Dill, usually found grown in containers in the garden, is a member of the Parsley family. Dill is scientifically known as ‘Anethum graveolens.’ It is also called the Lao coriander in some places. People usually grow the herb because of its bitter seeds. The seeds are used to make dill pickles. It is easy to grow and an ideal choice for novice gardeners. Dill, also known as dill weed is native to southwest Asia. The name “dill” comes from Old English dile, thought to have originated from a Norse or Anglo-Saxon word dylle, meaning “to soothe or lull,” the plant having the carminative property of relieving gas.
Why should you use dill?
For those of you with shortage of space but a passion for gardening, dill is the best option. Dill can be grown indoors, in pots and is easy to maintain too. The dill containers can easily be moved to convenient locations. It is a cheap and easy solution for those passionate about gardening. Dill can be harvested in a short time, as short as 6 weeks. Even before harvesting, one can clip the small branches or individual leaves to start using them. The leaves can be used by rinsing and drying and then placing in a plastic bag for freezing, but in most cases it is used fresh.
For this herb to grow at least six hours off sunlight is needed each day and needs a lot of nutrients to grow properly. Dill can be grown outdoor and indoor. There are many varieties of Dill for an average gardener to grow, ranging usually from 40-60 cm but it can grow even up to 42” tall. As the plant gets taller it needs to be tied to sticks for support. One main requirement for planting dill is that the pots need to be at least 8” in diameter and 8” deep. Dill is usually grown from seed. Starting by adding a two inch layer of compost or dried manure to the area intended for growing dill. After that, the soil should be tilled to a depth of 12 inches. The plant will then drain nutrition from the dried manure or the compost and these will also improve drainage. It is best to plant the seeds in early spring or fall. The rows of plants should be kept 24” wide and 24” apart. Within 7-10 days you will notice germination of seeds. Dill plant needs to be watered regularly, providing the soil enough moisture but not making the soil wet. Water the plants when the sunlight is a bit on the down side, like morning or around evening. A cover or canopy of gauze fabric can be used to cover the dill plants and provide protection from the intense rays of bright sunlight.
Other Uses of Dill
This particular herb also has a lot of uses in the kitchen too, such as its use in soups and stews. It can even be used in dips, can be sprinkled onto fish and added to salad dressings. The seeds of dill are made use of in curry powder and also in pickling many vegetables. Cooks have also used seeds of dill to enhance the flavor of fish, roasts and vegetables, on toppings in soups and in making sauce. Due to its aromatic features it is also used in many places to flavor foods like gravlax. Dill is best used fresh since it loses its flavor rapidly when dried. In Europe, dill has been seen to be used to flavor pastries and cakes too. In parts of Greece, it has been seen to be used with wine too. In many places in summer dill is also made use of in addition to consumption of fermented milk like curds, yoghurt, etc. Other uses of dill may include freshening the breath, reducing flatulence and to take care of colic kids. In some industries, dill can also be used in manufacture of soaps.
Dill is one of the few herbs that is used widely in various works and is also very easy to produce. To the gardener, it is easy to grow and provides satisfaction from growing it, to a cook it is another one of the herbs that add finesse to his work in the kitchen.
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