Dill is an annual plant of the parsley and carrot family, and grows to a height of about 1 m. Its feathery, fern-like leaves are used as a herb and the seeds as a spice. Much of the commercial crop is used to obtain dill weed oil.
Native range Southern Russia, Western Asia, Eastern Mediterranean
Major producers India, Russia, Scandinavia, Turkey, USA, South America
Harvesting Dill is harvested throughout the year. For dill seeds, the crop is harvested when the seeds are ripe and have lost most of their moisture content. For dill oil, the crop is harvested just as the plant begins to form seed stalks.
Taste and aroma Dill seeds have a sweet and aromatic bouquet, similar to caraway due to the essential oil carvone. The taste is similar to anise with a touch of sharpness and lingering warmth.
Culinary uses Dill seeds are commonly used in pickling and to flavour vinegar. They are often added to bread and cakes in Scandinavian countries. In India, dill seeds and leaves are used in curry powders and masalas.
Other uses The essential oil from dill is used in meat seasonings and some alcoholic beverages. Dill oil is also used in some medicines for digestive problems.
Historical uses Dill was widely used in Greek and Roman times. In the Middle Ages it was thought to have magical properties and was used in witchcraft, love potions, and as an aphrodisiac.
Storage Dill seed will keep for up to 2 years if stored in an airtight container, but ground dill seed will not keep.