Thursday, April 3, 2014

D is for Dill

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This season I'm planting dill for the second time. The first time I was lucky - the dill seed came with a herb mix that was companion to some lettuce I was planting.

So I just sprinkled it on the ground and let it takes its chances. And boy, did it grow! We ate plenty of it with curries, soups, stews, salads and dips.

Preparing the soil: This year I've planted the dill to share the bed with my lettuce.

The soil is red clay mixed with  cow manure and compost.  The clay is still hard (not softened as much as I'd like), so we'll see how that works out.

Current dill seedlings growing happily
Planting: Once again, I'm just turning the soil, then inserting the dill seeds to a quarter inch deep and 18 inches apart.

Make sure that you plant in a sunny area, but that is also protected from winds, as the plants grow very big and you don't want them to keel over.

I also found out, the hard way, that it does not transplant very well, so make sure that you plant the seeds where you want them.

Also make sure that you have enough room for your plant to grow (around 12 to inches apart).

Plant care: Dill just needs me to water it on a regular basis and let it fend of itself. You may need to thin it though if you grew the seeds too closely.


Harvesting dill: You can start picking dill leaves as soon as the plant has four to five leaves. If you have a lot of plants, you can pinch off entire stalks.

You can stop harvesting when the plant starts growing flowers, but  no worries! Dill is a self-seeding herbs, so if you leave the plant there long enough, the seeds will germinate and soon you'll have fresh dill again.

Serving suggestions

One of my favourite salads is cucumber with yoghurt, feta cheese and sprinkled with dill. Basically you pick, wash and dry the dill and  cut it to remove the thin stems with delicate leaves from the thicker main stems.

Throw away the thick stems and finely chop thin stems and leaves. Slice three English cucumbers thinly, add dill to the and stir to combine. Add yogurt to the cucumber-dill mixture, stirring to coat all pieces of cucumber with yogurt. Gently fold in feta, being careful not to over-mix.

Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper and serve immediately, before the cucumber starts releasing water and making your salad soggy.

If you know that you're not going to serve your salad immediately, you might want to slice your cucmber, sprinkle a little salt on it and then put it in the fridge overnight. Drain it the following day and them make your salad.

I love this salad with freshly baked bread, though it also goes down very well wrapped with a fresh lettuce leaf to make a sandwich.

We also use dill to make a yoghurt dip for fresh, crunchy vegetables.  I usually follow the basics of this recipe, though I use yoghurt I make as I don't have easy access to Greek yoghurt. If you use  regular storebought yoghurt, make sure you drain it first or your dip will be watery.

And finally, here are a few recipes I came across that use dill. I'm still learning how to make those I have easy ingredients for.

49 comments:

  1. Hi Damaria .. Dill is a great herb .. I love its light aniseedy flavour .. and when it's served with fish - it adds that subtle extra ...

    Cheers ... Hilary

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  2. Hi Hilarty. I think dill is under-rated, mostly because we tend to focus so much on basil, parsley, thyme etc. I was lucky to get the mixed herb packet, because it introduced me to a wide variety of herbs I wouldn't otherwise have thought to grow.

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  3. Thanks for another day of education. I feel myself in a horticulture class and am enjoying.

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    1. It's my pleasure to share, Jayanta. BUT, I'm not an expert though....far from it! I'm a complete amateur just happy to share what learning as I plant things in my garden, and as my sage bushes can attest to it, I still kill quite a few of my plants. But I try to research what I grow as much as I can, then keep trying to grow it until I succeed.

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  4. Yet another informative post!

    Cheers,
    ~S(t)ri
    Participant|AtoZ Challenge 2014
    Smile, it makes (y)our day!

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  5. Is this dill comes along with corriender leaves too? I think I have seen this plant mixed up in between the corriender bunch I bought last time!
    P.S. What nutrition value does it contain or how does it help a human body? (Just curious) :)

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    1. yes, some people grow dill along with coriander, so that could have been what you saw. I'm an enthusiastic amateur when it comes to food, gardening and nutrition (former IT journalist and fulltime tech geek, LOL), so I'm still learning about the foods I grow. I haven't even reached a stage where I have thoroughly researched what some of the herbs I growm (sage, thyme, basil,, borage etc). I'm mostly focussed on how to grow and use them and I figured in future when I'm more confident in my garden, I might start learning more about the herbs.

      Anyhoo, I did a quick online search and found out that dill is a good source of Dietary Fiber, Niacin, Phosphorus, Zinc and Copper, and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium and Manganese. (source: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/spices-and-herbs/214/2?quantity=0.25)

      Not sure about the quantities you need to take in to actually make a difference in your nutritional intake though.

