Also known as Dillweed, Dillseed from the Umbelliferae family. Dill is an Annual herb and can grow to a height of 1.5m (5ft). When it flowers they are tiny yellow/green. Dill is another herb that I have successfully grown in a window box. Dill is native (and grows wild) in many areas of the world including Southern Europe and the Mediterranean countries; Western Asia and North and South America.
The name dill is thought to have originated from the Anglo-Saxon ‘dylle’ meaning to soothe or lull. It was used by Egyptian doctors 5000 years ago and traces have been found in Roman ruins in the UK.
In the middle ages it was thought to protect against witchcraft.
It is important that you keep Dill away from fennel if you are growing both, this is because they will cross pollinate and you will end up with a weird hybrid that won’t taste too much of either herb.
To start from seed either plant out in a good soil after the chance of frost has gone. Or start them using pots or pug trays. Stay away from using seed tray as this herb is not a lover being transplanted. Plant them out at about 28cm (9inches) apart at about four at a time to ensure germination, thin out the weaker plants. Plant in a well drained soil in a place that gets full sun.
Protect the plants from wind, they can grow quite thin and sometimes need a helping hand with a garden cane for bit of support. Rather than steak up each plant individually it is better to put canes around them with a string raffia.
Water regularly in hot weather and do not give any feed, this only promotes soft growth which in turn will attract pests and disease.
I have successfully grown dill in my window box, I simply planted a few seed in a good compost and water the plants now and again, when the soil looks dry.
Dill leaves can be used within 8 weeks of the first sowing. It is worth feeding the plant after taking a cutting to promote new growth.
Dill leaves are best used fresh, so it is recommended that you keep a supply of plants, rather than store the leaves.
To harvest the dill seed cut the stalks off the flower heads when the seed is beginning to ripen. Then put the seed heads upside down in a paper bag and tie the top of the bag. Leave this in a warm place for a week. The seeds should easily separate ready for storage in an airtight container.
Dill in the Kitchen
I use dill to make a simple dip. Mix the juice of a lemon in with some double cream. This makes sour cream. Chop the dill leaves and add about a table spoon full to an averaged sized pot of cream. Mix with about a teaspoon of cumin.
This goes well will Carrot Rosti
Carrot Rosti – Ingredients
- 5 Medium Grated Carrots
- 2 Eggs lightly beaten
- 50g of Plain flour
- Olive oil (for frying)
Combine the carrot with the egg and flour in a mixing bowl. Cook golf ball sized portions of the mixture in a heated pan. Flattening with a spatulor during cooking. Cook until browned on both sides.
This makes enough for about 3 people, or is ideal for party snack food.
By Andy Hamilton