Why you should add Dill to your diet…

I like Dill, but I only tend to use it when a recipe calls for it. I hadn’t thought to spread it around everything!

I also grow Dill, and I love the look of the feathery fronds – but reading through this article on Dr. Mercola’s site, I really need to start adding to more than an occasional dish. It is a veritable powerhouse of nutrition – and the essential oil can help discourage bacteria.

Dill is one of those versatile herbs that go well in a wide array of dishes. Any soup is better with it, scrambled eggs take on a whole new persona, and mashed potatoes gain a savory warmth. Fish is enhanced, as is any type of poultry. Of course, pickles wouldn’t be pickles without a liberal sprinkling of dill seeds. Egg salad, tuna salad, cream cheese, creamed cucumber and onions… The list is long when considering all the dishes dill has the capacity to transform.

Like so many other food- or medicine-based plants, dill originated in the Mediterranean region, specifically southern Russia and West Africa. An annual in the carrot family, dill has a feathery, wispy appearance that makes it a lovely addition to any garden, especially the herb portion. The piquant fragrance it exudes hints at the flavor it provides.

Growing dill at home requires little or no work – just a few basics. The seeds sprout quickly and can be sown directly because they don’t like being transplanted. They need at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight every day, in a low or protected area if possible, because the tall stalks can be knocked down in high winds.

Even small sprouts exude the warm dill fragrance. (For a summer of fresh dill, plant a few more seeds every two to three weeks). Simply gather the feathery fronds and chop for individual dishes, or cut them in “bouquets” and hang them upside down in a warm, well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight. Dry thoroughly before storing in an air-tight glass jar for up to a year.

Dill seeds appear embedded within star-like yellow flowers that appear when the herb begins wrapping up the season. Use the same drying method as for the leaf, only attach a paper bag around the flower head after hanging to catch the seeds as they dry and fall off. Poke a few holes along the opening to keep them dry, and  they can be stored using the same method as the leaves.

Read on for some of the health benefits of Dill…

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