Also called: dill weed, dill seed

Forget four-leaf clovers – dill is the name of the good luck game. A member of the parsley family, dill’s feathery foliage has long been a symbol of good luck. Dill grows wild in much of southern Europe, and is cultivated all over Europe, India and the Americas. Dill has a fresh bite that really is unlike any other herb. Dill weed or simply dill refers to the feathery leaves, while dill seed is the dried fruit of the dill plant. Both are used in pickling.

This is one spice that really tastes much different in its fresh and ground forms. Fresh dill pairs ideally with fresh new potatoes, smoked salmon, and tossed with cooked shrimp and rice. Toss fresh dill with hot ingredients just before serving to maintain flavor. When heated for long, fresh dill loses much of its flavor – which is when the dried or seed form is a better choice for slow-cooked dishes and baked goods.

Dill weed adds a lovely taste to salads, cured meats and a variety of sauces. Its subtle properties make it an excellent experimental spice – it’s hard to add too much and ruin a dish. In the US, the most common use of dill seed is in pickling.

Use fresh dill within a week, storing it bouquet-fashion in a glass of water, with a plastic bag over the top, in the refrigerator. Dried dill weed keeps best in an opaque jar, as light fades the bright color and reduces the flavor quickly. Seeds are offered whole and are often crushed to release flavor before adding them to dishes.

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