Dill is a special herb in that we use both the leaves (called dill weed) and the seeds, and they both have completely different flavors. Dill weed provides a bright, fresh flavor to whatever it’s sprinkled on, and dill seed is what gives dill pickles their characteristic flavor.
If you want to explore the culinary ins and outs of dill, you should find some helpful information below. The information covers from what dill is, to how to use it in combination with other herbs, spices and foods. I hope this helps!
Dill 101 – The Basics
The herb dill is a member of the parsley family. It has light green, feathery thread-like leaves that have a bright aroma and fresh flavor that is slightly sweet with a hint of caraway. The leaves look similar to fennel leaves, and are usually referred to as “dill weed.” The leaves are available fresh in the produce section of many grocery stores, and dried in spice isles.
The seeds produced by the dill plant is also used for its flavorful qualities, but lends a completely different flavor than the leaves. The dill seeds are what gives dill pickles their characteristic flavor. All parts of the herb are edible.
The plant appears to be native to the Southern Europe to Western Asia and Southern Russia region. It was used extensively by ancient Greeks and Romans. Evidence has been found that dill was used in Swiss settlements dating back to 400BC. Today, dill is used in many parts of the world.
Nutrition Tidbits and Health Benefits
Compounds in dill have been shown to work with antioxidants in helping to protect the body from harmful compounds. The essential oils in dill have been found to help neutralize some carcinogens (cancer-causing agents), as well as having antibacterial properties. Although we normally use dill in small amounts, it does contain some calcium, manganese, iron, magnesium, Vitamin C, fiber, and also pro-Vitamin A carotenoids. With all things considered, dill is a good herb to include in your foods whenever you can!
How to Select Dill Weed
The flavor of fresh dill weed is superior to that of the dried version. So whenever possible, opt for fresh dill. The leaves should look fresh, green, and feathery. The leaves droop quickly after being harvested, so if they look a little wilted, they may not be as old as they look.
If fresh dill weed is not available in your local grocery store, the dried version should be available in the spice isle.
How to Store Dill Weed
Always store fresh dill weed (unwashed) in the refrigerator. It should be wrapped in a damp paper towel and stored in a crisper drawer. Or, stand it up with the stems down in a container with a little water. Fresh dill is very fragile and will only keep fresh for about two days, so use it quickly.
How to Preserve Dill Weed
If you have fresh dill and will not be using it quickly, it’s advisable to freeze or dehydrate it to keep it from spoiling. Freeze it whole or chopped in airtight containers. To keep it from freezing into one big clump, place the prepared dill weed on a tray and put that in the freezer. When the leaves are frozen, transfer them to your freezer container.
Alternatively, chopped fresh dill can be placed in ice cube trays, covered with water, and then frozen. Transfer the frozen cubes to a plastic bag or airtight container and return to the freezer. Use the herbed ice cubes when making soups, stews or sauces that call for dill.
To dry fresh dill without a dehydrator, hang it with the leaves upside down, in a cool to warm area out of direct sunlight. Be sure there is plenty of air flow for fast drying. High temperatures will destroy the flavor.
Dried dill weed will keep in an airtight container in a dry, cool, and dark place for about six months.
How to Prepare Dill
Since dill is so delicate, just give it a quick rinse right before you’re about to use if. If desired, gently pat it dry with a paper towel.
Dill is extremely tender, so chop it only right before you need to use it. To chop dill weed, simply line up the stems with the leaves at one end. Chop finely with a sharp knife, including the thin stems near the leaves. Although the entire plant is edible, many people discard the thicker stems, as they can be tough. Try them yourself before discarding them, to see if they will be right for your needs.
Dill weed has a fresh, unique flavor. A little goes a long way, so add only a small amount at a time. Taste the food, then add more if needed. Dill weed goes well in many foods including sauces or toppings for fish, yogurt, sour cream, salad dressings, spinach dishes, and chicken and lamb casseroles. The tender, fresh herb leaves are usually added toward the end of cooking to preserve their flavor.
Quick ideas using dill:
* For a refreshing dip, combine dill weed with plain yogurt and chopped cucumber.
* The flavor of dill weed goes exceptionally well with fish, especially salmon and trout.
