Dill is most commonly revered as a flavoring agent for pickles. Ever had a dill pickle – of course you have.
The fine downy like feathery foliage is also used as a seasoning for fish, assorted vegetables and is used in many sauces that you might never suspect contained dill.
In warmer weather dill weed bolts to seed readily and produces minute umbrella like flowers containing small hard seeds, which are also useful.
Dill seeds are used whole or are sometimes pulverized for use in vinaigrette, soups, bread and assorted dishes, they can also be used just like the leaves in pickling.
Dill weed is easily preserved by drying. The leaves, seeds or even the entire stem of dill weed can be dried and stored. Use a sharp implement such as shears to separate the leaves from the main stem of the plant.
Don’t cut the main stem as this plant is perennial, which means it will produce again next season.
Dill seeds should not be harvested till they are brown and a tad hard. Allow the seeds to dry somewhat on the plant, but don’t leave them on the plant for too long or they will eventually get blown away.
Dill leaves can be harvested at any time but are at their peak of potency and flavor as the plant begins to flower, quality wanes a tad afterwards.
Wash the leaves, seeds, and stems if you chose to harvest them to remove any residual tidbits from nature such as dirt, bugs, and even the unseen miny parasites that may be present.
Fresh dill weed is dainty and delicate and is usually amended into recipes towards the end of the cooking process in order to best appreciate its flavor.
Dried dill weed is aromatic but actually loses some of its quality and will require more of the herb to attain the results comparable to fresh dill. Dried dill seeds on the other hand actually enhances their flavor.
Drying Dill Leaves
Dry dill leaves by snipping off individual fern – leaves and laying them flat on a dehydrator tray or suitable utensil. Be sure to leave a littke space between leaves for air / heat circulation and to avoid cross contamination.
In a standard food dehydrator on a low setting they will dry in about 12 to 16 hours. In a conventional oven on a very low setting it should take 4-6 hours but the quality is not as good and the potential for mishaps and lost produce is higher.
They can also be sun dried on a bakers rack or suitable tray, this takes several days and the cooperation of mother nature. If you choose to sun dry or air dry them they should be turned daily to facilitate uniform drying.
Drying Dill Seeds
Dill seeds are dried by lightly bunching them together while still on the stems. They are then hung upside down or downside up inside a paper bag with lotsa small holes punched into it for air circulation.
The holes shouldn’t too big that they will allow seeds to fall out, just big enough to allow for the flow of air.
The bags will be catching the seeds as they dry and fall off the stem and you’ll also have some more perfectly good dill weed from the stems from whence they came.
Dill weed – Once the leaves are completely dry they should be crumbly. They should be crumbled and crushed at this point and stored in a suitable airtight container and kept in a dark cool dry location.
Dry dill weed generally keeps for up to six months and can be used just like fresh dill leaves in slightly elevated quantities.
Dill seeds are best stored in airtight containers in a cool dry location