Dill has a rich history: it was extensively used by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. Ancient Greeks used the herb for the production of perfumes. Greeks who won athletic competitions were given a dill wreath as a prize. During the medieval period, people hung this herb in their doorways to keep witches on a safe distance from their homes. Dill was also popular and often used ingredient of magic potions in the past. It was even once used as a form of currency! Native to Southern Europe and Western Asia, this herb now can be found throughout the world.
Dill is a member of the parsley family with light green feathery thread-like leaves. In the United States, it is a popular spice added to the pickling liquid for cucumbers: hence the name “dill pickles!” The leaves have a distinctive flavor similar to parsley and fennel, while the seeds have a bitter flavor similar to caraway. Because of its delicate flavor, it’s best to use dill fresh in summery dishes like yogurt or lemon sauces and salad dressings. It is a rich source of dietary fibers, vitamins C, B9 and B2 and minerals such as manganese, iron and calcium.
Dill can be used in treatment of digestive problems and lack of appetite. It reduces flatulence and can even be used as a cure for hiccups. This herb also stimulates lactation in breastfeeding women and alleviates colic in babies. It can be also used to calm babies (and adults!) and help us fall asleep when struggling with insomnia. This herb is also known for its antimicrobial properties and ability to treat arthritis.
Tips for Growing
Dill grows best in areas with long, warm summers. It requires fertile, well-drained soil and full sun for successful development. It will usually grow to a height of 2 to 3 feet (60 – 90cm). Since it is difficult to transplant, it is recommended to plant dill directly outdoors. It is beneficial to cabbages, corn, lettuce, onions, and cucumbers when planted nearby by repelling insects like aphids and squash bugs. Start planting your dill today!