2.13 Dill.

Botanical name: 

Photo: Anethum graveolens 6. Latin name: Anethum graveolens.

2.13.1 Growing dill

From: kenneth.dicom.se (Kenneth Nilsson)
Here in Sweden dill is the most common herb and there are always discussions on why it is so difficult to grow. It always (?) dies when about 3" high and the 'story' here has it that dill is very susceptible to a root fungus. - By the way, you say "transplanted" dill into your garden. Does that mean you sow it indoors and plant it out? - The only solution for ME has been to sow/spread out the seeds from the mature dill flowers in fall. I take some mature stalks of dill and walk around the garden shaking them and I have beautiful dill BUT all over the garden. They just won't grow where I want them to - in nice rows - THERE! It seems as if the seeds that end up in non-infected soil thrive whereas the others simply don't make it. If you don't find that untidy, it's worth a try. I guess you can spread the seeds in early spring too.

From: mrooney.mrooney.pn.com (Michael Rooney)
First, there are many different dills. The best approach I have found is to find a dill that that survives the winter wherever you are. Then, it is one tuned to the environment and will grow better. It will also self seed, both where you want it :-) and where you don't :-( or :-) depending. It is perfectly acceptable to seed them very close together.
It is also a good idea to succession plant dill if you want a continuous supply of it all growing season long.

2.13.2 Harvesting dill

From: Anahita.aol.com (Susan D. Hill):
Dill can be harvested for leaves any time during the growing season. If you're growing for seeds, wait until the flowers die off and the seeds are set, then tie little socks around the seed heads. You can use nylon net, cheesecloth or even old stockings. Any fabric that is porous. Be sure to tie them on loosely so as not to damage the stem. Once the seeds are dry, just cut off the stalk and take it inside.

From: mrooney.mrooney.pn.com (Michael Rooney)
To harvest, assuming they are planted very close together, cut the plants off at their base that are the biggest. Then, let the remaining plants, which will be more properly spaced, grow larger until they are crowding themselves and pick them. Then repeat the process until they are all properly spaced and then pick the fronds as quickly as they reach their size because they are preparing to go to seed by then. I pick every frond while the plants are going to seed and it does not seem to affect the seed production at all and I get more dill fronds that way :-).

To harvest the seeds, take a pair of panty hose past the wearing stage and cut them off mid-thigh or mid-calf depending on your preference. Put the seed head, when it is still green, into the foot of the panty hose and the leg over the stem. Tie a twist tie around the panty hose on the stem and wait until the seeds are fully developed and quite dry. Then cut off the stem below the twist tie, bring it into the house or somewhere else out of the wind and put it over a big piece of paper. The seed will pretty much fall off the head as it is dry enough. Don't forget to shake the seed out of the panty hose leg too :-).

2.13.3 Using / preserving dill

From: jrogow.ridgecrest.ca.us (Judith Rogow)
I always cut some heads with ~almost~ mature seeds to add to my garlic dill half-sour jars. Adds extra flavour, and looks so pretty against one side of the jar.

From: Silkia.aol.com
The dill is an aromatic European plant that belongs to the parsley family, and it bears yellow blossoms that turn into tiny fruits or seeds. The pungent leaves and seeds of the plants are used as condiments and as pickling agents. Dill is derived from the Norse "dilla", meaning to lull, and was formerly given to infants as a soporific.

Dill seeds have a rather acrid taste, and they serve to stimulate the appetite. The odor of dill is stronger and less agreeable than that of fennel. The two are closely related but they are not identical. However dill that is found growing wild in the United States, is popularly called fennel.

Dill is used primarily to pickle cucumbers, but it should be used more extensively as a seasoning. Its finely chopped fresh leaves add their fragrance to potatoes, stews, fish, cucumbers, vegetables salads, and broiled meats. Dill seeds will render cabbage, cauliflower, meat gravies, spaghetti sauces, fish sauces, turnips, sauerkraut, and soups (especially bean and borscht) more appetizing. Add a dash of dill to tomato sauce, or try using dill and celery in stewed tomatoes. Dill seeds resemble caraway seeds in flavor, and the two may be used interchangeably.

Dill Pickles

Carefully select and wash good cucumbers, about 5-6 inches long. Pack them in earthenware jars. Between the layers of cucumbers, place thin layers of dill, using stalks, leaves, and seed balls. Cover with brine [using about 1 lb. of salt to 3 pints of water]. Place a layer of grape or horseradish leaves on top, weight down with a large earthen plate. Let stand several weeks before using.

Source: the American Dictionary of Cooking, 1938 Ed. I can't tell you the publisher as the pages were torn years ago. My Grandmother gave the book the day I married .. it has been like a Bible for me.

From: DonW1948.aol.com

Friss Kaporleves (Fresh Dill Soup)

2 tbs. Butter, unsalted,
1 tbs. Flour, all-purpose
2 tbs. Dill; minced
4 c Water; cold
½ c Sour cream
1 tbs. Lemon juice

Make a roux with the butter and flour. Cook it until golden brown. Add dill, stir well, immediately pour in ½ cup cold water and whip until smooth. Add 3-½ cups water and salt to taste. Cook soup for about 10 minutes.
Mix sour cream with lemon juice and put in the soup tureen. Eliminate lemon juice if the soup is too sour for your taste. Pour the soup over. Serve with Potato Dumplings (recipe). Cook these dumplings in the fresh dill soup for 5 minutes.
Yield: 6 servings