Dill

Dill and dill seeds

DillDill provides a unique taste to fish dishes, salad dressings and pickles. Fresh dill can be purchased throughout the year at markets as well in local supermarkets. The herb is used in various cuisines all over the world. Besides the fact that it provides a unique taste to various meals, it also provides health benefits. These will be addressed in this article, as well as tips on how to grow and store the herb.

Description

The herb dill belongs to the Apiaceae family. The plant is unique in the sense that both the leaves and seeds of the herb as used to season vegetables, fish and dressings. The leaves of the plant are green and are wispy. The taste of the herb can be described as being sweet and soft. The seeds of the herb, however, do not have a green color. Instead, they are brown and have an oval shape of which one side is ridged and one side is flat. While the taste of the fresh herb is more sweet, the taste of the seeds can be compared to the taste of caraway. This taste can be described to be citrusy, aromatic with a slight bitter taste. The name dill comes from the Norse word “dilla” which means “to lull”. This name reflects the traditional use of the herb. Dill was used as a reliever of insomnia as well as a soother to stomach cramps. The herb continues to be used for a variety of health purposes. The health benefits of dill will be explored later on in this article. While it has been used by various communities all over the world for its health properties, the most common use of the herb is in cooking. For centuries, the herb has been used to stimulate salivary glands. It has been used to enhance the flavor of seafood, meats and vegetables. Depending on the cuisine, it is also used to spice rice, curries, soups and salads.

History

Dill was first found in the south of Russia, the Mediterranean region as well as in western parts of Africa. The herb was mentioned in the Bible and in ancient Egyptian writings, which means that the herb has been used for millennia. The herb was particularly popular during the time of ancient Roman and Greek cultures. During this time, dill was considered to be a sign of wealth. Moreover, ancient Romans believed that dill brought good fortune. It was for this reason that they would use the herb to make wreaths to adorn heroes. The ancient Egyptians, on the other hand, believed dill to be effective in fighting off evil spirits. They used dill to ward off evil spirits and the herb could therefore be found in almost any household. Most societies, however, used dill for its traditional health benefits. The herb was used by Hippocrates, who was considered to be the father of medicine. It is said that Hippocrates used dill in a recipe for cleaning the mouth. Also, soldiers who came back from the war would apply burnt dill seeds to their wounds. They believed that dill seeds contributed to the healing process of their wounds. Today, one of the main uses of dill in the field of medicine is to support digestion. It has been proven that is stimulates digestive juices in the stomach.

Health benefits

Dill provides health benefits in relation to diabetes, the health condition of bones and hiccups. Various studies have confirmed the relation of dill, diabetes and the management of insulin levels. Studies have indicated that dill can have a positive effect on reducing fluctuations of insulin levels in corticosteroid-induced diabetes. However, in order for the results to be fully proven, more research needs to be conducted. One of the nutrients which can be found in dill is calcium. The calcium content in dill means that it can contribute to bone health. It does not only protect the body from bone loss, but it also protects against the loss of bone mineral density. Calcium is a key component in the development of bones and the repair of injured bones. It is therefore important that calcium is part of your diet in order to prevent osteoporosis, which affects millions of people every year. Dill can also have a positive effect on hiccups. Hiccups can occur for different reasons. However, the most common reason for hiccups is the fact that gas is trapped in the food pipe. Certain allergies can also cause hiccups to occur. Nervous malfunctioning, hyperactivity and hypersensitivity have also been identified to be causes of hiccups. Dill can prevent hiccups in the sense that it can help the expulsion of gases. The fact that dill is also commonly known as a carminative, it can also help to prevent excessive gas from building up. When dill is consumed, the carminative forces gas to be pressed downward through the digestive tract.


Dill seeds

While most people use fresh dill when cooking, dill seeds can also be used for culinary purposes. The seeds can be used either crushed or whole. They are most commonly used in vegetable dishes, soups and pickles. However, they are also used in breads. Due to its unique flavor, they are also used to make dill vinegar or in salad dressings. You will also be able to find dill seeds sprinkled on top of salmon, since the flavor of dill goes well with fish. Fresh dill is often used for similar dishes. Fresh dill can be treated similarly to bay leaves. Thus, you can add the herb to soups and stews. Some people also like adding the tender stems of the herb to hot water when boiling potatoes. In this way, the taste of the herb is not too strong but will still provide enough flavor to the potatoes.

How to grow dill

Since dill is a popular herb in the kitchen, it is ideal to grow dill at home. After all, fresh dill provides most flavor to dishes. It is therefore best to grow it at home when you know that you will be using a lot of the herb to season your dishes. When planting dill, it is best to work with dill seeds instead of a transplant. Start by scattering the seeds in your desired location during the spring season. You can grow dill in your garden as well as at home in a container. Once you have scattered the seeds, lightly cover the seeds with soil and water the area thoroughly. Dill plants are easy to take care off. Dill plants grow best when they are in full sun. Other than this, dill can grow in dry conditions as well as in rich or poor soil. Thus, dill does not require a lot of work when they are growing. One of the main benefits of dill is that the entire plant can be used for cooking. The seeds as well as the leaves of the plant are edible and can be used for a wide variety of purposes. If you want to harvest the leaves of the herb, make sure you regularly trim the desired amount of leaved for cooking. When you want to be able to use the seeds of the plant, allow the herb to grow without trimming it. You can start to trim the plant when it goes into bloom. Once the plants go into bloom, they will not be growing any more leaves. The flower will slowly fade and it will start to develop seed pods. Once these seed pods have turned brown, you can cut the flower head. You will be able to find the seeds in the heads of the flower.

How to select and store

Dill is commonly sold in supermarkets all over the world. While the herb is native to Russia, the western regions of Africa and the Mediterranean, it can be found almost anywhere. Depending on the country, dill is also commonly sold at food markets or are spice stored. When buying dill in a supermarket, you will most likely be able to find both dried and fresh dill. When you want to use dill for cooking, pick fresh dill over dried dill. This is due to the fact that fresh dill is more superior in flavor and has a fragrant flavor. Moreover, the leaves of the herb should be green in color and look feathery. If the leaves look a little wilted, this does not mean that the herb has gone bad. The herb is still good to use. The leaves usually droop rather quickly after they have been picked. If it possible to buy organically grown dill, it would be recommended to go for this option since you will be guaranteed that the herb has  not been exposed to pesticides. It is important to store fresh dill in the refrigerator. Fresh dill should either be stored in a damp towel, or its stems should be placed in water. The herb is very fragile. This means that even though it is stored properly, it will most likely only last for a couple of days. If you want to use dill for a longer period of time, it is possible to store it. You can freeze the herb, either in whole or chopped. Make sure you place it in airtight containers in order for the flavor to remain delicate. It is also possible to freeze dill leaves in ice cube trays with water. This will make it easier to add the herb to soups and stews. Dried dill, on the other hand, should be stored in a glass container in a dry and dark place. Dried herb can usually last up to six months.





                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Article written by: SarahAjaoud
Times read: 791x
Added: 20-12-2016 23:38
Last modified: 17-01-2017 23:15

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