the herb is very popular in the cuisines of Germany, Russia and Scandinavia. The herb goes well with white sauces, seafood, chicken dishes, vegetable dishes, soups, salads, scrambled eggs and omelets. The herb is most noted for its use in creating pickles.
For additional information about dill click on the link to Wikipedia.org
For some great sections on herbs and spices some great references are:
• The Spice and Herb Bible – Second Edition by Ian Hemphill with recipes by Kate Hemphill
• The Food Encyclopedia by Jacques L. Rolland and Carol Sherman with other contributors
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