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Dill has copious tiny, yellow flowers and thin, wispy, feathery, yellow-green leaves and grows two to three feet tall. The seeds and leaves of this very aromatic herb are used in cooking. Dill's interesting flavor has been described as licorice-flavored and as being a combination of anise, parsley, and celery. Its taste is similar to caraway, but is more mild and sweeter.
Dill is commonly available in early fall when harvested outdoors. Grown indoors, dill is available year-round.
Dill is a member of the Umbelliferae family. Dill weed, seed, and essential oil are the three forms dill is marketed. More than 800 metric ton of dill seed is imported into the United States from Europe, India, and Egypt. This amount does not include the crude herb forms or oil that are used in culinary uses and pickling. Having a different flavor than dill leaves, dill seed is more intense and has a less licorice taste. Dill seed flavor is enhanced by dry-roasting the seeds.
Dill contains potassium, sulfur, and sodium.
Dill is known most widely in the United States as the popular flavor for dill pickles. The spice is used in a host of other dishes, including dips, potato salad, soups, sauces, vegetables, and breads. Having a natural affinity, dill is an excellent partner for fish, especially salmon. Dill blends well with yogurt, cheese, and makes a great wine vinegar. Mix spunky dill with tomato soups, egg dishes, potatoes, cream, and cucumbers for a delightful flavor addition. Use fresh dill as an attractive garnish. The oil and weed of dill are popular in several food products that include condiments and relishes, meat and meat products, oils and fats, baked goods, and many snack foods. When cooking with dill, it is best to add it during the last few minutes of cooking for optimum flavor. Dried dill does retain its natural flavor, but lacks visual appeal.
Dill has been cited in a very old Egyptian medical journal. It has been used consistently as a healing herb and has always been regarded as a purely beneficial substance known as a plant of "good omen." Europeans have historically believed dill to be soothing and used the herb as a digestive aid. Puritans kept dill seeds in their Bibles to chew during long sermons to keep their stomachs from growling. This prized herb is a favorite in northern Europe where buckets and buckets of dill are found in markets in Stockholm and Copenhagen resembling flowerlike bouquets. Dill is an important ingredient in the Dutch dish known as "Frikkadels" in Sri Lanka. Laotian, Thai, and Vietnamese cooking favor dill in many of their food specialties. The Thais are familiar with dill known as Laotian coriander or pak chee lao. Dill seed is often added to fish curries in India. Dill is marketed in the three following forms: dill weed, the dried foliage; as a seed; and as an essential oil. The oil is used as a fragrance in cosmetics which includes perfumes, lotions, creams, soaps, and detergents. As a folk medicine, dill weed oil and seed are used as aromatic carminative and as a stimulant in the treatment of gas, especially in children.
Dill is native to southern Europe and Russia. It was highly prized in ancient times as it was affordable only by the very wealthy. The name "dill" comes from the Norse word meaning "to lull." dill grows best along coastal areas. Today, Japan and West Germany are large users of dill seed. Imported into North America, supplies come from India, Egypt, and Europe. Japan is also a larger consumer of dill.
Recipes that include Dill Weed. One is easiest, three is harder.
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