Kitchener Market 2017
Martins Apple Chips
Kitchener Market 2017

Dill

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Preview of Dill

Available

July 30 - September 15

Harvest Period

July 30 - September 15

The name of this herb derives from the Norse word dilla (to lull). It is for this calmative property that dill is best known medicinally. The dill seeds contain a volatile oil that has a relaxant effect on muscles, especially those of the digestive tract, and has been used for centuries to cure problems in this area of the body. Teas made with dill seed relieve indigestion and nausea, while dill-infused gripe water is used as a remedy for colic in infants.

What to Look for

The leaves of fresh dill should look feathery and green in color. Dill leaves that are a little wilted are still acceptable since they usually droop very quickly after being picked.

Dill is an unusual herb in that it has two different seasons: in early spring it is used for its leaves and then later in fall for its seeds.

Cleaning and Preparation

If you grow your own dill, pick the leaves just before the flowers begin to open--about midsummer since their flavour declines thereafter.  Rinse under running cold water and shake dry.

If you prefer to harvest dill seed, allow the flowers to bloom and go to seed. Cut the seed heads when the majority of seeds have formed or about 2 to 3 weeks after the flowers open. Hang the seed heads upside down in a paper bag to mature and dry out. The seeds will fall into the bag when they are ready. Store the seeds in a covered, glass container and place in a cool, dry cupboard.

Storage

Fresh dill should always be stored in the refrigerator either wrapped in a damp paper towel or with its stems placed in a container of water. Since it is very fragile, even if stored properly, dill will only keep fresh for a few days. Dill can be frozen, either whole or chopped, in airtight containers. Alternatively, you can freeze the dill leaves in ice cube trays covered with water or stock that can later be added during meal preparation.

Nutritional Information

Dill is very rich in vitamin C and calcium. In fact, 1 tablespoon of dill seeds contains 100 milligrams of calcium — more than in 1/3 cup of milk.  The seeds are also a very good source of iron, magnesium, and manganese.

1 tablespoon of dill seeds contains 20 calories, 1g fat, 4g carbohydrate, 1g dietary fibre and 1g protein.

How to Use

The taste of dill leaves resembles that of caraway. The seeds, however, are more pungent and aromatic, almost like a combination of celery and anise. Freshly cut, chopped leaves enhance the flavor of dips, herb butter, soups, salads, and fish dishes. The seeds are added to pickles and cheeses, and can also improve the taste of roasts, stews, bread and vegetables.  Both the flowering heads and seeds are used in flavoured vinegars and oils.