A beautifully delicate looking herb, dill has feathery, thread-like leaves and a grassy, anise-like taste. It’s great for adding flavour without taking the attention away from the main dish. Dill is used both in its fresh and dried form. It traditionally features in seafood dishes, chicken dishes, potato salads, yoghurt sauces, soups, vinegars, and as a garnish. In America, it is synonymous with gherkins, or as they call them “pickles.” Dill is commonly used in North African and Middle Eastern dishes like our tasty Baharat-Spiced Chicken Skewers where it lends a sharp, fresh flavour to the bulgur base.
Rich in history, dill has been a star through the ages. A sign of status and vitality for Ancient Greeks and Romans, it was used for its healing properties. By the Middle Ages, dill had transitioned into an herb with magical powers and was used in drinks thought to destroy evil spirits and worn around people’s necks as a charm for magical protection.
Although maybe not as far reaching as historically believed, dill does in fact have some (although not exactly magical) powers. It has been shown to help reduce inflammation, regulate insulin levels, ease arthritis symptoms, and improve bone growth. Its oil is calming and can improve sleep. Its name makes a case for this ability, as it comes from the Old Norse word “dilla,” which means “to lull.” If you are looking to calm a fussy baby, dill may just be your remedy. Dill water is given to babies as a soothing medicine, helping with their digestion.
Dill and fennel’s wispy leaves make them look alike, but that’s not all they have in common; the two plants can actually cross-pollinate if they are planted close together! Despite its pedigree, the hybrid created when fennel and dill exchange pollen is culinarily useless – it has no flavour! So for you green thumbs out there, make sure to keep these two apart.