* Garnish sandwiches with dill weed for a refreshing flavor twist.
* Dill seeds have been used throughout history to soothe the stomach and aid digestion after meals. Try leaving some dill seeds in a small container on the table for people to chew on after a meal.
* Try adding dill weed to egg salad.
* Mix chopped cooked potatoes and green beans with some plain yogurt. Season with both dill seeds and chopped dill weed.
* If you need to substitute fresh for dried dill weed (or vice versa), 1 tablespoon of fresh dill weed is equivalent to 1 teaspoon of dried.
Herbs/Spices That Go Well With Dill Weed
Basil, capers, caraway seeds, chives, cilantro, garlic, ginger, horseradish, paprika, parsley, pepper, poppy seeds
Herbs/Spices That Go Well With Dill Seeds
Bay leaf, chili powder, cumin, paprika, parsley, thyme, turmeric
Foods That Go Well With Dill Weed
Proteins: Beans (esp. dried, green, lima, white), black-eyed peas, chicken, chickpeas, eggs, lamb, peas, seafood, tahini, tofu
Vegetables: Artichokes, asparagus, beets, bell peppers, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chives, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, fennel, kale, kohlrabi, mushrooms, onions, peas, pickles, potatoes, pumpkin, sauerkraut, spinach, squash (summer), tomatoes, zucchini
Grains: Biscuits, breads, corn, barley, millet, noodles, pasta, rice, wheat berries
Dairy and Non-Dairy: Cheese (i.e. cottage, feta, fresh white, goat), sauces (i.e. cheese, yogurt), sour cream, yogurt
Other: Mayonnaise, oil (olive), miso, mustard, vinegar (i.e. balsamic)
Dill has been used in the following foods and cuisines: Baked goods, dips, Eastern and Northern European cuisines, egg dishes (i.e. hard-boiled, omelets), German cuisine, pasta, pickles, Polish cuisine, Russian cuisine, salad dressings, salads (i.e. egg, potato), sauces (i.e. cheese, tomato, yogurt), Scandinavian cuisines, slaws, soups and chowders, stews, Turkish cuisine
Suggested Flavor Combos Using Dill:
Combine dill weed with…
Beets + capers + celery
Cucumber + yogurt
Fennel + feta cheese
Feta cheese + kohlrabi
Feta cheese + spinach
Garlic + ginger + green pepper + lemon
Garlic + sour cream + yogurt
Horseradish + sour cream
Mushrooms + yogurt
Asparagus + butter + mushrooms
Cabbage + feta cheese + mint
Chard + cheddar cheese + cream + garlic
Combine dill seeds with…
Bay leaf + beets
Cabbage + carrots
5-Minute Cold Cucumber Salad 1 http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=345
5-Minute Cold Cucumber Salad 2 http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=322
Salmon with Dill Sauce http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=257
15-Minute Beets http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=98
Steamed Salmon and Asparagus with Mustard Dill Sauce http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=16
Mahi-Mahi Filet With Lemon Dill Sauce https://www.thespruceeats.com/mahi-mahi-with-lemon-dill-sauce-1807435
Maple Dill Carrots https://producemadesimple.ca/maple-dill-carrots/
15 Recipes to Use Up a Bunch of Dill https://www.thekitchn.com/recipes-to-use-up-a-bunch-of-dill-200413
43 Recipes for Fragrant, Fantastic, Fresh Dill https://www.epicurious.com/ingredients/12-ways-to-get-excited-about-dill-gallery
41 Fresh Dill Recipes That Aren’t Just for Pickles https://www.tasteofhome.com/collection/fresh-dill-recipes/
10 Recipes with Fresh Dill https://www.sunset.com/food-wine/kitchen-assistant/dill-recipes#dill-recipes_4
Lemon and Dill Chicken http://www.eatingwell.com/recipe/252591/lemon-dill-chicken/
Braised Lemon Chicken with Dill and Turmeric https://toriavey.com/toris-kitchen/braised-lemon-chicken-dill-turmeric/
Crispy Dill Tilapia https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/crispy-dill-tilapia/
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.
Page, Karen. (2014) The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.