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  6. do u know Dill seeds are use to treat colic or gas in children aged under two

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    1. No I didn't. Thanks for sharing. Have lots of nephews and nieces and now they too are starting to have babies. Good to have potential remedies at hand.

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  7. O that aroma of Dill and those tender yellow flowers...so nice! The salad recipe you share sounds very good. Will definitely try it out.

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  8. I'll try to plant some herbs for my kitchen... Very nice post..

    Random Thoughts Naba

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    1. Good luck. It's nice to be able to just grab a bunch of fresh herbs while you're cooking without having to go far. I have a box of herbs outside my kitchen for just that purpose, though don't have dill in it because it grows so big. Just basil, thyme, mint, parsley and chives. Some more herbs, and when I need bigger quantities, I have to go into the garden proper.

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  9. Love dill, especially with cucumbers and sour cream. Never thought of adding any feta. Thanks.

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    1. I hope you enjoy the one with feta as much as I do.

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  10. I used to plant a lot of dill. The smell was wonderful!

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    1. Sounds like you liked it. Why did you stop,if I may ask?

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  11. love dill and use a lot of it in the summer for cookiing fish and making lots of canned hot dill pickles! If you were my neighbor I'd be bringing over some jars to ya!

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  12. I absolutely love dill n its fragrance and add it in heaps of things. Great post Damaria :)

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  13. I hadn't thought about the feta either, that sounds like an excellent salad. I will try it soon. I haven't grown much dill, but I wonder if it's as good as other plants in its family for attracting insects? (good ones!)

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    1. I'm not sure. I still have a lot to learn about this herb. It seems the more I talk to people about my garden, the more I learn about the plants I grow:-)

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  14. Your post gets me excited to grow a garden again this summer. Sadly, we are still in the throes of winter here in Winnipeg (its spring but there is still so much snow on the ground). However, your blog post has given me a bit of sunshine today.

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    1. I'm glad to hear my posts inspire you a little. I used to read gardening magazines and drool over other people's gardens and think "one day." Now one day is here. So I get that feeling of anticipation:-)

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  15. My husband's dream is to have an herb garden. I would love to do the gardening by the foot and build a room off the kitchen just for fresh herbs, but allergies may prevent that fond dream. *sigh*

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    1. Aaw, allergies are a bummer. I hope you guys eventually find a way to make both your dreams/versions that work for you come true. Maybe do something like Nigel Slater's garden, so you are close enough to your herbs but it's in the open air? His kitchen is one of my favourite off-the-kitchen gardens ever. He's a British cook and writer and has had some shows on BBC. Not sure if he's ever had a show in the US. Anyhoo, his kitchen has these wide doors and he walks from there smack into the beautiful jungle that is his garden. It's just... I have no words:-)

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  16. I've never actually grown dill, just about every other herb you can imagine, just not dill. Don't really know why.

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    1. Hopefully this post will inspire you to add one more herb:-)

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  17. I love the scent of dill, but it gets pretty leggy in my garden. Guess I need to pinch it more, huh. I think the addition to yogurt sounds perfect! Thanks, Damaria!
    Shells–Tales–Sails

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  18. Damaria,

    This is very interesting and educational. Well done.

    Sunni
    http://sunni-survivinglife.blogspot.com/

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    1. I'm sharing as I learn too, so thank you.

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  19. Thanks for sharing this helpful post :)

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  20. This is a great series! So informative. I've gardened since I was a little kid, but not so much now that it is only the two of us. We call it our salad garden rather than the full-blown preserve-for-winter garden we used to do. I'll be back to check in again.

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    1. I hear you about age influencing how much gardening you can do. I'm in my 40s, so I can still do some heavy labour (we call the garden Gym ala Damaria here and there are no membership fees:-). But I'm also researching perennial veggies to add to the mix so that when I'm older, I can easily down the annual veggies with the perennials and fruit accounting for most of my food.

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  21. Dill is one of my husband's fav herb. He uses it in salads and some dips! I an liking your series, Damaria!! :)

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  22. I love it's smell... specially in salads :) thanks for sharing this information :)

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  23. Love dill in the cucumber pickles. We use it in some cooking in India too - I know of a great crab curry that includes that.

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  24. I love your blog! I also garden and enjoy cooking and preserving my harvests. My dill comes back year after year. It's one of the few things that is hearty and thrives in our harsh Montana summers without much assistance from me!

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